Cross-National Reviews of Career Guidance Systems: Overview and Reflections

Deans lecture series 2013

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About the lecture

In this lecture, Professor Watts will discuss a series of international reviews of career guidance systems for the OECD and other organisations, outlining their precursors, describing their methodologies, summarising key conclusions, and reviewing their impact.

In our ‘knowledge society’, organisations are constantly exposed to change. They are therefore less willing to make long-term commitments to individuals; where they do, it has to be in exchange for task and role flexibility. This transforms the definition of ‘career’, to ‘the individual’s lifelong progression in learning and work’ (Watts, 1996).

In this environment, public policy goals for guidance services have been radically reframed to support policies relating to lifelong learning, linked to sustaining employability and the development of human capital. This places career guidance centre-stage.

In all countries, career guidance remains focused on processes rather than structures, on the individual rather than on systems, on the individual’s movement across policy silos, and accordingly is always at risk of being marginalised. However, it provides a key lubricant to making systems work and, by placing the individual at the centre, it also helps to ensure that attention is paid to human rights and liberties.

About the speaker

Professor Tony Watts