A new online competition, CERIC’s National Challenge to Promote Career Development will open for entries on August 12 with prizes of $5,000 for each of the top three ideas that enhance and promote the image of career development and its professionals in Canada as voted on by the career development community.

In recognition of CERIC’s 10th anniversary in 2014, The Counselling Foundation of Canada has provided a grant to create the National Challenge. The competition aims to surface imaginative and resourceful strategies and foster a national dialogue that will help Canadians to recognize that career development matters to them and has a huge benefit to our country.

Proposals will be submitted at www.ceric.ca/nationalchallenge and be open for comment and revision until the end of the entry period. A panel of judges will shortlist up to 10 finalists based on their innovation, practicality and potential impact. The career development community will then vote online for their top choices. Cash prizes of $5,000 will be awarded in addition to Cannexus14 registrations for the three entries that receive the most votes. Winners will be recognized at the Cannexus conference in January 2014.

Key dates for the National Challenge are:

  • Entry Period: August 12, 2013 to October 11, 2013
  • Judges Assessment Period: October 12, 2013 to October 25, 2013
  • Finalists Announced: November 4, 2013
  • Online Voting Period: November 4, 2013 to November 29, 2013
  • Winning Entries Announced: January 6, 2014

The results of successive national surveys commissioned by CERIC about how Canadians approach their own career development showed that career development, its professionals and their rich contribution to the nation are greatly undervalued. There is a serious disconnect between the quality of career development services available in Canada and their usage.

The 2010 Environics survey found that co-workers and associates are Canadians’ top choice for information and guidance about their careers. A majority of Canadians see the value of a professional career counselling program, but fewer are certain they would use it. In response to the question of the importance of access to professional career counselling programs, nearly 30% saw it as very valuable, while just over half said valuable. Yet, only less than one-fifth said they were very certain they would use them and just over a third somewhat certain.

In an earlier Ipsos Reid survey, about two-thirds of respondents said that if they were to start all over again, they would get more career planning or job information. Yet, less than 10% of respondents sought assistance in making career plans over the past year, while of those who did close to three quarters said it was useful. Looking back, approximately four in 10 adult Canadians agree that they regret not taking advantage of career counselling/development services.

This online competition is designed to address such perception gaps. It builds on CERIC’s ongoing efforts to raise the profile and value of the career development field, including its “Career Development Matters – Ask Me Why” t-shirts and discussion forum as well as its Canada’s Career Imperative: How Do We Fix the Talent “Disconnect Dilemma roundtables that CERIC recently launched.