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Saturday, December 4, 2021
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Tips & Training

Advocating for career development in the time of COVID

Pause for a moment and reflect how frequently you proactively advocate for career counselling, career guidance and career education work within your local, regional, national, and global organizations and institutions. As professionals of the career service industry, we conceptualize and execute meaningful career initiatives and interventions, but we can’t reach everyone. To broaden our impact, we can consider proactively amplifying our advocacy efforts. Some valuable strategies follow that can strengthen and enhance our collective efforts to advocate for career development.

Consider which of these advocacy strategies you or your organization could use to create impact, as part of your vision and mission on career counselling, career education and career guidance advocacy. Then, consider what else you can do to enhance your advocacy efforts.

Publish: Does your organization publish career counselling, career education and career guidance research relevant to its vision and mission? It is important that we remain visible in the pandemic and engaged with our keen stakeholders; publishing research leads to dialogue and broadens access to career knowledge among diverse communities, leading to new career thinking.

Lobby & legislate: Has your organization lobbied effectively with policy-making institutions in your country and lawmakers to influence career education, career counselling and career guidance legislation in your region?

Does your organization work to help draft and propose new legislation on career development? As an organization, have you developed a holistic youth or career policy in your country and advocated for career counselling, career education and career guidance as a civic right for youth in your respective country? As career professionals, how are we addressing the gaps between industry and academia? We can urge governments in our respective countries to approach career development specialists to establish a national standard for youth career education.

Capacity development: How does your organizational leadership manage succession planning? Does the field provide sufficient support and services to encourage people to become career development practitioners?

Speak: Do organizational representatives pursue speaking engagements to raise awareness and share knowledge at educational institutions, non-profits, conferences and vocational programs? If so, are the engagements local, national and/or global? How frequently does your organization organize conferences or offer virtual learning on career counselling, career guidance and career education?

Communicate: Does your organization implement media campaigns to raise general awareness about career development?

Advocacy in practice

I would like to share one example of advocacy work that I initiated during the pandemic: a global digital careers advocacy series on YouTube. COVID resulted in many changes affecting work and education, from lockdowns to digital service delivery to new societal norms. This series came out of my reflection on the critical importance of career development services to people around the world. Taking inspiration from 2021 IAEVG International Conference Theme: “Maximizing Career: Guidance & Development,” I initiated a global digital advocacy series for our careers and livelihood profession. I created the series with the following objectives:

  1. Invite leading career influencers globally to share best career practices.
  2. Ensure that even during the pandemic, careers work remains a priority.
  3. Bridge our career community digitally via collective advocacy.
  4. Increase impact and outreach of our meaningful careers work.
  5. Proactively communicate and encourage dialogue with policy-makers.
  6. Provide keen stakeholders with valuable perspectives on the significance of career development from leading career influencers.

So far, I have released 13 interviews on my YouTube channel, including conversations with NCDA President Seth Hayden; international career development specialist Deirdre Hughes; Roberta Borgen (Neault), President of Life Strategies Ltd.; and IAEVG President Gert Van Brussel.

These interviews by leading career influencers have already started creating an impact. It has increased visibility for the careers profession on social media and ignited an increase in career conversations and dialogue by keen stakeholders in respective communities globally. It has encouraged global community engagement that is essential in these times. It has also advocated for the cause of an International Careers Day by leading career influencers, and working committees have been formulated to develop an inclusive proposal for the United Nations.

I sincerely hope that this advocacy article helps your organization strategically identify additional techniques to strengthen and enhance collective advocacy efforts. If you would like to further discuss one or more advocacy strategies, let’s schedule an engaging career conservation.

Raza Abbas Author
Raza Abbas is a Knowledge Management Adviser and Careers professional currently based in Pakistan. He is an impactful global career practitioner and has received multiple international career practitioner awards from the US National Career Development Association (NCDA) and the Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA). He serves as an Editorial Board Member and the National Correspondent-Pakistan of IAEVG, Director Pakistan of ARACD, Editorial Member – Career Guidance Social Justice Blog, Country Representative Pakistan of APCDA and Global Connections Committee of NCDA. He works for inclusivity and social justice in career development practice both in Pakistan and globally.
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Raza Abbas Author
Raza Abbas is a Knowledge Management Adviser and Careers professional currently based in Pakistan. He is an impactful global career practitioner and has received multiple international career practitioner awards from the US National Career Development Association (NCDA) and the Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA). He serves as an Editorial Board Member and the National Correspondent-Pakistan of IAEVG, Director Pakistan of ARACD, Editorial Member – Career Guidance Social Justice Blog, Country Representative Pakistan of APCDA and Global Connections Committee of NCDA. He works for inclusivity and social justice in career development practice both in Pakistan and globally.
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