Staying Ahead of the Curve

In the past few weeks I’ve been interviewed on the radio and written an opinion piece on the changing nature of work and the importance of lifelong learning. Just the other day, I finished an article on ensuring ethical practice within the ever-changing labour market where an underlying theme was related to learning.

Perhaps now more than ever it is getting harder to avoid learning. A recent World Economic Forum article indicated a need to renew skills every 5 years, just to stay current. I’d suggest, however, that rather than a renewal of skills every few years, today’s worker, and the organizations that employ them, must be in an almost constant state of skill and knowledge acquisition, especially when it comes to technological advances.

Career Development Practitioners (CDPs) are not protected from the changing labour market and advances in technology. Not only must they stay current so they can best support clients, CDPs must also manage their own careers in what may be considered rather turbulent times. In my experience, however, many CDPs struggle to engage in professional development activities and, in some cases, are even resistant to it. I’ve heard all kinds of reasons, including a lack of time and money.

A core ethical principle, for CDPs, is lifelong learning; the Canadian Standards for Career Development Practitioners specifically states “demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.” One of the reasons this principle is considered important is so that CDPs can “act as role models.” In other words, while encouraging clients to engage in lifelong learning, and stressing its importance, CDPs must also be leading by example. This means actively engaging in learning activities, reading books and articles, taking courses, even returning to school to earn (or finish) a degree.

BC’s Career Development Conference is celebrating 20 years, this year. It is a great way for CDPs to come together to network . . . and to learn. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

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