The effect of life-design counselling on the career adaptability of learners in an independent school setting

by Claire Symington

Institution: University of Pretoria
Year: 2015
Keywords: Narrative career counselling; Life-design; Career adaptability; UCTD; Adolescents; Group-based intervention
Record ID: 1475739
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2263/44251


The future work force will be expected to transition from the familiarity of their school environment into an unfamiliar and unstable career world. Organisational changes have shifted the terms of employment from an employee practicing a life-long vocation to now becoming part of a contingent work force. This infers that employees may have to forfeit their reliance on the company to shape their identity development in lieu of self-management. The acknowledgement of these changes has created a ripple effect in the career counselling field as career practitioners increasingly begin to experience the limitations of traditional career approaches in addressing their clients’ evolving career needs. Subsequently, a post-modern framework to career counselling has been introduced to guide career counselling practices in the 21st century. My study focused on the use of two such approaches, namely life-design counselling and career adaptability. This study was based on a socio-constructivist paradigm, which had developed from an interpretivist worldview. The nature of my research study lent itself well to a collective case study, which involved the participation of five learners from an independent school context in a major South African city. Qualitative data collection, analysis and interpretation techniques were used to explore the effect of life-design counselling on the career adaptability of the afore-mentioned participants. Prior to attending eight group-based life-design counselling sessions, the participants were asked to attend an individual pre-interview. They were also asked to participate in a post-interview upon completion of the last-mentioned sessions. The identified themes generated from the qualitative data collected were as follows: responses related to career adaptability and the related sub-skills based on the Career Adapt-Abilities Scale (CAAS) (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012:357); family/significant others’ influences; financial and economic considerations; components related to emotional intelligence (Bar-On, 2007); adolescent development; school life; childhood dreams, and reflection on the process of life-design counselling. Findings suggest that the participants from my study appeared to benefit from the implementation of a life-design counselling intervention aimed at improving their career adaptability. With this study I aimed to contribute to the field of career counselling by highlighting the specific factors that were likely to influence the career trajectory of the five participants and to demonstrate the positive effect of life-design counselling on their career adaptability. Recommendations have also been made for further research and practice.