I just came away from a very interesting time at Cannexus 15 – a national career development conference held at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa, sponsored by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) and the Counselling Foundation of Canada.
I was on a panel that was looking at the specific issues and challenges that employment counsellors encounter when dealing with artists and cultural workers.….hence CHRC’s connection to what might have appeared as an unlikely gathering.
Our attention was drawn to Cannexus 15 because their main sponsor, the Counselling Foundation, is a generous supporter of our project to develop an aboriginal version of The Art of Managing Your Career (see January e-newsletter). CRHC offered to take part in the panel on the cultural sector, with The Art of Managing Your Career and Careers in Culture in mind, as important guides on career progression.
It was new for me to speak to a room of counselling professionals/employment specialists including psychologists and people in the education system. I was delighted by the response.
First, of course, came the stories of people whose family members are artists – and could use help and encouragement in their career paths. And stories of people whose creative side is lying dormant as they follow their other career path. But the discussion then focussed on the challenges and issues that they as career counsellors are dealing with when their clients are artists and cultural workers.
In its work in this area over 2 decades, CHRC is “out in front” in terms of understanding the special career issues facing people in the cultural sector. One of the biggest challenges is self-employment. Hence The Art of Managing Your Career and its related discipline enhancements and teacher/trainer guides which have been “best sellers” for over a decade. Our many competency charts and profiles are equally valuable tools for career counsellors, helping to guide emerging and practising artists and cultural workers towards training and preparation for work in the cultural industries. The Careers in Culture booklets and web sites of course offer invaluable advice on employment in each cultural sub-sector (including advice on networking which is key to career success as a self-employed artist or cultural worker). And we have developed course content and workshops to advance careers as an artist – for example in export marketing.
Employment specialists/career counsellors across the country are encountering artists and cultural workers seeking career advice in a fast moving, competitive, yet rich-with–opportunities environment. They are looking for ways to respond to their specific challenges. They are looking for solutions.
CHRC fits right in.