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A View of Global Career Development and Practitioner Training

Dr Howard Splete, Ellen Weaver Paquette, Salwa Saleh Atiyyah

The term ‘globalisation’ is now commonplace. It refers however to more than economic and political concerns. Globalisation also applies to career development services, as these too, can be provided to the world’s population.

Many national, regional and international organisations have focused on career development policies and practices. The International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy (ICCD) for example, has facilitated many meetings, research reports and policy statements. And reports by Watts and Sultana (2004) and Zelloth (2009) have indicated that countries need to formulate comprehensive plans for the effective delivery of career guidance services.

McCarthy (2004) reports on wide variations between and within countries as to the training and requirements needed to practice as a guidance worker. Training for career practitioners it seems, is a major concern. Niles, Engels and Lenz (2009) state that career practitioner preparation is challenged by the need for public policies on career development, greater competencies standardization and innovative training programs.

Standardization of training is not an easy task. A key component in preparing for training is to access the needs of potential providers. Splete and Hoppin (2000) have discussed the lengthy process of formulating a United States training curriculum based on a needs survey of practitioner competencies. Completion of this National Career Development Association (NCDA)-CDF training allows a practitioner to apply for certification as a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). Repetto (2008), with the support of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG), coordinated an extensive project which identified needed competencies, then established a training outline based on these competencies. Completion of this training allows a practitioner to apply for an international credential in Educational and Vocational Guidance Practice (EVGP).

The 120 hour NCDF-CDF Curriculum was originally developed to fill knowledge and skill gaps of career practitioners—usually paraprofessionals working in career centers under the supervision of Master’s level counsellors.

There are many terms used to describe various practitioner roles. They include career counsellor, career development facilitator, career coach, career advisor and employment counsellor. In practice, the qualifications and training of the practitioner needs to be known so their role can be defined to effectively serve the appropriate group. For example, Patton (2005), in describing the breadth of the career coordinator role in Australia, noted the Department of Education, Science and Training1, had formulated a series of 3 programs for various levels of career practitioner needs. The Australian Career Development Series2 (ACDS) includes Awareness of Career Development, Elements of Career Service Delivery and Career Development Services. These programs are sequenced from requiring no formal educational qualifications to post-graduate certificate level.

It seems realistic therefore, for each country to identify the training required for their use of a career practitioner title—and for the most relevant training for that role. This does not preclude that country from adapting what is appropriate from training models as those of NCDA—CDF and the IAEVG.

Before we discuss NCDA CDF training in the Middle East, it may be helpful to clarify the NCDA Career Development Training Program. Powell (2009) provides a concise overview in which she describes possible roles of a CDF and a general definition as a practitioner who has completed in-depth training of up to 120 or more instructional hours provided by an NCDA nationally trained and qualified instructor. Upon successful completion of the NCDA CDF training, the participants may apply for certification as a GCDF.

The current version of the NCDA Career Development Facilitator Curriculum was revised by Harris-Bowlsbey, Suddarth and Reile (2008). The curriculum is designed to teach skills in 12 competencies. This training resonates with a western culture and provides a United States model of the concept and delivery of career services. However, the 12 competencies of the curriculum may be considered as a basis for transferability to many parts of the world. Adaptation as appropriate is the key. As an example, organisations from Bulgaria, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Romania, Turkey and the United States have had their CDF training approved and their trainees become eligible for GCDF certification.

International requests for the CDF training and GCDF certification have continued to increase. This is true of Middle Eastern countries. To our knowledge, Egypt was the first Arabic speaking Middle Eastern nation to use a version of the basic CDF training as a preparation to apply for GCDF certification. Staff at Cairo University and at Ain Shams, saw a clear need to prepare their engineering students for employment in career development activities in their field and saw this training program as appropriate. Topics and modes of delivery of the curriculum were adapted for relevancy to Egyptian culture, economic conditions and educational structure while keeping a focus on the NCDA competencies.

Qatar was the second Arabic speaking Middle Eastern nation to collaborate with NCDA in country specific training. The sponsoring group was The Higher Education Institute (HEI) of the country’s Supreme Education Council (SEC). Two of the main functions of HEI are administering higher education scholarships and providing educational and career counselling. Currently, the HEI has 350 top-ranked institutions from around the world on its scholarship lists. HEI’s Advising and Career Development Center (ACC) provides comprehensive advising and career counselling services that help students and graduates make educational and career choices based on their interests, abilities, values and needs of the labor market.

Career counselling services in most Qatari schools are still in their initial stages. Some schools have not included counselling in their educational plans and the SEC recognised the need for greater numbers of well-trained professionals with appropriate skills to become involved in the process of counselling students.

To meet the need for a high-quality career counselling system in Qatar, the Secretary General of the SEC instructed the ACC to prepare a long term training program to provide career counsellors with the necessary skills to help students make wise educational decisions. Three phases of a training program were outlined. The first phase, completed in December of 2008, was conducted by ACC staff. The focus of this phase was to prepare the school counsellors and other staff with the essential skills required to help individuals make decisions about their future careers or academic pursuits.

In preparing for phases two and three, the ACC recognised the need to look internationally for a professional group that could provide expertise, ideas and best practises. After an extensive search, the ACC chose the NCDA to help them in planning for and implementing these phases. The NCDA – CDF training curriculum provided the basis for this collaborative effort.

Each of the second and third phases was planned for a two week period in which 60 hours would be spent covering the curriculum and counsellor competencies as they related to Qatari culture. Forty two trainees, including school counsellors, social workers and staff from the Qatar Foundation, Qatar University, and from public, private and independent schools completed phase two in May, 2009. The content covered was based on the first 5 chapters of the curriculum: Developing a helping relationship, Using your helping skills with diverse populations, Ethics for the career development facilitator, Career development theory and its application and The role of assessment in career planning.

In addition to gaining knowledge and skills from NCDA-CDF content, the training provided an opportunity for the trainees to meet one another, discuss their needs, provide suggestions and recommendations and share related experiences. To ensure that the training was meeting individual needs, two process evaluations were given. Suggestions made at the end of the first week were incorporated in the activities of the second week.

A progress evaluation of the program was made at the end of phase two. Trainee comments indicated that they were very satisfied with the high level of training. The majority of responses indicated that the training objectives were clearly defined, the trainers actively involved the participants and that the feedback given at the end of the first week helped to strengthen the training process. In addition, the participants thought the training was unique due to the quality of the curriculum, the training style of the instructors, the interaction between the participants and the excellent ACC–HEI preparation and organisational support . This supportincluded the provision of simultaneous translation in both languages. Over all, the evaluation results indicated a growth in the career development service skills of the trainees.

The third phase will include 60 hours and will occur in November, 2009 for the same group. Upon successful completion of phase three, the trainees will be eligible to apply for the GCDF certification from CCE.

Even with the increased demands for career development practitioner training, the contracted group needs to proceed cautiously and with the full involvement, understanding and support of the host organisation.

Cultural values, traditions and expectations vary across regions and nations of the world. As Sultana (2009) indicates, the training group should be sensitive and flexible in its work so that western or other regional values are not seen as being imposed upon the program’s trainees.

We believe that practitioner training across nations will continue as part of globalisation and with proper planning and implementation, will benefit clients.


  • set appropriate times for pre-training meetings and communications between the parties
  • agree on training purpose and clarify expectations
  • choose qualified trainers based on their experience and their match with the trainee population
  • share information about host country’s size, history, economy, culture, local customs, workdays and holidays
  • have support by the host group in helping to adapt curriculum, translate materials, offer simultaneous translations during training, provide adequate training environments and offer site support services including media and technology access
  • share information about the trainee population (selection process, work and educational backgrounds, possible language difficulties, and possible conflicts with work schedules)
  • use face to face interchanges during the training to work through cultural nuances and assumptions
  • work closely with the assigned translators to deal with challenges in direct translation
  • relate training to specific work environments and possible site supervision.

(This article was first published in Australian Career Practitioner, Vol.20, Issue 4, Summer 2009)

Dr. Howard Splete
Professor Emeritus, Oakland University
is Professor Emeritus of Oakland University and is an NCDA Fellow. He has served as an NCDA officer and consulted in the area of Career Development nationally and internationally. He can be reached at

Ellen Weaver Paquette
Rhode Island College
Ellen is a GCDF Master Trainer and the Principal at Developpe, LLC, in addition to serving as Adjunct faculty at Rhode Island College and Salve Regina University.  She can be reached at

Salwa Saleh Attiyyah
Consultant, Advising & Career Development Center
Higher Education Institute, Doha, Qatar

Harris-Bowlsbey,J., Suddarth,B. & Reile,D.(2008).Facilitating Career Development (2nd.ed).National Career Development Association.
McCarthy,J.(2004).The Skills, Training and Qualifications of Guidance Workers. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 4, 159-178.
Niles,S, Engels,D. & Lenz,J.(2009).Training Career Practitioners. Career Development Quarterly, 57, 358-365.
Patton,W.(2005). Coming of Age ? Overview of Career Guidance Policy and Practice in Australia. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 5, 217- 227.
Powell,M.A.(2009). The NCDA Career Development Facilitator Training Program: An Overview. Career Developments, 25, 20-21.
Repetto,E.(2008). International Competencies for Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioners: an IAEVG Trans-national Study. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance. 8, 135-195.
Splete,H. & Hoppin,J.(2000). The Emergence of Career Development Facilitators. The Career Development Quarterly, 48, 340-347.
Sultana,R.(2009). Career Guidance Policies : Global Dynamics, Local Resonances. iCeGS Occasional Paper. International Centre for Guidance Studies.
Watts,A.G. & Sultana,R. (2004) Career Guidance Policies in 37 Countries: Contrasts and Common Themes. International Journal for Educational Guidance. 4, 105-122.
Zelloth,H.(2009). In Demand: Career Guidance in EU Neighbouring Countries. European Training Foundation.

1 Now DEEWR (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations)

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