Undertaking such a significant, large and complex project was not without its misgivings. The career development community in Australia and internationally is extremely close, supportive, and generous. Throughout my career it has been an important source of encouragement for me personally. I have worked with amazing people, in some cases for almost four decades. I had to get it right! I wanted to make sure I honoured people and their individual contributions, as well as the achievements of the field as a whole. In addition, I felt it was important to connect Australian developments to those internationally – both in relation to Australia following international developments and celebrating Australia’s contributions to the field internationally.
At the outset I had overwhelming support and encouragement from so many people – every request for interview was met with enthusiasm, and any materials promised during the interview arrived promptly. Thank you to so many people from across the country who generously shared their memories and experiences – and who entrusted the telling of this national story to me. Thank you for additional names which allowed me to engage in a snowballing process and follow up people who had been recommended to me.
In particular I want to thank Col McCowan OAM and Meredith Shears. These are the two people to whom I spoke initially, people with whom I have shared my own career journey for over 40 and 20 years respectively. It was your encouragement and support to embark on this project that helped me begin.
Thank you to the following for data rich discussions (listed in interview date order, starting in May 2016): Meredith Shears, Col McCowan OAM, Malcolm McKenzie, Jim Athanasou, Margaret Gambley, Judith Leeson AM, Elizabeth Mountain, Ros Lim, Mary McMahon, Robyn Bergin, Bob Bredemeyer, Anna Lichtenberg, Peter Creed, Christine Haines, Brendan Nelson AO, Janine Watt, Richard Sweet and Peter McIlveen.
Thank you to the following for generously responding to my emails, and for providing materials: Vince De Giovanni, Peter Carey, Judy Denham, David Carney, Christine Haines, Peter Creed, Barbara Dundas, Peter Tatham, Richard Sweet and Bernadette Gigliotti. Particular thanks to Deirdre Hughes OBE for ongoing support in relation to documenting comparative policy challenges in England.
While drawing on the memories of colleagues to write different chapters, I became increasingly aware that I was also writing personal career histories of so many people who have committed much of their career lives to the development and advancement of the career industry in Australia. These people contributed as writers and commentators on the field, as theory developers, as researchers, as practitioners, as policy advocates, as teachers, and as mentors.
Part of my strategy for checking completeness and correctness of various chapters was asking colleagues who had been involved directly in the work of a particular period to read chapter drafts. It was important that people who actually “lived this period of career development history” in Australia were afforded the opportunity to contribute to the finished product. I am particularly grateful to Col McCowan OAM, involved in the field since the 1970s, who read every chapter. His encouraging emails returned comment, suggestions for additional reading, and “Okay what next”. I am also very grateful to the following colleagues: Malcolm McKenzie Chapter 6; Mary McMahon Chapters 5, 8, 9 and 10; and Judith Leeson AM, Peter McIlveen and Peter Tatham Chapter 7.
However, the final responsibility for the finished product is mine. While I have sourced interview data and published information, I acknowledge that there will be different memories of events, and different conclusions drawn from the data. While I have undertaken a rigorous search, I acknowledge there may be information sources not located.
As identified by a number of observers over many years (e.g., Davis & Braithwaite, 1990; Morgan & Hart, 1977; New South Wales Department of Education, 1983; Naylor, Elsworth, & Day, 1985; Patton, 2005) the differential history of development in Australian states and the largely State based development of many career guidance services has led to significant national differences in what services look like. As such, national generalisations about many practices are not possible. Throughout the book, an overarching national overview is provided where possible, however in other cases a focus has been made on practice or developments in a particular State.
While there has been an attempt to provide a chronological history, in some cases aspects of an issue may be relevant cross across chapters or have been more relevant to connect in a particular chapter. Extensive cross referencing has been used to guide the reader through these sections. As an example, roles, position titles and training of career advisers/career practitioners differed across States and across eras in some cases. As such, these were discussed under vocational guidance in Chapter 2, updated in Chapter 3, and extended through to the current period in Chapter 8 which focuses on development of the profession through to the time of the book writing.
Outline of Book
The book follows a broad chronological outline. Chapter 1 sets the developments within Australia within a comprehensive historical review of the international career development literature.
Chapter 2, Vocational Guidance, begins with a review of vocational guidance in Australia, documenting trait-factor practices with convicts from the early 1800s and early vocational guidance activity of philanthropists. It documents practice as well as training challenges for professionals across the country. The mid to late 1970s saw a change in the model of practice from vocational guidance to providing individuals with career decision-making skills though curriculum, that is career education.
Chapter 3 focuses on the development of Career Education from the mid to late 1970s. The chapter sets this change in Australia into an international context, highlighting theoretical and definitional underpinnings. From the 1980s, economic challenges saw policy changes in career education. Three major reviews published in the 1980s document the practice of career education during this decade. The 1990s saw significant national interest in the practice of career education, and a move in nomenclature toward career guidance and counselling. This chapter ends with a review of policy and practice through to the end of the 1990s.
Chapter 4 describes the place of Career Assessment and Career Information in vocational guidance and career counselling. It sets Australian developments within an international field, tracking the development of Australian measures (and Australian versions of international measures) and Australian career information through to the present time. The growth of computer assisted career guidance and qualitative career assessment is documented. In particular this chapter documents the contribution of Australians to computer-assisted career guidance and to qualitative career assessment.
Chapter 5 presents a brief history of Career Counselling and its changes through to the new paradigms which encompass life design and workforce development. These developments are set within an international context in which Australian career counselling has evolved. The development of career counselling in Australia, primarily from the 1970s and the establishment of the Australian Association of Career Counsellors in the mid-1980s are outlined.
Chapter 6, Career Development in Post-school Settings, documents the change in focus of career guidance and counselling from the school to work transition through to the growth of career development in post-school settings, including TAFE colleges, universities, and the private sector.
Chapter 7, Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back, sets the broad contexts for career guidance internationally and in Australia at the beginning of the 21st century. It documents the changes in career guidance and the renewed public policy agenda, focusing on a period of significant international review of policies for career information, guidance and counselling services. As previously in Australia’s history, these reviews, including that of Australia in 2002, stimulated significant developments. However, also as previously, this activity has waned. The final section of the chapter also demonstrates that changing public policy agendas in different countries also is contributing to waning activity in government supported career guidance.
Chapter 8 documents the Development of a Career Profession in Australia. It briefly revisits the discussion of professional roles and training described in Chapters 2 and 3 and presents a summary of the state of the field in the 1990s. The national review by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2002 is seen as a turning point in a national approach to professional standards for career practitioners and national endorsement of training programs. This chapter also examines the disappearance of the field of psychology (and psychologists) from career development (vocational psychology) in Australia, noting that the early period was dominated by psychologists. The chapter concludes with a damning picture of the current situation for career practitioners in Australia.
Chapter 9 Contributions to Australia and the International Field. This chapter acknowledges the strength of contribution of so many people to the career development field in Australia, in particular through the strong State and national professional association networks. The chapter then outlines criteria for selection of key Australian theorists, researchers and practitioners whose work to the international literature and to practice in other countries is acknowledged. A summary of the work and contributions of these individuals is then presented.
Chapter 10 “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – the more things change the more they stay the same. This chapter briefly revisits the origins of career guidance, and then traces the pattern of public policy confusion and inaction in Australia since the 1920s. It notes patterns of repeated government (and other) reviews, often at the end of decades, with policy activity soon followed by unidentifiable action. It notes that 2018 has seen another decade phase in the release of key state, national and international reports. The content, focus and recommendations of these reports will be discussed in some detail, both as a reflection of current thinking but also with a view to identifying just what little difference there is since the last decade, the period just prior to and after the OECD (2002) review of Australia. 2018 has also seen a number of articles demonstrating significant evidence in support of the efficacy of career guidance – this argument will also be revisited. Finally, the chapter will focus on recommendations for the future, including citing key research agendas, and will document what best practice looks like. Documenting the positives of what has been developed since the beginning of vocational guidance in Australia and urging a revisiting of history so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past, concludes the chapter.