Mika Launikari


We all have a role in developing the employability skills of our young

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The annual conference of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG) was organized in Quebec, Canada, on 4-6 June 2014. The overall conference theme At the intersection of personal, community and work life realities invited scholars and experts to explore guidance and career development from the perspectives of individual, collective and working life as well as to examine the needs, insights and aspirations that may arise and find their source at this crossroads. All in all, some 1200 participants from 33 countries attended this well-organised and professionally enriching event.

I myself was involved in a Finnish team of five presenters at the conference. Jointly we hosted a 90-minute symposium on Career management and employability skills in higher education, where the aim was to showcase the work carried out in Finland on developing career counselling to increase students’ employability during their studies. A lively discussion followed the five presentations, and the audience with experts from Canada, Saudi Arabia, France, Norway, etc., was keen on knowing, among other things, more about the situation of the youth in the Finnish labour market, methods applied to support students’ working life familiarization in Finland, national curricula and how career management skills are embedded in them. The synthesizing conclusion of the symposium could be phrased as “We all have a role in developing the skills and employability of our young”.

My contribution to the above symposium was to briefly present the theoretical framework of my doctoral research on International mobility capital that I have initiated earlier this year. The objective of the research is to explore how working abroad contributes to an individual’s professional development, career management and future employability. The intention is to explore these dimensions from the perspectives of life design (a new career construction theory), identity formation (theories of psychology and sociology) as well as intellectual capital (economic and organizational theories).

The conference served my information needs well as the plenary sessions and workshops explicitly addressed several themes closely linked to my own doctoral research. But as always, the most rewarding thing at the conference was to make new contacts with experts from different countries and hopefully find a way to cooperate with them in the coming months and years.

For those interested: The next IAEVG conference will be held in Japan on 18-21 September 2015.