The article covers the problem of the support of career development needs of adults which can be implemented on the base of andragogical approach. According to the modern interpretation of career phenomenon goals and some content issues of career education programs for adults are being identified.
Rapid changes in economic realities and labor markets all over the world, shifting labor force demographics, adult unemployment, concerns about the quality of life redefined the problems of adaptation of an individual to these changes. Such pressures have increased the degree of personal responsibility to express own potential, abilities and personal values in career development. These contexts identified the rising demand for an individual to be assisted in career planning and development, self-development in acquiring social adjustment skills as well as decision-making skills.
It has become obvious that theorists, researchers and practisioners in adult education have to pay more attention to career development processes of adult learners and to blend adult learning theory and career development theories in career education programs. Career education programs can help adults in viewing career development as a learning process as well as such programs can equip adults with lifelong survival skills in the field of career planning and development. Conceptual models and models of practice in career development are vital for adult education specialists in Russia and for international adult education specialists.
For adult education specialists in career development it is very important to have an understanding of what is «a career» to identify boundaries of domain, time and space within which their work activities and prerogatives occur. Key definition of «a career» that the author of this article formulates allows to show the philosophical approach to it and at the same time it can be translated to a more operational level. Our approach to career gives the understanding of this phenomenon as a life-span path where occupational choices and professional activities are integrated with other social roles of an individual in coherence with psychological characteristics, values and social experience of an individual, leading to self-development and self-fulfillment. Andragogical approach to career embraces the idea of self-development over the life span through the sequence of occupations and other life – roles. Thus, career development can be viewed as an integrated learning process throughout a lifetime when an individual acquires new knowledge and skills to function in work-related and other life roles successfully.
As far as we deal with career education it is obvious that one group fo professionals cannot accomplish all its goals alone. But it is apparent that no other group of specialists is more important to its goals than andragogues. An andragogue is competent in psychology of adults, psychology, theory and technology of adult learning. An andragogue has such qualities indispensable for the work among adults as empathy, tolerance, communicability, discretion, organizational abilities. Adult education specialist realizes that adult learners are self-directed, proceed from the base of previous experience, interested in solving career development problems. Adults want to acquire and to develop skills, knowledge, competencies in the field of career development to be engaged actively in labor market and in other social spheres.
Career education programs for adults provide a focus on real-life career development needs and help to identify and acquire new or expanded competencies they need to carry out new or changing roles on their careers. An andragogue helps adults to understand career development as a lifelong learning process. The practice of lifelong education gives the chance to an individual to receive blocks of competencies (including career development field) every time he or she needs them. New information technologies and socio-economic realities in modern societies give an individual different possibilities to get competencies, knowledge, skills throughout the life span. An andragogue delivers different blocks of competencies, skills and knowledge in accordance with the fundamentals of andragogy: preponderance of the self-directed learning, principle of the cooperative activities, experimental learning, individualization of learning, systemic learning, contextual learning, principle of the development of educational needs, consciousness of learning.
Participating in a career education program an adult can apply new knowledge and treat career development problems, act on a variety of career related tasks. Thus, we can identify important goals for career education programs:
1. Career education programs need to move from a focus on jobs and on occupational choice and to focus on life patterns, on the larger sphere of life and the interrelation of the vocational and personal;
2. Career education programs are to help make adults aware of their socialization within their career development;
3. Career education programs need to prepare adults for the life style choices;
4. Career education programs need to help adults achieve role integration in rapidly changing societies.
Adult education specialist must provide a systematic approach based on the technology of adult learning in delivering new information about different career development issues through which one gets better self understanding, understanding of own perspectives in labor markets, expanded view of education that influences not only the work role but other life roles as well. The andragogical approach in delivering career education programs helps an individual to integrate his or her previous knowledge and experience with the new knowledge in the field of career development and to reach integrated understandings of: self, the changing world of work, the role of leisure time, the necessity of self-fulfillment in all life roles, personal happiness.
In this way we see that career development issues are increasingly becoming more existential and career education programs will tend to become more conceptually based. Indeed, career education programs concentrate on assisting persons to become aware of their self-characteristics ( such as aptitude, values, interests), their career opportunities ( such as occupational alternatives, educational options) and the bringing together of self- and career opportunities into a plan for action. In essence, career education programs for adults must be designed to help persons become more purposeful, goal directed, capable of self-management in work roles and other life roles. The following themes can serve as the content of career education programs for adults:
a) decision-making development, using information to make different choices;
b) concern for the self-concept and its expression;
c) concern for life styles, values, leisure (education, leisure, occupation interact to create or influence a life style);
d) free choice to safeguard individual integrity;
e) individual differences;
f) flexibility in coping with change.
In connection with the themes that can become the content of career education programs for adults, it is possible to identify the adaptability skills to be imparted through career education programs for adults: career decision-making skills, skills required for self-understanding and understanding of educational/occupational opportunities, skills to humanize the workplace, skills to find meaningful work and productive use of leisure time.
The andragogical approach to career development is an integrated one which embraces different aspects of human life. This approach makes possible to present a variety of themes for career education programs. Career education field is of great interest to andragogy and requires contribution and practical implementation. We do believe that andragogy will be more focused on career development issues and the trend of career education within andragogy has a great potential in the current century.