Counsellor Practices and Student Perspectives’ Perceptions of Career Counselling in Australian Secondary Schools (Survey)

The voices of secondary school students describing their experiences of school-based career counselling services are reported and discussed. Arising from the students’ narratives and school-based career counsellors’ descriptions of their services, a continuum of service delivery is conceptualised that highlights features of career service delivery models valued by students. Consistent with international research, the valued school career counsellors were those reported by students to spend the majority of their time with individuals and small groups. Increasing focus by both state and federal governments in Australia on the post school outcomes of students has resulted in a range of developments and policies. These have been aimed at attracting and retaining students in educational settings and equipping them to make choices about their future career and education. The Queensland Certificate of Education (Queensland Studies Authority, 2006) and the Youth Participation in Education and Training Act 2003 (Education Queensland, 2003) are examples of state initiatives targeting young people in their final years of secondary study that structure planning for study and post-school options within a specific and prescriptive framework. The Australian federal government’s Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) is actively involved in research into, and the shaping of, careers education in schools. It is involved in running pilot programs on a range of career planning and career education related approaches (see for example, the Partnership Education Outreach Model (PEOM) (DEST, 2004) and the Australian Blueprint for Career Development (Haines, Scott & Lincoln, 2003)). A logical outcome of current school based initiatives is an increase in demand for the services of people identified within schools as careers counsellors, guidance officers, careers practitioners, careers co-ordinators or careers educators.

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