Assisting Clients Meeting the Costs of Career Development Practitioners


Dr Peter Carey (FCDAA Life) is the Director of Learning and Development Consulting Services and currently undertaking further Doctoral research studies into the present constraints and possibilities for the future of learning, exploring possible scenarios of schooling. Peter is a past national president of CDAA.

There is a need to assist clients meet the costs of career development practitioners.

Career development services can play an important role in helping to improve labour supply, address skill shortages, and raise the level and quality of human capital.

Labour Supply and Skills Shortages

The former Australian Government developed a range of strategies to solve industry and regional skill shortages. This included enlisting community support to help young Australians find satisfying and productive career opportunities. But to fully address these shortages, people need assistance moving from over-supplied jobs to those that are under-supplied. Career development practitioners could be of enormous benefit in this regard.

Meanwhile, employers are facing challenges associated with the ageing workforce and unfortunately very few are prepared, with potentially grim consequences. There will be a substantial number of people over 55 years of age, and a significant number of employees in there 70s, 80s, and 90s. Employers must understand the role they play in helping to develop a talented workforce.

Human Capital

In a tight labour market where skill shortages are acute, the knowledge gained through human capital measurement provides organisations with vital information to help them develop innovative people strategies. Unfortunately, many organisations do not see human capital measurement as a priority for their business. 

But employers need to develop a model to value and benchmark the change in human capital. People continue to work for their personal values and a desire to be productive. But there is more to the picture than this. A growing number of older people enjoy working and making a difference.

They have opportunities to serve as coaches, mentors, and role models, which could be very satisfying for them. Many other older workers may be happy to work one or two days a week. Other third age workers may continue to report for duty because they need the security that their employer’s provide. Employers should work in collaboration with career development practitioners in assisting these employees.

The National Federation Reform Council (Formally COAG) agreed that the new national reform agenda should focus on enhancing productivity and participation, with human capital as a key component. The priority areas of human capital reform being health, education and training, and work incentives.

Career development is essential to human capital development in supporting young people prior to entering the labour market, plus employed workers, and adults in and out of the labour market and between jobs. Therefore, high-quality career development services need to be made available to all people throughout their active lives.

But organisations as diverse as business, government, education providers and community organisations, need to work together in partnership to help all people. The Australian Government needs to establish effective mechanisms for this collaboration. 

I propose a number of possible recommendations:

  • Change to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) tax ruling TR 98/92 to allow, “career check-up” to be a tax deduction. At present if a client sees a career development practitioner to better his existing position then it is an “allowable allowance” but if a client sees a practitioners to assist them get a new job, to assist them change employment or help clients with manage their career, it is not an allowable tax deduction. 1 1 TR 98/9 - Income tax: deductibility of self-education expenses 
  • Medicare refund for employees seeking advice from a qualified career development practitioner (a Professional member of a CICA member Association). This might include career counselling and coaching. 
  • Centrelink could provide unemployed clients a means tested allowance (e.g., $1,000 per year) to seek career development help from “registered providers” (qualified career development practitioners). 
  • Health Fund providers could allow members to claim against the “living well program” allowance. At present health funds provide up to $200 a year (some $500) for “living well programs”. Members could be allowed to seek career development advice and include visits to a qualified career development practitioner as a claim on their health fund.