December 16, 2022

Career conversations matter

Career conversations matter. Effective career conversations create a sense of hope for a future unknown.

In my reflections on our recent CATE Conference at the wonderful Te Pae here in Ōtautahi, the theme of conversations stands out.

From the initial feedback from delegates, there were many opportunities across the three days for connections, collaborations, and professional conversations. As a CATE Conference committee member, workshop presenter, and delegate, that was certainly my experience.

I was particularly struck by the number of conversations I had with colleagues focused on the future of careers, and also how school careers advisors might facilitate the integration of career conversations into the curriculum. This is not a new topic. We purposely made this a focus of The Career Development Company workshop, sharing our RECI framework for career advisors to help champion effective career conversations across the school.

A number of presenters touched on the future of career, and the influence of “real conversations” and industry touch points on career decision-making, fulfilment and wellbeing. I was encouraged by keynote Sascha McMeeking, who iterated the importance of instilling resilience in our young people for the reality of “multiple reincarnations” in their career journeys by “fuelling them with the hope and belief in who they are becoming”.

So how do we fuel hope and belief in our young people’s future selves?

Futures thinking is a critical aspect of planning—including in career planning. It involves us having a clear understanding of current state, considering and planning for potential future scenarios and outcomes, while also being reflective and reflexive. In the context of career conversations in a school curriculum, integrating futures thinking involves helping students reflect on who they are and who they are becoming, exploring the future world of work and the potential impact of factors such as technology and globalization on their future careers. As McMeeking asserted, it is about providing students with opportunities to make connections, creating “hope points” so that they can think more deeply and critically about the world and the part they want to play in it, so that they are able to explore future careers possibilities in a more informed and meaningful way.

Career conversations do matter, and as my colleagues and I look forward to 2023, we are excited about continuing our conversations, building connections and collaborations to encourage the development of effective career conversations.

Photo: Performance Group Te Whānau Tahi


Amanda Smidt is one of a team of three Executive Directors at The Career Development Company.                [email protected]