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Designing a new career development course: The ultimate CPD professional development & practice

Thomson, Theresa; Colechin, Kate


Kate Colechin


areer development practitioners are so keen to develop others that they often neglect their own development needs. So what if you were given a project that became a never-ending CPD journey? That's what happened to Kate and myself, both career consultants at UWE Bristol. From an idea to a reality Armed with flipchart paper and coloured pens, a few of us met last year to discuss the idea of a new course in career development. One year on, after a lot of advice and support from Claire Johnson at the CDI and Nicki Moore at the University of Derby, we now have a newly-validated, CDI-approved, online postgraduate Certificate in Career Development, co-designed and co-led by professional services staff in Careers and Enterprise and academic staff in the Department of Education. Meeting the needs of contemporary career development work As module leaders, Kate and I were responsible for the content of the course, and we were aiming to design a course that was future-facing and met the needs of those who aspire to work in career development and to update those that already do so. Since Kate and I both trained several years ago, career development work has evolved and moved with the times. Nowadays we provide less 1:1 guidance and deliver more group teaching, often in the curriculum and often with large groups. We use technology more than ever to deliver career-related learning and career support to our students, and we needed to understand the role of enterprise when preparing our students to find their way in an ever-changing, technology-driven, globalised world. Therefore our challenge was to include content on how to best work with larger groups of learners, how to use technology both confidently and ethically, and also how to weave a golden thread of enterprise throughout the course content so that enterprise was integrated throughout. Collaborating and learning together As we developed the teaching material, this is when we truly found out what we were confident to teach, how to teach it and what we needed to learn. We rapidly found out that online learning has its own pedagogy and that we needed to ensure that our learners were supported carefully throughout their online learning journey. Understandably we experienced limits to our knowledge, which is when we sought expertise from across the university. Mhairi Threlfall, the Senior Enterprise Consultant for UWE provided expert knowledge, as well as an undying enthusiasm for raising the profile of enterprise education. For expertise in group learning and teaching, our collaboration with the Department of Education meant that we had access to teacher training experts. This deep collaboration not only enriched the course content and made it fit for purpose, but we found that we all learned from each other. Attracting more diversity to career development We need more career development practitioners in the UK. We need diversity in the sector and we need people who embrace new technology. We hope that the online career development course, open to individuals from different backgrounds, will potentially be one way of attracting people to the rewarding profession of career development. The course is available from September 2020 and we are now taking applications.


Thomson, T., & Colechin, K. (2020). Designing a new career development course: The ultimate CPD professional development & practice. Career Matters, 8(2), 31

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 12, 2020
Publication Date Apr 1, 2020
Deposit Date May 14, 2020
Journal Career Matters
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 31
Public URL