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Conference Sketch: Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Career Practitioners 2010

by Renee Pike

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Career Practitioners (NLACP) is gaining momentum, which was evident from the 120 delegates attending the second annual conference in St. John’s, on October 22-24. This year’s theme, “Overcoming Barriers – Empowering Lives!”, went beyond finding the perfect résumé to focus on some of the more complex issues facing those who fail to form a secure attachment to the labour force.
The weekend event was an opportunity to come together and discuss the challenges faced by career practitioners across the province and, even more importantly, by those we serve. There appeared to be a consensus that “career development” encompasses all aspects of a person’s life and today’s clients require more comprehensive services to make a successful transition into the labour force. Because of the immense geographic area of the majestic province of Newfoundland and Labrador, accessing resources can prove to be very challenging, if not impossible, especially for those who need help most. The conference was packed with a wealth of knowledge to help better serve clients, including networking opportunities, sharing of best practices and information on relevant programs and services.
Pam Toope, a representative of the province’s Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment provided delegates with a detailed outlook at our labour prospects which reflected concerns felt across the country. While Newfoundland and Labrador did not experience the recent economic crisis at the same level as other areas, it is evident that the aging population will shape our labour market profoundly over the next decade.
To focus on this year’s theme, local service providers lead a plenary discussion about programs and challenges faced by the clients. Attraction, recruitment and retention are key to meeting the labour market needs of the future, so it is imperative to engage the entire working age population. Delegates discussed barriers faced by youth, individuals with disabilities, Aboriginal women, immigrants and those from diverse cultural backgrounds in hopes of finding new ways to overcome them.
Stella Burry Community Services shared how they’ve made a difference in their communities and introduced new ways to assist clients with multiple barriers. A Virtual Ability Expo demonstrated by Valerie Alphonso provided a Career Practitioner’s Tool to use in the workplace. Roxanne Sawatzky’s dynamic session, “Unstuck you Stuck Client”, presented various strategies that can be used when clients appear to be bogged down in the decision-making and career development process.
As a young organization, NLACP believes in the hard work and dedication of the career practitioners of our fine province. To commemorate this, the conference included a gala dinner where the Dyall Award of Excellence was awarded to Lisa Dempster for her excellence in the field of career counseling and the Beacon Consulting Bursary was given to Sharon Collins for her participation in life-long learning. The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Career Practitioners embraces the challenges that lie ahead in the field and is looking forward to providing new and innovative ways to assist clients in the future.
For more information regarding NLACP, please contact our Chair at or visit our website
Renee Pike has been a member of the NLACP since 2009. She is currently employed as a Youth Outreach Coordinator where she provides information and referrals for youth and others facing multiple barriers to employment. After attending both annual conferences to date, Renee eagerly joined the Board of Directors to be a part of a new, but very strong association and is looking forward to where the NLACP goes from here.

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