Core competencies of the Career Development Practitioner (CDP)

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The following core competencies are set out in the Department of Higher Education’s Competency Framework for Career Development Practitioners in South Africa, 2016.


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1. Effective Communication

Career development involves verbal or written interaction. Effective communication enables rapport and relationships to be built and fosters productive and collaborative work environments.

2. Demonstrate ethical behaviour

Ethical standards guide the conduct of CDPs. Ethical practice serves to develop credible, consistent and responsible service to people and, in so doing, protects the public and also CDPs. Most professions are guided by an ethical code by which the conduct of their members can be considered.

3. Demonstrate professional behaviour

Professional behaviour reflects professionalism; a trait that both clients and colleagues expect to be apparent when interacting. Professional behaviour for a CDP refers to striving for excellence in all that one does and includes showing respect and integrity in behaviour with sound self- and case-management skills. Professional behaviour includes the establishing and management of stakeholder relationships and industry networks.

4. Manage diversity

Career development was born out of the social justice movement at the beginning of the 20th century and social justice remains a core value of career development services. Social justice recognises the uniqueness of individuals, i.e. every individual is different. Dealing with people from diverse backgrounds is integral to the work of CDPs. Diversity impacts the career development of people in various ways including living with disabilities, personal characteristics, beliefs and values, gender expectations, and access to opportunities.

5. Use career information effectively

A fundamental reason for people accessing CDPs is to obtain information on occupations and jobs, learning pathways, study options and employment opportunities. Labour market information provides a foundation for assisting people to make informed study and employment decisions. An in-depth knowledge of and ability to use labour market information is crucial in providing career development services

6. Deliver an effective career development service

Converting knowledge into a meaningful career development engagement is a competency often taken for granted. A CDP must be able to effectively draw upon his/her knowledge to deliver a meaningful career development service. The delivery of career development services takes place in diverse settings. In certain settings, the CDP will need to work with groups and in other settings, the CDP will need to work with individuals, making use of appropriate resources and technologies.

Regulations pertaining to the psychology profession underpin this competency framework and, therefore, standardised instruments will only be used by registered practitioners who will operate under SCDP.

7. Advance employability of clients

A critical role of a CDP is to improve a client’s opportunity of being employed or promoted. This includes providing information on employability, CV writing and editing, coaching for interviews, advising on job search strategies and other interventions that make a person more employable, using their existing skill set.

8. Understand career development

Career development has a long history during which an extensive theory base has been built, that distinguishes career development from other fields. This theory base provides a way of understanding individual and group career development and should inform practice.

9. Facilitate non-standardised self-exploration career assessments and techniques

Psychometric and non-standardised assessments are an established and recognised process of acquiring qualitative and quantitative information about clients seeking help. Whilst non-standardised self-exploration assessments and techniques can be facilitated by all professionally trained CDPs, standardised psychometric assessments may only be used by suitably categorised HPCSA registered psychologists, psychometrists and counsellors. The CDP must know which career assessment and techniques he/she can apply related to his/her competency level.

To gain more knowledge on obtaining certification as a Career Development Information Officer with QCTO, contact Wilma Rossler at [email protected]

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