Career Guidance for Adults

Career Guidance for Adults

 

Within the three year scope of this research, 1214 people have completed a ‘make an appointment form’ in order to seek career guidance for adults. These adults have reached a ‘turning point’ and clearly ‘there is an increase in the number of transitions we all need to deal with’ (La Gro, NGRF website, cited Dec. 2011). According to Watts (2000, p269) there is a common perception that career guidance is aimed at students in second level education, he states that ‘career guidance services have been concentrated around the transition from full-time education to employment’ (Watts, 2000, p269). This outlook is beginning to change and career guidance is starting to be viewed by society as a life long journey and requirement and a lifelong requirement facilitating professionals as they reach career turning points. Riverin-Simard (2000, p115) states ‘that adults in the second half of working life, experience numerous new beginnings and career transitions’, ‘that workers continue to face renewal during the second half of working life’ (2000, p116).

 

Career life cycles and trends are rapidly changing for different person demographics. According to Watts (2000, p261) ‘women are now spending much longer in the labour force, with shorter gaps for childrearing. Young people are entering the labour force later, and taking longer to secure an independent foothold within it. Dislocation and significant changes in mid-career are more common. Some older workers are adopting a more gradual process of disengagement from full–time employment. In short, the life-cycle is becoming more flexible and diverse’. These developments would suggest both a social requirement and a consumer demand for career guidance for adults. Careers are now based not on a single decision points, but on a long series of iterative decisions made throughout life (Watts, 2000, p269).

 

As far back as 1996 Jackson et al. (cited in King, 2001) suggested that careers will consist of a number of transitions as a result of the changing nature of work organisations. What he failed to factor in to this work pattern shift were the forces of recession, forced redundancy and the advancements of information technology in the 21st century. The seismic changes that have engrossed the early 21st century are beginning to create a forced need for adult guidance. In Ireland alone 233,041 people have been made redundant since 2007 (inou.ie, cited Sept. 2011), by mid-2010 the total unemployment figure had exceeded 450,000 people (Lyons, ronanlyons.com, cited Dec. 2011). A large proportion of these newly unemployed are young men who have been made redundant from the construction industry which has constricted due to a rapid decline in the property sector in 2007. The research may identify a sector, versus age and gender pattern that relate to candidates in the construction industry. These uncontrollable changes are forcing people to re-skill, seek out career guidance for adults and have come to the realisation that their career will consist of many transitions. ‘One implication of this change is that careers guidance will be needed at a greater number of points during the course of an adult career as people encounter more frequent employer and job changes (Kidd & Killen, 1992, Watts, 1996, cited in King, 2001).

 

Beyond the issues which are outside ones control for example, economic activity and changing sector demands, there appears to be a drive for personal well-being and fulfilment due to the volume of ‘make an appointment forms’ which have been completed over the past three years. There is a realisation that career encompasses and contributes to a large amount of life happiness. People appear to be making a conscious decision to forgo ‘serendipity’ and instead are creating an environment for planned happenstance by seeking out career guidance for adults in order to take a greater sense of control towards their career and seek assistance at specific ‘decision points’ (Watts, 1998). ‘Guidance needs to be available at all these decision points…. it needs to be available to help us review regularly whether and when we need to make decisions: to invest in new skills, to scan new possibilities’ (Watts, 1998). Nicholson & De Waal-Andrews (2005) maintain that ‘career guidance can help the risks to be minimised through a more objective appraisal of the interlocking choices and consequences that uniquely face every individual, in place of the highly suspect advice often supplied by agents and organisations who have a vested interest in one’s choices and outcomes’. Clearly impartiality and a client centred approach to career guidance should be at the core of any career guidance service, career guidance for adult clients need to be assured that their interests come first.

 

‘Extract from Career Guidance Dissertation, for details of references, please contact me directly: diarmuid@careerguidance.ie’

 

Diarmuid Haughian

MA Career Guidance, QCG

Career Guidance for Adults

Career Guidance for Adults