“ We would like all practitioners who are involved in delivering career guidance to feel that social justice is a key value that underpins their work ”

Tristam Hooley
Investigador y profesor de orientación profesional en la University of Derby (Reino Unido) y coautor del libro 'Career Guidance and Social Justice'

Tristam Hooley es catedrático de la University of Derby (Reino Unido) especializado en orientación. También es director de investigación de The Careers & Enterprise Company y cuenta con una larga trayectoria como investigador y autor de diversos libros sobre orientación profesional. Es coautor y editor del libro "Career Guidance for Social Justice", en el que también han colaborado los investigadores Rie Thomsen y Ronald G. Sultana, expertos en el tema. En los últimos años, Hooley, Thomsen y Sultana han trabajado conjuntamente para proponer políticas sobre orientación profesional que puedan convertir en una fuerza positiva para cambiar la sociedad.

Esta entrevista se ha realizado en inglés y se ha respetado su idioma original. Si quieres traducirla puede utilizar herramientas web como ésta.

How can career guidance help citizens to conceive their own life and professional project as part of a whole, including the benefit of the whole society?
Career guidance is about helping people to think about their futures. Of course, working life is an important part of this, but it isn't everything. When we make choices about our careers, we are making choices that will have implications for our work, our learning, our families and our communities. Career guidance should be about helping people to think about these different opportunities and making choices about what to do about them.
In the past, career guidance has often been accused of being very individualistic and encouraging people to think about themselves. But there is no reason why this must be the case. People live and thrive in communities, careers are pursued alongside others in organisations and all our happiness is dependent on us living in well-functioning societies. It isn't possible to extract the individual from society, so when we are talking about career, we are really talking about how we can all live together in society whilst we try and get what we individually aspire to. Career guidance must help people to try and navigate these issues.  
What specific changes should be applied in academic and career guidance to develop interventions that contribute to social justice?
We would like all practitioners who are involved in delivering career guidance to feel that social justice is a key value that underpins their work. To help people to think about what this means in practice we have proposed five signposts that can help to take people towards socially just forms of practice.
Firstly, we argue that career guidance needs to build individuals' critical consciousness and encourage them to think deeply about the world that they live in and how it works.
Secondly, we argue that we should be helping our students and clients to name oppression where they see it. Next, we would like to help people to problematise the norms, assumptions and power relations that they experience while they are building their careers. This is about helping people to see that the way that things are today, is not the way that they always need to be.

Fourthly, we want to help people by building solidarity and collective action. Linking people to other who have similar issues and problems to them will employer them and open opportunities that will help them to develop their career. Finally, we must work at a range of levels from the individual to the global. This means that we need to simultaneously be helping people to find a job when they have been made redundant, but also helping them to organize politically to challenge the causes of unemployment.
"When we make choices about our careers, we are making choices that will have implications for our work, our learning, our families and our communities".
Which factors generate social disparities in the educational and professional trajectory of people?
There is a lot of research that investigates how various aspects of your identity, position in society and background will impact on your chance of career success. Exactly what these are will vary from society to society, but factors like wealth, educational level, gender, race and religion are often used to structure power and access to opportunities. In most cases these issues are magnified where people have more than one characteristic (inter-sectionality). How your career develops is not just an outcome of your personality, but of how other people treat you and how the society in which you live is structure. This point makes the moral case for a lot of the social justice work that we are doing.
What good practices related to career guidance do you know that contribute to social justice?
I've already talked about our ‘five signposts to emancipatory career guidance'. We hope that this can act as a framework for the development of more socially just practices. But we've built these signposts up through talking to people about practices that they've been undertaking in various countries across the world. Sometimes this could be as simple as asking different questions in a careers interview, e.g. ‘who can help you?' and ‘is there anyone you could work with on this?' In other cases, it might be about designing career education in different ways that encourage critical reflection on the world, e.g. changing a module about the labour market to include material about inequality, precarity and the role of trade unions. What is likely to make sense will vary in different contexts, but it is always likely to involve a mixture of education, advice, empowerment and advocacy.
What changes in educational policies should be made to facilitate equal opportunities and achieve greater social justice?
Again, this is likely to vary depending on your context. We would like to see more policies that support equality of access to education, but also which mitigate income disparities and provide opportunities for everyone to access decent work and the good life. Education policy has an important role to play in this, but it can't do it alone. So, you need good joined up policy making between education, employment, social support, immigration and so on. This is challenging for governments, but it is also important as public policy provides a critically important infrastructure for individual's careers.
Please, suggest three practical tips you would give to guidance professionals to direct their interventions towards social justice
  1. When you are listening to the stories that people tell you, help them to think about their context and to understand that their story is part of a bigger story about organisations, politics and the economy.
  2. Encourage people to be optimistic and to feel that there is always something that they can do to change the situation that they are in. But, be careful not to make them feel that if things don't work out it is their fault.
  3. Help people to find a way to link up with others. Networks and communities are a huge resource for people's career development.

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