Guest Post: The Meaning of Lifelong Learning

Guest Post: The Meaning of Lifelong Learning

October 23, 2019

According to the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners, one of the core competencies deemed important is the ability to “demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning”.

After working in the career development field for quite some time, I sensed I was missing something. There was a gap in my educational skills set. My social sciences degree helped me prepare for work in a helping field, but I craved more knowledge regarding my work. In 2018, I completed a Career and Academic Certificate through the University of Calgary’s continuing education department. It was an amazing experience, one that completely changed the way I assist my clients. To keep building on this professional development momentum, in March 2019 I received my Certified Career Development Practitioner Designation from the New Brunswick Career Development Association.

As a practitioner who strives to adhere to the Standards, I regularly check-in with the Code of Ethics that guides our work. One of the areas that resonates most with me within the Code pertains to Self-Improvement. It states that “career development practitioners are committed to the principle of life-long learning to maintain and improve both their professional growth and the development of the field in the areas of knowledge, skills and competence.” As someone who places a high value on education, this is music to my ears.

Living in rural Newfoundland and working within a professional development budget, how do I plan on maintaining and improving my knowledge, skills, and competence? Webinars. They are truly a great means to attaining the goal of continuing professional development. Recently I completed a series of three (free) webinars titled Career Theories and Models at Work graciously provided by CERIC (Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling). I received new ideas and tools from each session. One tool I have since used with my clients is the Decision Space Worksheet. Debra Osborn presented the Worksheet tool in her webinar titled A Career Theory That Works: Cognitive Information Processing Theory. It is a great tool that can assist clients in exploring what sorts of things are happening in their lives that can impact their career decision-making process.

As I write this post, another series of webinars are set to be offered this coming fall focusing on empathy and how we can cultivate it in the work we do with our clients.  I have set the goal of completing at least one set of webinars each season as a way of keeping my learning fresh and updated. I consider myself a professional career practitioner and according to Chang, Scott & Decker (2013) “[b]eing a professional means being dedicated to on-going learning or professional development. In all professions, there is an obligation to evaluate your practice and to continue to develop and enhance your skills” (p.81).

Interested in CERIC’s current webinar series? Register today!

About the Author:

Jennifer Cheeks has worked with the Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) for eight years. That time has been spent working as a Career and Employment Specialist for the central region of Newfoundland. Recently, she moved into a leadership role with WRDC and is now the Manager of Career Services. Prior to this, she worked with a family resource program for five years as a lead program facilitator. She holds a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies from UNB. She also has a Certificate in Family Supports from Ryerson University and a Certificate in Career and Academic Advising from the University of Calgary. She is a Certified Career Development Practitioner.

Resources and References

Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners: Core Competencies (2004) (Pg. 27)

Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners: Code of Ethics (2004) (Pg. 2)

Chang, V., Scott, S., & Decker. C. (2013). Developing Helping Skills: A Step-by-Step Approach to Competency (2nd ed.) Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole