The Federal Government has also appointed a Careers Ambassador – Scott Cam of ‘The Block’ fame.

The National Careers Institute

October has seen the Federal Government release a Background Paper on this new Institute, which was established following the Joyce Review.

Its purposes are to reduce help improve the ways students make education choices based on their desired chosen career by “producing an improved suite of communication products about careers, the labour market, and education and training in Australia

and “increasing the use of direct pathways into a desired occupation.” It will be also focused on better data linkages and careers information, including “providing accurate information on incomes flowing from different qualifications, using actual income data.”

According to the background paper its immediate priorities will be to:

  • Undertake research, including around international best practice, and stakeholder engagement to map the careers development system and identify the needs, priorities and experiences of those who support, administer and deliver career information across Australia, and the people who benefit from it to understand its role and functions.
  • Support the appointment of a National Careers Ambassador to promote the work of the Institute and report to the Government on its progress 12 months after its establishment.
  • Design and deliver a digital platform, based on user research, which will assist people to find accurate and authoritative careers information and advice on learning, training and work pathways. This platform will provide people with simpler navigation to address the inconsistency of government information provided across the careers marketplace.
  • Establish a grants program in 2020 to support innovative education and training pathways aligned to employer needs. Funding will support projects that improve careers information and address service gaps by enhancing partnerships between industry, employers, schools and tertiary providers.

And other stuff the background paper covers

The paper also looks at the history of national career policy and strategies. It describes career development services and why good career development is important. It also considers the users of the system, including ‘pre-careerees’, ‘early careerees’ and ‘transition careerees’ and who delivers services to them.

The paper also examines who provides information about career options. These sources include professional career guiders who “provide career advice, information and guidance to individuals”, education and training providers “that deliver learning designed to develop an individual’s career and employability skills,” job placement agents “that help connect individuals with a job and who may or may not also offer career advice,” and trusted influencers “such as parents, friends and partners who provide informal advice and guidance – noting that this advice may be skewed by individual biases.” And that latter statement is, unfortunately, true.

There are other possible influencers too, including employers who “create career opportunities” and industry and sector Influencers “that present information and promote opportunities in particular industries.”

The discussion paper outlines the wide range of information sources about career options, including governments, education providers, industry, not-for-profits and the career development sector. It explores the changing career landscape, and the challenges in responding both to “an evolving career landscape and the changing nature of work.”  These challenges include career information that “is often fragmented, disjointed, outdated and not related to the person’s circumstances” and advice that is inconsistent, misguided or insufficient. Finally, it examines the features of a quality carers information system, drawing on experiences from other countries and domestic insights.

As the paper sees it, the features of a quality careers information system are that it is lifelong and holistic; relevant; connected, connecting and integrated; enabling and empowering and tailored to the individual. It also needs to be clear and coordinated and display leadership so that it provides career development services with a strong and essential drive for “integration, consistency, accessibility and quality.”

Part 3 of the paper provides some information about the consultation and co-design strategy for the Institute. Information about this strategy and how to respond can be found here.

The new careers ambassador

The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, the Hon. Michaelia Cash announced the appointment of Scott Cam as Careers Ambassador. His role will be to would be to highlight how practical and technical training can lead to high-paying jobs. This appointment has been applauded in some quarters, including the Housing Industry Association,  but in other quarters it has been rubbished. You be the judge!