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Our Journal’s first issue of volume thirteen contains four very different contributions. The first contribution describes the career development of foreign trained immigrants form regulated professions in Canada. The second contribution presents an empirical study on a very large Korean sample about career preparedness and the social and personal factors that might have an impact on this preparedness. The third study is ambitious and investigated the effects of career education and guidance on career identity development, motivation, and quality of choice, among adolescents from the Netherlands. The last contribution, also conducted in Canada, analyzes the social barriers that immigrant undergraduates have to face and the resources they may activate to do so.
In the first contribution, “Career development of foreign trained immigrants from regulated professions,” Lydia Novak and Charles P. Chen described internal and external barriers that have a negative impact on the career development of this specific population. One consequence of their migration is that they are not allowed to practice their profession for several years. This has an obvious impact on immigrants’ professional identity, which is an important part of people’s self-concept. Immigrants have also to adapt to a new social, institutional, and cultural environment and sometimes to learn a new language. Language barriers are known for increasing the number of acculturation difficulties (see also Sinacore and Lerner, this issue). Immigrants from regulated professions face a licensing process, which may be complicated in some cases. According to the authors, integration into the host culture may be easier if these immigrants could benefit from interventions that increase their self-efficacy and address acculturation issues, from a preparation before arrival to local support, once in place. Immigrants have to face important changes and challenges and counselors, therefore, have to be especially sensitive to their specific needs.
Following an article about the development of Korean adolescents’ occupational aspirations in our last issue (Lee and Rojewski 2012), In Heok Lee, Jay W. Rojewski, and Roger B. Hill have authored a second contribution in this issue, “Classifying Korean adolescents’ career preparedness.” Using a latent class analysis, they described three groups of adolescents: prepared, confused, and unprepared. About two-thirds of the studied population belonged to the prepared class. The confused class included 27 % and the unprepared class included 5 % of the population. Fortunately, adolescents who are totally unprepared for career decision-making are rather rare. Several factors predicting career preparedness were identified: Career counseling and some individual, familial, social factors have an impact on this preparedness. Moreover, the authors suggested that trying to stimulate parental guidance in their child’s career planning could have a positive impact in terms of adolescent preparedness.
In the third article, “The relationship between career competencies, career identity, motivation, and quality of choice,” Frans Meijers, Marinka Kuijpers, and Chad Gundy presented the effects of career education and guidance interventions in prevocational and secondary vocational education in the Netherlands. A large sample of students aged 12–19 years participated. The authors confirmed that career competencies are positively related to career identity. This suggests that all career interventions that develop these competencies, such as career decision-making skills, might have positive career-related outcomes. Moreover, this study confirmed that career dialogue contributes to the development of people’s career identity. Career dialogue might thus induce a process of self-construction or self-reconstruction.
In the last contribution, “The cultural and educational transitioning of first generation immigrant undergraduate students in Quebec, Canada,” Ada L. Sinacore and Sasha Lerner researched the various institutional, societal, educational, and psychosocial barriers facing this population of students using a phenomenological approach. Immigrants perceived the multilingual cultural context as a difficulty. Many participants reported facing discrimination, which obviously represents a barrier to transitioning into Canadian society. Other difficulties students encountered in seeking help and belonging were the newness of the educational system and holding an ambiguous status, neither being Canadian nor international students. Family support, career services, and social support were perceived as very important resources, even if career services might need to be slightly adapted for taking into account the particular needs of this population of immigrant undergraduate students.
This issue contains contributions from authors from three continents, using a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. In this issue qualitative studies are well represented and of quality, and we hope this contributes to increasing the place of this type of research in our field (cf., Stead, Perry, Munka, Bonnett, Shiban, and Care 2012). All studies mentioned valuable implications for practice, being very vigilant to the cultural background of the counselee, trying to activate social support resources (family, peers, friends, etc.), helping clients to overcome the barriers they are facing (access to information might be crucial for numerous counselees), and stimulating career dialogue. We hope that you will find a number of new and interesting insights in this issue and that it will contribute to your own professional development. We wish you pleasant reading in the hopes that this issue will stimulate your own thoughts and lead to other contributions to our Journal.
- Stead, G. B., Perry, J. C., Munka, L. M., Bonnett, H. R., Shiban, A. P., & Care, E. (2012). Qualitative research in career development: Content analysis from 1990 to 2009. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 12, 105–122. doi: 10.1007/s10775-011-9196-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar