Ashes or Phoenix : where now for adult guidance?

Ashes or Phoenix:
where now for adult career
A personal view
Stephen McNair
President NAEGA
Director Career Development Institute
The context: can capitalism
save itself (again)?
The end of “growth” – resource constraints
Global rebalancing – the third world strikes back
Inability to pay for what we need
Ageing populations
Rise of inequality – insiders and outsiders
Privatisation of the public realm
Contracting out and micromanagement
Choice and powerlessness, the democratic deficit
More complexity: less certainty
A world of profound
• Unpredictable labour markets and social
• Growing sense of lack of control and security
• Poor career decisions more risky
• Need for continuous learning and continuous
career review
• Reluctance to find resources to pay for it
Building a careers
profession: who are we?
• Our common bond is an aspiration to help
individuals to find the most satisfying and
effective ways of using their time, across the
lifecourse, in and out of paid employment.
• This is a difficult, time consuming, and
demanding professional task
The task
• Helping people to find their own answers to
the questions:
– Who am I?
– Who do I want to be?
– How might I get there?
– What are the limitations and barriers and can I
overcome them?
Being a profession
• Our primary ethical commitment is to the
individual, not the employer or the state
• This implies a strong, broad and autonomous
profession, embracing many skills and talents,
at many levels, in public, private and third
The Government’s model
• An informed free market in goods, services and
• Guidance as a market maker
• Guidance providers as free agents in market
• Self regulating profession to manage standards of
individuals working in services
• Regulated providers through Matrix
• National Careers Service as a “beacon”
An aspiration
"The bursary fund is exciting and new and will allow us to
address some of the perfectly properly argued
concerns of Opposition Members, but more than that, I
wanted to accept NIACE’s proposal of a mid-life
learning health check, so that we could look at people
at the age of 40 and 50 perhaps and use the national
careers service to gauge when and where they could
study to upskill or reskill. That there is a need for that
has been argued by the sector for some time, and we
have taken it on board as part of this package.“
John Hayes, Hansard 17 July 2012
How adequate is provision
• preparing for adulthood
• entry to the adult world
• returning to work
• retiring from paid work
• overcoming disadvantage
• countering underemployment
• managing talent
NCS – some concerns
• Micromanagement of NCS could inhibit
• Reluctance to promote the service suppresses
and distorts demand
• Limitations of resources
• Unclear role and independence of National
Careers Council
Challenges for the career
development community
• Do we have evidence to build public & political
• How different are adults and young people?
• What is our role in countering inequality?
• What is the role of the public sector – provider, market
maker, “beacon”?
• What is the role of the private sector – workplace and
• Who is going to pay? - resources, priorities and
• What is the role of Government?
Challenges for a
“new profession”
A new world – are we looking backwards?
Autonomy v viability
Governance - reach and balance
Government need v client need
Diversity, standards and quality