The Careers Advisers Association of NSW & ACT Incorporated ("CAA") was officially established on 30 June 1975. A group of Careers Advisers got together for a NSW State-wide Conference in December 1974 and decided to establish a professional body for NSW high school Careers Advisers. A working group was formed, and a Constitution was finalised and presented to the group on 28 June 1975, with incorporation following a couple of days later. The person instrumental to this process is Margaret Gambley, who was a founding member and long-standing Committee Member. Margaret is a life member of CAA and attends the Annual Conference every year to present an award in her name.
When the Association was established in 1975, it commenced with just a handful of members. It has steadily grown in numbers over the years and achieved a milestone in 2013 with a record total of 710 members. Since 2010, the Association has achieved record membership numbers every year and currently has over 900 members.
The Association’s Annual Conference is the major activity for Careers Advisers and has been an important and significant part of the Association’s history since it was established. The Annual Conference has been held every year since the Association was established with 2020 marking the 45th Annual Conference.
Another significant annual event of the Association is the New Careers Advisers Day. This event was historically held bi-annually with around 20 to 35 attendees. Due to significantly increased demand, the Association commenced holding this event annually. It has remained as an annual event since 2012, and has continued to achieve record attendance numbers.
In 2017, the Association held its inaugural Tertiary Update Day. This initiative resulted from the culmination of years of feedback from members and tertiary providers. A relatively small venue was booked initially but this had to be changed due to the burgeoning nature of registrations that were capped at 250. Feedback from the day was extremely positive and the Association has committed to holding this event annually, going forward. In 2018, over 300 registrations were received for this event, and the Association was successful in achieving NESA accreditation for this event.
In 2015, the Association was successful in securing NSW Education Standards Authority (“NESA”) accreditation for both the New Careers Advisers Day and the Annual Conference. This accreditation of the Association’s core Professional Development days has been maintained ever since.
In 2020, CAA became a NESA Endorsed Provider of Professional Development, a significant milestone for the Association.
The Association has also authored two important documents for members and Schools, the ‘Framework for Career Education & Role of a Careers Adviser’ and the ‘New Careers Advisers Guide’.
The Framework for Career Education and Role of a Careers Adviser is an eighteen-page document that has evolved over the years in consultation with members, the NSW Department of Education and Training and the ACT Department of Education and Training. As the Association represents Careers Advisers in Government, Catholic and Independent High Schools in both New South Wales and the ACT, this document is cross-sectoral. It is a comprehensive document with information on: the regulatory bodies; professional standards; Career Education programs; guidelines for Careers programming and the role of a Careers Adviser.
The New Careers Advisers Guide is a thirty-page document detailing: Career Education programs; information on engaging with school communities and parents; interviewing students; networking and resources. Significant time is dedicated to the updating of both of these documents on an annual basis to ensure that they remain current and relevant for members.
The Association’s Journal, ‘Prospects’, was first produced by the Association in its first year of operation in 1976. When first introduced, the Journal was typed on a typewriter, copied and posted to members and it resembled somewhat of a newsletter in the early days. It evolved into a magazine type publication with a cover and artwork. The first magazine edition was produced in 1989. The Association ran a competition to allow students, from membership schools, to submit a cover design. This resulted in some very professional designs which were used in the early days of the magazine.
There were commonly four editions produced each year, one in each term of school. In more recent years this has been reduced to two editions, one per semester, with a third Christmas edition often rounding out the year. In early years these magazines served a vital communication function. With the advent of email distribution information by the association this function has become less essential. The reduction of ‘Prospects’ published each year has resulted from the relaxed need for a bulletin style publication. Our journal has emerged as a celebration of the Professional Development and Activities, of membership, across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
Historically, these journals were formally registered with Australia Post when they were mailed and a copy of each edition was lodged with the State Library of New South Wales. This practice continued until 2012, at which point a decision was made to introduce an online, interactive Journal which had the capability to include audio and video files. ‘Prospects’ now includes active hyperlinks to websites, email addresses and other online electronic functionality.
The process to move away from a printed edition to an electronic one was time consuming, and the Association took almost half a year to evaluate several designers of electronic magazines. The Association was conscious that the Journal was such an important part of the communication strategy and history of the Association that the transition needed to be seamless and the result impressive, valuable and worthwhile for members.
The first electronic Journal was distributed in 2012 and was welcomed by members with exceptional feedback received by the Association. The ability to include video files, audio files, website URL’s, hyperlinked email addresses and phone numbers, automatically linked to Skype, opened up a whole new dimension for the content of the Journal. The Association now had the functionality to distribute in a professional manner, things such as: audio recordings of the presentations of Conference speakers; videos taken at professional development days; files and other material to be downloaded from the Journal straight to the computers of members. It proved to be a time consuming but worthwhile process for the Association, which preserved the importance and significance of the Journal.
The Association Journal has been an important pathway for members to have their own research published, as well as ideas and resources to be shared with each other. It has become an important communication tool with members since its inception back in 1976.
Although the printing of the Journal ceased in 2012, the Association did print and distribute its special 40th Anniversary edition which was a collection of articles on the history of the Association and somewhat of a memento for members, a lot of whom are long term members of the Association
The Association has two permanent, ongoing affiliations with the Professional Teachers Council and the Career Industry Council of Australia. The Association has always had strong connections and involvement with both of these organisations both on the Board and as members. These reciprocal relationships are important and integral to remaining up-to-date and having a voice at both Federal and State levels on matters which affect members of the Association.
The Association has represented its members both on the Board and as a member of the Career Industry Council of Australia (“CICA”) since CICA was established in 2000. The Association has had an Executive Committee member on the CICA Board for a significant amount of that time, including holding the position of President of CICA.
The Association, through CICA, was instrumental in the development of the Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners (“Professional Standards”), a process which commenced in August 2004 and culminated in the implementation of the Standards on 1 January 2012. The publication of the Professional Standards represented a landmark in the history of Australian career development and a benchmark for career development practitioners and the Professional Standards are supported by the Australian Government.