As practical places of learning, colleges need to be responsive to the workplaces that we supply with trained workers. It’s in response to those employer demands that the School of Social and Community Services is launching the Career Development Practitioner graduate certificate this September, a three-semester program that replaces a previous diploma program.
Program Coordinator, Gillian Johnston says, “Employers said that they are looking for the degree or diploma plus the specialized training. So, we're trying to meet industry demands as the profession itself changes and becomes more credentialized.”
Changes reflect industry
Having overseen a previous iteration of the program, Johnston says the new program is shorter, more practical and includes an intensive practicum. Courses focus on topics such as trends in career development, professional practice, ethics, and individual counselling and coaching. Johnston says that the program has also evolved to meet the increasingly digital nature of the job search, with a lot more training on relevant technology and social media. The ethics courses are designed to meet the Certified Career Development Practitioner certification – a new credential required in the field. The program maintains its generalist perspective, so qualifies graduates for positions such as employment counsellor, career consultant, academic advisor or information specialist.
The program’s work placement provides students with a pathway into the field. Employers include Employment Ontario offices, advising offices in post-secondary institutions, career management firms, and community-based employment support organizations like ACCES Employment, and JVS Toronto. Placements generally run three days a week with an additional morning at the college where students share information and learn from an advisor.
A helping profession
Johnston says that the program attracts students interested in supporting others. “It's somebody who is curious about other people, who has the ability and desire to form what we call a helping alliance,” says Johnston, referring to the delicate way that career counsellor has to both listen to a client’s goals but also guide them through the job application process and help them make the best career decisions.
Through her own career she’s felt gratified to help others and expects that students will find the same as they enter this field. “It's a very hopeful, optimistic kind of work. Because somebody may come in angry, frustrated, depressed, hopeless, but by the time we finish working with them and they have had those changes in their lives and become agents of change in their own lives, it is a very positive kind of work to do.”
For more information on this program, visit our website.