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Career Development’s Role in Contributing to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals

By Le Tuan Anh

Among the 17 sustainable development goals of the UN, my career guidance work contributes to 3 main goals: "Good Health & Wellbeing", "Quality Education" and "Decent Work & Economic Growth". Let's discuss these contributions in detail.

Goal #3: Good Health & Wellbeing

Sustainable development goal number 3 of the UN is "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages", this is also a goal I recommend clients achieve when seeking career counselling. Physical health, mental health and career development are closely related. A person with good physical and mental health is one who has more time and energy to develop better at work. For a person who is not in good health physically and mentally, it is very difficult to solve the problem of career choice.

In some of the career counselling sessions with clients who are not yet physically and mentally healthy, I often recommend that clients do one of the things below to improve.

  • Read, and learn more about emotions, and psychology.
  • Practice meditation, gratitude and journaling.
  • Build a daily schedule and incorporate good habits.
  • Get physically active for at least 30 minutes a day of any sport.

Goal #4: Quality Education

UN aspiration is "Ensure inclusive and quality for all education and promote lifelong learning opportunities". With the above goal, I often integrate through 2 points of view with the client when consulting career guidance. The first point of view is that career guidance is a lifelong journey, at each time there is a different problem to solve. For example, when you are a high school student, you need to deal with what major to choose, and which school.  As a university student, you need to be equipped with skills to find suitable jobs. Employees need to have workplace integration skills and leadership skills to advance. Therefore, each person must always be in a constant state of learning and opening up when new things appear.

The second view is that each person can become a 'mentor' for the following person. Whether you are a very successful person in society or simply an ordinary working person, the experiences you have had in life are very valuable to share with your followers. Therefore, each person should not hesitate to share their own success and failure stories through forms such as speaking and writing.

Goal #8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

In this goal, the UN aspires to "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all." As career counsellors, we are contributing to the development of each individual to be the most productive and productive employee. To achieve this, each individual needs to find out and understand his/her own interests, strengths, passions and work values. After that, each individual spends time developing job-seeking skills such as writing a CV, understanding the labour market, and building a personal brand to best promote their strengths. A team with good individuals is a team that has the potential to be more productive in today's society.

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Featuring: Raza Abbas- Multi Award-Winning Cross Cultural Career Specialist

Career Development has always been my passion. I started with a humble beginning of volunteering throughout my college experience at The University of Arizona, Career Services Center in the United States. It gave me immense purpose and joy to facilitate individual and group career development coaching sessions, assist in our annual university career fairs and facilitate career development workshops for domestic students and international students from 100+ countries on campus. It was truly an exceptional global experience!

This meaningful exposure laid the foundation for my cross-cultural career development work. Upon graduating, I returned to Pakistan in 2006 with curiosity and passion to learn about career development from global career: luminaries, scholars and practitioners as we had an acute need of career development interventions in our Asian context.

As a novice career practitioner and social entrepreneur, I started my career journey with a beginner’s mindset.  I pro-actively identified premier global career development forums and was fortunate to get selected to present on meaningful inclusive career development interventions in South Asia at annual Career Development conferences & symposia i.e. IAEVG, UNESCO- Chair on Lifelong Guidance and Counseling, APCDA, ARACD, NCDA, ICCDPP, CANNEXUS, OECD across 6 continents.

In the process of continuous learning and client service, I contributed to and initiated many innovative career development interventions at schools, colleges, universities, vocational institutes, foundations, NGO’s, Business Incubation Centers and Government Ministries of Youth & Education and inspired countless lives in my country and globally. With humility and gratitude, I was blessed to be recognized by eminent global professional career development associations:

  • NCDA - International Career Practitioner Award, 2019    
  • APCDA - Outstanding Career Practitioner Award, 2017 

Nominated for Pride of Performance - Pakistan’s Highest Civil Award - 2014, 2020

Areas of Work

  1. Capacity development of teachers, counselors, and youth in career counseling & career development  
  2. Fostering innovative career thinking dialogues with parents and children in grades 8-12
  3. Career coaching for students, recent graduates, entrepreneurs, employees
  4. Consulting in developing career development centers from inception to execution 
  5. Evidence- based hope capacity development for teachers, students, parents, employees
  6. Collective advocacy for our global careers community, currently involved in a working committee to advocate for a UN - Careers & Livelihood Day. 

Me and my clients: in delivering services, what are my approaches/interventions and results?

I am privileged to work with diverse clients locally and internationally. We have had intriguing coaching sessions on a wide range of topics i.e. employability, workplace readiness, career readiness, career mobility, career conversations with supervisors & employees, career management, leadership development, employee engagement, workplace wellness, pitch deck for aspiring entrepreneurs, identifying gig opportunities, career exploration and self-development.  

While working with clients, I draw upon and apply a wide range of models: Grow, OSCAR, Action Centered Leadership, and Peer Coaching. Throughout my coaching experiences, I ensure clients are empowered and enabled to broaden their perspectives, continue to believe in themselves, and make a difference in the societies in which they live.

What my clients gain: Alignment of purpose, establishing trust, active listening skills, reframing people and challenges, importance of goals and future scenario development and understanding motivation.

My personal vision for career development

I believe we are at the crossroads of reigniting career development as a game-changer in these fragile times. Never before in the human era has career development been as critical as it is presently. We are on the bridge of human transformation. I practice and advocate in the notion that career development is a civic right for people from around the globe. Career development interventions must start early in schools to ensure they have a sustainable impact, and they must be integrated into the school curriculum. In universities and vocational institutes, career development is a rising need for students so it is vital to incorporate it as a required course.  The role of social media and electronic media is key in educating and enlightening both citizens and policymakers about the increasing significance of career development to societies at large and how it contributes to employability, well-being, and job creation.

Over the years, we have quality evidence, reliable data, and best career development practices from career scholars and career practitioners globally that have significantly contributed to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As a careers sector we are united to collectively advocate and take action for a UN Careers & Livelihood Day in collaboration with multi stakeholders around the globe promoting that ‘Career Development is the change we wish to see in the world’.

I passionately urge the careers sector to be Bold & Brave. Join us in the global careers movement by contributing to our blog for UN Careers & Livelihood Day . In closing, I want to share a valuable resource from the OECD on ‘Investing in Career Guidance in Career Guidance_en.pdf

Greater collective synergy, cooperation, and co-creation are “the need of the hour’ Let’s make the world better through championing career development in a world that sorely needs more of it!

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Five Wonderful Years with APCDA!

By Emily Rose L. Lizada

I started attending the APCDA Conference in Hawaii.  This was my first time to meet theorists and authors of career development books.  The first APCDA Conference I attended made me fall in love with my work as a Career Counselor and the Career Development field.  The people who attended the conference were warm and welcoming.  The second conference I attended was in Japan.  It was a blessing because I really love Japan and plan to visit again someday.  I met friends from the Hawaii conference.  The place and food are amazing. 

The Philippines represented by Ateneo De Manila University hosted the 2017 conference.  I was designated to represent Ateneo as the host and to coordinate with Marilyn for all the conference details. I discovered my passion for events management during my first job in Iloilo where I organized 2 international conferences.  I love meeting new people and coordinating the event details.  I think it was the success of the Ateneo conference that made Marilyn and the officers decide to offer me a part time job for APCDA.  I love my work in Ateneo doing Career Counseling and events management.  When I was offered the part time job as Administrator for APCDA, I was so happy.  My events management skills will level up to coordinating with international people from different countries.  Also, it provides an opportunity to have a close encounter with theorists and authors of career development books.

The first APCDA conference that I organized as part of the team was in Beijing, China in 2018.  It was the biggest conference and I learned a lot from that experience.  Marilyn is the best mentor. I love meeting and coordinating with keynote speakers, local organizers, APCDA officers and board members.  I need to be keen with details and comply with all the requirements from the host country. We visited the Great Wall of China after the conference. It was then I realized that I love doing this job, I am learning from the experts at the same time exploring new places. Our preparations for 2018 and 2019 overlapped but I was enjoying the work, so it was fun learning new things.  Then, 2019 conference was in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. I love meeting old and new friends at the same time learning from the conference.  After the conference we explored Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An, Vietnam.  It was fun visiting new places.  Then we went to Singapore to meet important people and do ocular visit the places for the 2021 conference. But we needed to cancel the in person 2020 conference in India because of COVID.  It was another learning experience to run a virtual conference. 2020 required a lot of last-minute preparations but it was a good learning experience which prepared us for the 2021 and 2022 conferences. I am looking forward to a hybrid conference in 2023 in Kazakhstan. Working with different groups of people every year has been a different working and learning experience for me. Attending the annual APCDA Conference keeps me updated with the trends in career development that I can use in my work as a Career Development Professional at Ateneo.

APCDA is a big part of me as a Career Development Professional. To be part of the career development field and APCDA is happenstance – it was not planned. I just grabbed the opportunity offered to me and I have no regrets. I am grateful for this opportunity to be part of the team.  I am learning from the experts in the career development field at the same time living my dream of exploring different places around the world. 

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