What I learnt from the #NICEC Conference

Here are a few short thoughts about what I learnt from the NICEC conference Rethinking career development for a globalised world which I’ve been at this week…

  1. Social Justice – This was one of the big themes which ran through the conference and I’m really pleased that the profession is returning to discuss. I was struck by both Nancy Arthur and Tristram Hooley that pursuing social justice often involves thinking strategically about how we position ourselves inside the organisations and structures we are part of. We may choose to focally oppose the structures we are part of as much as we work inside them or even against them in a more covert manner.
  2. Julia Yates’ session on alternative selves was a real highlight for me. I found it really interesting how imagining and articulating a future ideal self or selves encourages creativity, exposes constructs and encourages resilience and buy in from clients. I want to do more thinking about this and especially think how it might tie into other theories.
  3. I always find Phil McCash very helpful. I enjoyed hearing about the Chicago School and especially being reminded of how important Goffman can be to our understanding of career. I was particularly struck by how Phil described the various ways we can integrate theory and practice. Do we 1) choose one theory for everything 2) have a range of theories for different situations or 3) help our clients understand, select and create theories for themselves?
  4. I was struck again by Laura Brammar’s presentation on online learning and pedagogy. Of particular interest was the notion of Heutagogy which focuses on moving on from learning being self-directed to self-generated. To give a metaphor is it the difference between choosing your own way to a destination and choosing what the destination can be. Especially of interest if how this can fit inside notions of focusing on the community above the curriculum and trying to see community interaction as a place where people bringing their own problems and solve it together.

The conference was thoroughly rewarding and possible the best careers conference I’d been to in terms of quality of speakers and chances to connect with people I genuinely benefited from spending time with. Well done NICEC!