ACCELL has joined forces with the International Research and Intervention Laboratory: Psychology for Vocational Guidance and Career Counseling and Talents (LabOProCCareer&T), under the leadership of Professor Annamaria di Fabio, at the University of Florence, Italy.
ACCELL’s Research Director, Peter McIlveen (USQ) and Research Fellow, Allison Creed (USQ), presented an Australian flag to LabOProCCareer&T’s Research Director, Annamaria di Fabio. The ceremony symbolizes the partnership between the two research teams. Professor di Fabio was honoured to receive the flag brought from the Toowoomba office of Dr John McVeigh, Member for the Seat of Groom in the Australian House of Representatives.
ACCELL and LabOProCCareer&T are conducting research that spans Italy, USA, and Australia. The two teams are focused on the psychological qualities of employability that enable a person to best use their knowledge and skills in the labour market.
Like ACCELL, the LabOProCCareer&T research team focuses on vocational guidance, career counselling, career development and career management, with the particular goals of identifying and promoting individual resources and developing an evidence-base for effective, innovative interventions. LabOProCCareer&T finds answers to questions that are important for education and workforce development: Which factors play a role in career decision-making? Which factors promote adaptive career outcomes? Which factors contribute to the development of intrapreneurship for the 21st century? Which interventions are effective in promoting career and life management in the 21st century? Which are effective and efficient processes of recognition and enhancement of the talents and skills in a lifelong perspective?
Work is central to people’s lives. Consider when we meet someone for the first time. Invariably, one of the first questions asked is “what do you do?” meaning, what job do you do to earn a living?
Career and identity Peoples working lives and social identity have been shaped by the notion of career (Watts, 2000) and career has been described as a means to self-actualisation (Adamson, 1997). A career identity is an individual narrative or story that explains “how the self of yesterday became the self of today and will become the self of tomorrow” (Savickas, 2005, p. 58). As with a literary story, the plots of a personal narrative bring coherence, structure, and a heuristic through which to understand a person’s story (McIlveen & Patton, 2007, p. 228). Careers engender group formation that unite individuals, provide a sense of identity, offer a means for fulfilment, and “provide our daily bread” (Inkson, 2007, p. xviii).
Significantly, the concept of career is evolving in today’s society to encompass an underlying agenda of employability. In doing so, it moves career away from the role of the employer or organisation and instead career becomes more person-centred. In other words, employability makes the individual the focus and a person-centred approach is pursued in the field of vocational psychology today. Sufficiency is measured in terms of high or low employability.
Despite the potentially negative overtones of quantification, employability is now recognised as a work specific active adaptability and this means that characteristic adaptations of employability can be learned and applied. Does this mean that employability can be used to re-frame career to service the needs of the individual worker rather than the interests of the organisation? Blustein and McWhirter (2002) go further and argue for a more holistic focus starting with the individual but extending to a more socially contextualised context of understanding.
The research team at the Australian Collaboratory for Career, Employability, and Learning for Living (ACCELL) is focused on describing, explaining, and enhancing employability through educational strategies. Most recently, ACCELL found that some, but not all, metaphors of employability used by students and graduates actually predict their confidence for searching for work. This research finding can be used by educators and employers to better engage students in employment programs. The research report is in preparation for publication. Standby by for updates.
Wine is a captivating beverage. Each glass tells a story of aromas and flavours, people and places, culture and history. For many people, the winery cellar door is their entry point to wine appreciation, knowledge, and awareness—wine acculturation and education. Wine is, after all, a definitively human phenomenon, made by people for people to experience and enjoy.
Essentially, the cellar door experience underpins customer relationship development, direct sales opportunities, and learning about wine appreciation. Wine quality and convivial surroundings are important, but effective communication is essential. The cellar door is a key for the Australian wine tourism industry to unlock the potential of domestic and international visitors for rural and regional areas. These visitors to our wine regions contribute to rural economies and employment by spending their tourism dollars at the cellar door.
In their forthcoming paper, Uncorking the potential of wine language for young wine tourists, ACCELL’s Research Fellow Dr. Allison Creed and Research Director Dr. Peter McIlveen draw attention to effective wine communication with a focus on the young wine tourist: Does the language used to describe and learn about wine have the qualities to invite a younger audience into wine culture?
This is an important question for two reasons. First, language is inherent to the uniquely human experience of wine in terms of how it is described to self and others (e.g., tasting notes). Second, effective communication with and education of consumers underpins growth in wine knowledge that, in turn, contributes to growth in ethical wine consumption (Knott, 2004).
Winespeak and metaphor
Wine is embedded in cultures and aesthetics (e.g., food, fashion) and wine language is full of fuzzy concepts (e.g., the nose and bouquet; flavour and mouthfeel; finish and after taste). Somewhat disparagingly referred to as winespeak, wine communication is rich in figurative language. To this end, metaphor is a frequent feature of wine reviews and tasting notes used at the cellar door, on winery websites, or promotional materials. Metaphor involves two different knowledge domains: a target domain (e.g., wine) and a source domain (e.g., a person). That is, people come to understand one thing in terms of another (e.g., this wine is round—the mouthfeel given as shape; a palate full of nervous energy—an appraisal in terms of personality).
Personification of wine
Wine consumers experience more of the intrinsic characteristics of a wine after they receive product information. Therefore, effective communication is important because it underpins growth in wine knowledge that, in turn, contributes to growth in wine consumption. Personification can be an effective communication strategy and tool for wine education. Personification is where a product or brand is talked about to engage consumers via their experiences of it in terms of its similarity to and relatedness to people. “Marketers can use a variety of visual, verbal and metaphorical tools to activate knowledge of a ‘human’ schema and, thereby, enhance consumers’ tendencies to perceive brands in anthropomorphic ways” (MacInnis & Folkes, 2017, p. 37).
For instance, a wine has a voice: announce, sing, whisper, or suggest; wine has psychological features: confident, honest, mellow, or brooding; wine has physical attributes: heart, nerve, and backbone; and, wine has aesthetic properties: gorgeous, luscious, and youthful.
The personification of wine helps people understand the wine experience through figurative language frames. A figurative frame captures information to make an unknown, abstract and/or complex issue more concrete and comprehensible. Such framing utilises metaphorical language to personify and story the wine experience. Therefore, what is and what is not an effective frame is an important area of research to uncover the proactive capability of figurative frames in wine communication directed at different groups of wine tourist.
The persuasive power of metaphor
Metaphor can be an educational “corkscrew” to open up wine to consumers. Consumer behaviour studies of metaphoric language in advertising and promotion indicate that metaphoric expressions are more persuasive than literal speech (Bosman & Hagendoorn, 1991; Forceville & Urios-Aparisi, 2009; Tom & Eves, 1999). When seen as a resource, metaphor analysis has the power to uncork the potential of wine language and enhance wine education. In light of this and to bookend the forthcoming article, ACCELL’s Research Fellow, Dr Allison Creed, was invited by Dr Lettie Dorst to present her interactive workshop Waiter! There’s a Metaphor in my Wineat Leiden University Centre for Linguistics in the Netherlands during her residency at the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam as a Visiting Research Scholar from June to November 2017.
Waiter! There’s a Metaphor in my Wineis designed as an interactive workshop that offers participants a theoretical, methodological, and gastronomic introduction to wine, genre, and metaphor. The genre of wine reviews is used to demonstrate the potential for metaphor to transform and translate people’s sensory and emotional responses to the aesthetic artefact of wine. Participants at the Leiden University workshop took part in wine tastings and collaborated to identify metaphorical language using the Metaphor Identification Procedure Vrije Universiteit (MIPVU; Steen, et al, 2010) in a wine review sample. Groups enjoyed creating a lightening wine review and the workshop culminated in a prize awarded by peer review!
Creed, A. & McIlveen, P. F. (Under Review). Uncorking the potential of wine language for young wine tourists. In M. Sigala & R. Robinson (Eds.). Managing and marketing wine tourism and destinations: Theory and cases. London, England: Palgrave McMillan.
Lisa was a young accountant with plenty of experience, solid references and was looking for work. She approached a large accounting firm she had previously worked for in another city in the hope of working with them again.
They were interested, except one thing stood in her way – she could only work part-time. Despite having award winning flexible work policies, this accounting firm wouldn’t employ her, citing the role could not be done on a part-time basis.
Lisa (not her real name) is typical of the 24 people I interviewed as part of my research. These men and women had requested to move to part-time roles in legal, information technology, accounting and consulting firms, having previously worked full-time.
The roles for nearly half the participants I studied, and across all industries, had not been changed at all when moving to part-time. Performance targets and workload remained the same; only the pay had changed.
The employees had reduced their hours by getting rid of non-urgent tasks such as networking and meetings, and delegating work to team members.
In one case, a female employee had been told by her employer that she wasn’t meeting the same high performance ratings she had in her full-time role, despite achieving the same performance targets for less pay.
My research finds there are actually effective ways to change a full-time role into one that’s part-time. The size of an organisation, the industry, gender of employees or complexity of work have little bearing on this.
However businesses are not considering that these roles need to be redesigned in the first place and this causes problems in managing employees’ workloads and interacting with other employees.
The problems in redesigning roles as part-time
Even though it is possible to design a full-time role into a part-time role that works, there is little guidance on how to redesign. One of the places to start is reducing the number of people the employee interacts with, for example, the number of clients they look after, or the number of people who directly report to them.
Part-time roles become difficult if that employee is the only source of knowledge, contact or sign-off. For example if the employee is an IT manager who needs to be on call for clients for 37.5 hours a week, when typical part-time hours are less then 30 a week.
To redesign these roles, businesses can assign work to a team rather than individual, or team senior employees with junior employees. Employers can also provide systems to share knowledge rather than having one single point of expertise. I found that hospital pharmacists had a lot more flexibility in their roles because they use systems that allow them to share information effectively and quickly between colleagues.
Contrary to findings from other studies, deadlines are not necessarily problematic for part-time work. What is problematic is when tasks are both unpredictable and urgent.
One manager I interviewed said that urgent deadlines were often arbitrary and could be rescheduled. If there is urgent work to be done, employees can work in teams or the employer can renegotiate when part-time hours occur to suit the project deadlines.
The other challenge is that there is little incentive for organisations to reduce implicit work for part-time employees as it is often not measured and is done as unpaid overtime. Implicit work is work that is integral to a role, but not dealing directly with customers. It includes training, business development, travel, administration, staff management and team meetings.
While arguably an issue for all employees, implicit work becomes more problematic when working part-time. For example, an employee can’t do a fraction of a training course or only go away for a few hours of an interstate trip. To make all roles more manageable, particularly those working part-time, organisations should monitor and reduce implicit workloads.
Some of the businesses I studied also relied on the employees to make their part-time roles work, which resulted in minimal redesign of the role. Whereas other organisations weighed up what the employee wanted with the minimum requirements of the role.
This approach, where the employee and manager negotiated, meant the part-time arrangement worked better for both. Being clear on the “job absolutes” gave the part-time worker autonomy to adapt their work around other commitments.
Understanding how to redesign full-time roles to part-time helps debunk some of the myths that existed in some organisations. These myths included that program director and partnership roles could not be done part-time. My study found that part-time can be easier at more senior levels, because of the higher autonomy and less urgent, unpredictable work.
Having part-time roles available means more people can participate in the workforce. Given the economic benefits of this, and the increasing demand from younger and older workers for these sorts of roles, organisations will be left behind if they don’t accommodate well designed part-time arrangements.
Did you know that metaphor is more than a literary adornment? Metaphor is key to understanding the world, the meaning of life, and communicating with other people. Metaphorical language often goes unnoticed, yet we humans use metaphor in every day talk with one another, in what we read and write, and even in the way we gesture to say something.
For example, take the abstract concept time: “Time is money”, “Times are a changin”, “Times are tough”. Consider how often people use time in relation to a more concrete or physical experience, such as time in terms of space, distance, and movement: TIME AS AN OBJECT MOVING TOWARDS YOU. “The meeting was brought forward to Monday.”
Career as Metaphor
Indeed, the word ‘‘career’’ itself is a metaphor drawn from its origins of a course, a track, or a chariot. For example, people often use expressions that career is the lifelong path: CAREER IS A JOURNEY. It is difficult to talk about and think about career without using metaphors (e.g., career described as a ladder, an opening, a story).
ACCELL researchers, Allison Creed and Peter McIlveen, use a sample of personal stories told by university students to demonstrate a method for the identification and analysis of metaphoric language in everyday talk. In their paper, “Metaphor identification as a research method for the study of career”, published in the International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, they identified three metaphors used by the students to make sense of their careers and reasons for being at university: ACTIONS AND CONSTRUCTION, ENCOUNTERS AND RELATIONSHIPS, and AN OBJECT.
Creed and McIlveen believe the new research method demonstrated in their paper will prove itself as very useful. With respect to their study of students, the method has great potential for university educators, health practitioners, career counsellors, and marketers, who can use metaphors to better understand and communicate with students using metaphoric words, expressions, and images that are typically used by the students as a community. For example, university career counsellors may very well be able to use metaphoric language to better engage the students in their studies and plans for the future. Consider how much more impact university’s expensive campaigns and promotions would have if presented in the language of the students.
Narrative and Career Identity
This research into metaphor is part of ACCELL’s stream of research (and there’s a metaphor) focused on how narrative is used to create meaningful careers and work. The research team are currently exploring the use of metaphor in the language of “employability”, with promising results already on the way.
Imagine a hall filled by a selection of leading thinkers and doers, sharing ideas, challenges, professional practices, and national policies reflecting their nations’ aspirations for educational and labour market outcomes. They all met in Seoul at the 8th Symposium of International Centre for Career Development Public Policy (ICCDPP), hosted by the the Republic of Korea’s Department of Education and KRIVET. Evidently, career development is high on the agenda of many nations seeking to improve the employability of their citizens.
This ICCDPP 2017 coordinated the presentations and deliberations of 26 countries represented by Country Teams made of no less than 120 delegates. Their deliberations were planned into an action-packed agenda. This was no talk fest. Country Teams worked with one another and then crossed over into blended teams to formulate strategies and Action Plans for their respective countries.
Widening the Scope
Unemployment and underemployment are a scourge of international proportion that have devastating effects on health and well-being (Kossen & McIlveen, 2017). Knowing the destructive effects of the lack of decent work, the delegates described the usefulness of career development services for adults aiming to enter the labour market or transition from one job to another. Career development services are proven to be effective and necessary for youngsters making career decisions about their futures (Whiston, Li, Goodrich Mitts, & Wright, 2017). Preparing for their transitions from learning to earning is vital and their socio-economic prosperity and to a sustainable labour force. In all nations, there is a pressing need for policies and programs for transitions throughout the whole of life, from formal schooling to retirement.
ICCDPP Country Teams’ Action Plans
In the coming weeks, Countries Teams will share their Action Plans with fellow delegates and key stakeholders in their homelands. Their Action Plans will signal an international agreement emphasizing the benefits of career development services to individuals, their communities, and the productive industry sectors in which they work. Stay tuned for more updates.
The ICCDPP delegates were treated with extraordinary courtesy. The Korean hosts offered glorious hospitality and respect for peoples from other parts of the world. Hosts of the next symposium of the ICCDPP, the 9th, would do well to learn from Korea’s format and experiences.
The Key Messages
With such a diverse array of participants and topics from across the globe, it is necessary to condense the findings into a short and precise message: The Communique 2017
This year’s Communique captures several important themes. One theme close to ACCELL’s interests is employability. Read the Communique with your own nation in mind. Consider the issues, trends, and consider how employability intersects with these important dimensions of your industry.
Kossen, C., & McIlveen, P. (2017). Unemployment from the perspective of the psychology of working. Journal of Career Development, 0(0). doi: doi:10.1177/0894845317711043
Whiston, S. C., Li, Y., Goodrich Mitts, N., & Wright, L. (2017). Effectiveness of career choice interventions: A meta-analytic replication and extension. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 100, 175-184. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2017.03.010
The Round 1 A-GRADES questionnaire is now live and awaiting student and graduate participants from any degree or discipline both domestic or international. Access to the online A-GRADES questionnaire can be found here. It takes no more than 10 minutes to complete. Your participation is vital for the construction, validation, and production of this personal employability measure.
The projectA-GRADES (Australian Graduates Employability Scale) aims to create a career development tool specific to the Australian higher education context. Now under construction by the R&D team at ACCELL, A-GRADES is designed for students and graduates, university personnel (e.g., career practitioners, work-integrated learning specialists), and researchers across academic fields. The project is funded by Graduate Careers Australia as part of GCA’s Graduate Research Program.
A-GRADES Data Collection-Round 1
Cross area, pan-university collaboration is vital for the three sequential stages of national data collection beginning with the Round 1 questionnaire. This breadth will ensure that sampling accounts for age, discipline, gender, and other data that may be used to test for measurement invariance and assure normative representation where practicable. The project has received ethical clearance from the host institution, University of Southern Queensland.
A-GRADES is intended to assess personal qualities related to career self-management and employment. Aside from competency based appraisals of a graduates’ knowledge and skills, research demonstrates factors such as self-efficacy, proactivity, and adaptability influence employability of graduates and their chance of securing decent work–and this is where ACCELL is focused on making a difference. These characteristic adaptations that improve a person’s chances of working in a good job can be learned. For example, one of the most important factors is self-efficacy that is associated with well-defined job search strategies that target the “right job” not just “any job”. Professional career development practitioners know about these strategies and how to develop their clients’ self-efficacy. Our R&D will sharpen the tools for improving their effectiveness and positive impact.
A package of online training modules will be developed and delivered to nominated staff of universities and their Career Services. This training will ensure that the end-users (e.g., students and graduates) obtain optimal utility from A-GRADES (e.g., in career development interventions, coursework). Therefore, A-GRADES may be used within learning activities that develop students’ career management knowledge and skills, and their preparations for employment. A-GRADES will become a useful tool for Student Services’ personnel who are involved in students’ career development, work-integrated learning, and employment.
We will provide regular updates on the ACCELL website about the project A-GRADES and professional development opportunities. Access to the online A-GRADES questionnaire can be found here.
Please make contact with the project coordinator, Dr Allison Creed, if you need further information about the project and A-GRADES. Allison.Creed@usq.edu.au
Stories are universal. Cultures include stories; cultures are stories-incomplete stories, always evolving. Every person has a story; a person is a story-an incomplete story, always evolving. At their confluence, the stories of cultures manifest through individuals, and individuals express themselves through the stories of their cultures. As such, one is a story of the other, with each reflecting one another. Indeed, on this planet, there are seven billion stories and counting, incomplete and always evolving, as diverse as all the peoples on earth, yet, somehow humanely very similar to one another. How these many stories are told, heard, and created is very much the domain of counselling. Continue reading →
Career development interventions that are relevant, engaging, and accessible are better for supporting individuals’ progress toward their goals. Career development resources have been used for decades to support people to understand their career needs, explore available career opportunities, make career decisions, and assist career practitioners in build rapport with clients. Things have changed a bit. “Back in the day” career practitioners used encyclopedic books that listed occupations and their tasks, responsibilities, and qualifications (e.g., The Job Guide). With exponential change–automation, massification, globalization–we are now in a very different world and career development tools have suddenly gotten cool (in my opinion at least)!
Engaging Career Development Resources
Recently, I was privileged to present “Engaging Career Development Resources” workshop at the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) national conference. It was fantastic to see locals and delegates from interstate and overseas coming together to learn about practical, engaging career development resources that can be used with a diversity of clients in a constantly changing career landscape. In the workshop, I shared a list of Career Resources that can be used to support clients understand the plethora of opportunities and the necessary skills, qualifications, and experiences, they may need to meet their career potentials.
Youth unemployment is at an all time high, and so are change and innovation. It has never been more important to support the members of our various communities to develop their understandings of themselves, the changing world of work, and the opportunities for their futures. I hope you can make good use of these Career Resources to make a difference for your students and clients, and yourself.
Carolyn Alchin, Career Development Practitioner. twitter: @Careermumcaro
The Career Development Association of Australia brought four keynote speakers to its 2017 annual conference of members and industry bodies. Listen to brief interviews with Dr Ryan Duffy, Dr Ann Villiers, Dr Peter McIlveen, and Ms Marayke Jonkers, to learn more about their ideas for the field of career development.
Psychology of Working
ACCELL International Fellow, Dr Ryan Duffy, and ACCELL Research Director, Dr Peter McIlveen, emphasize issues associated with the psychology of working, decent work, unemployment, and evidence-based practice.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to CDAA Communications Officer, Georgia Kelly-Bakker, who recorded and produced the podcast.