AGCAS and the Careers Profession Alliance (CPA)
AGCAS considers it essential that individuals have access to high-quality careers and employability education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) when they need it: while at school, college or university; studying full time, part time or not at all; and whether in employment or not. We also believe that the wider national interest is furthered by careers professionals working closely together. Whenever possible, the profession should speak with one voice.
In the beginning
For this reason, AGCAS was involved with the Careers Profession Alliance (CPA) from its inception in 2010. It was recognised at the time that it would be a challenge to set up an umbrella body to replace separate membership organisations, each with its own strategic priorities, history, structure and culture. Common ground clearly existed but, equally, there were important differences between the various associations in the sector. As the voice of higher education careers and employability professionals, AGCAS had to consider how the particular needs of its members and those they serve continued to be met. We discussed with the other associations both the areas of common ground and the differences and issues arising from them. We also consulted AGCAS members.
Serving all members
Unlike some other careers organisations, AGCAS is not just a membership organisation for individuals; it is, first of all, an association of matrix-accredited HE careers and employability services, which are closely aligned to their institutional agendas, including those concerning employability, the student experience and international, national and regional positioning.
Neither does AGCAS represent only individual guidance practitioners; it serves professionals from across and beyond HE, who work in many different careers and employability-related roles and who develop, manage and deliver a wide range of services to HE students, graduates, academics, other professionals and institutions. The four organisations (ICG, ACEG, NAEGA and ACPI) who currently constitute the CPA comprise individuals who deliver careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG). The priority of the AGCAS Board had to be to ensure that all of its members' diverse needs would be fully met.
Another challenge was the determination of some CPA members to move very rapidly towards a single organisation, the proposed CDI (Career Development Institute). This would have had major implications for AGCAS, its staff and its work for both services and individual AGCAS members. In addition, there were (and remain) considerable legal and financial barriers to dissolving AGCAS, the company and charity, which would have been necessary in order to become part of the proposed single body.
For all of these reasons, AGCAS announced in October 2011 that it would not proceed towards full integration. A number of other organisations withdrew at around the same time.
AGCAS President, Anne-Marie Martin, said at the time:
"The changing nature of higher education careers services and the drive to increase the employability of students and graduates mean that AGCAS, on behalf of its members, must continue to focus on a broader range of agendas than CPA currently addresses.
We wish the CPA all the best with its work to develop a common framework for guidance services and we intend to keep lines of communication open."
Since then, the AGCAS Board has continued to communicate with CPA. AGCAS has, for example, been fully supportive of the CPA proposal to establish a register of career development professionals. We shared with it work that we had previously carried out towards a proposed AGCAS register of practitioners, and we have ensured that AGCAS qualifications will be recognised for admission to the CPA register, for which AGCAS members will be eligible to apply from January 2013. (Individuals who are members of one of the four current CPA member organisations are eligible to apply now.) We will also be revisiting proposals for an AGCAS professional register and how, in the future, it might align with that of the CPA. Indeed, we will keep under review both our relationship with the CPA and the possibility of a more formal involvement in the proposed CDI.
In the meantime, AGCAS continues to be the voice of HE careers and employability professionals. It is regularly consulted by and makes its members' views known to government, HE, employer, student and other stakeholder organisations. We are represented on many key advisory groups and committees and we will continue to work closely with other careers and employability organisations, both internationally and in the UK, including the CPA/proposed CDI.
AGCAS members who are signed into the AGCAS website can leave comments below or contact Chris Jackson about any aspect of the above. Chris will pass your comments as appropriate to members of the AGCAS Board.
Created on: 03 May 2012
Last updated: 04 May 2012