Industry outlook: career development and counselling in education

There is a pressing need for students – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – to receive comprehensive career support from a young age. A core element of this national strategy will be providing high-quality career advice to children from primary school age onwards.

The pathway from education to employment

The time when people worked for the same company for the entirety of their career has long since vanished. The contemporary careers landscape is far more dynamic, and people navigate numerous jobs in their lifetime. In fact for many of us – and young people in particular – it’s no longer a straightforward matter of vocational training setting you on a lifelong career trajectory.

Technological innovation plays a disruptive role, as industries face rapid change in short periods of time. Organisational leaders and their employees find themselves on the front line of these tremendous changes.

The pathways from education to employment are many and varied, so it’s no wonder there is an emerging emphasis on lifelong learning, and equipping students with the skills they need to chart a dynamic career pathway.

Postgraduate education is an important career building block, particularly for professionals wishing to upskill or refresh their qualifications and professional skill set. According to 2016 Census data, 26 per cent of Australians had completed a Bachelor degree or above.

In a more competitive and diverse career landscape, there is a growing need for comprehensive career educators to help students and young Australians navigate complex education and career pathways moving forward.

Career support from primary school age onwards

There is an escalating awareness in the education sector that students need to start having conversations about careers sooner, and build the vital careers skills they will need to traverse a fragmented and multi-faceted career landscape.

A recent report by the Department of Education and Training, The National Career Education Strategy, emphasises the need for every student in Australia to have access to high-quality career education from primary school onwards.

The Strategy recommends that careers education instils in students the resilience and adaptability they need to meet the demands of the evolving nature of work, so that they’re better able to chart a pathway through multiple careers in their working life, and confront the challenges of technological disruption and change.

A growing need for specialist in-school career counsellors

Career counsellors and practitioners have a crucial role to play in helping students better understand the nature of professional work in the 21st century, and to help individual students crystallise their career goals.

Children start to form stereotypes around jobs and study from an early age – through the unconscious influences of parents, peers and the wider community – as Lisa O’Brien of The Smith Family suggests. This can have a detrimental and lasting effect on a student’s attitude towards work and career, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The need for students to develop ambitious yet realistic career aspirations is essential, which is why The Smith Family are piloting a program that provides children comprehensive career advice in Year 4 – 6.

Students have a great deal to gain from a structured introduction to career planning, providing students the means to focus their interests and take initial steps into working towards a satisfying career direction they’re well-equipped to pursue.

Helping students chart the complex careers landscape

By helping students develop realistic career plans from a younger age, career counsellors play an active role in ensuring students develop the skills they need to chart complex career pathways and ultimately find meaningful and rewarding work.

While classroom teachers have a role to play in starting conversations with their students about careers, the advice of a dedicated career counsellor – with a comprehensive understanding of the evolving modern workplace and industry transition – is essential.

By making the pathways between education and employment more explicit, students are better able to make important and informed decisions about their future, and to cultivate goals that are both ambitious and achievable.


By working as a dedicated career counsellor in an education context, you will have the opportunity to steer the aspirations of young Australians, starting meaningful conversations about career earlier, ensuring that when school is over students will have a firm idea of the meaningful work they wish to pursue.

Take the opportunity to upskill and specialise in education careers counselling today with a Graduate Certificate in Education (Career Development and Counselling).

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