On February 13, 2023, Challenge Factory’s president, Lisa Taylor, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs as an expert witness.
The Committee is conducting a consultation process to inform the National Strategy for Veterans Employment After Service, and we knew it would be important for us to bring the field of career development to their attention.
Career development work can be complicated. Setting policy related to careers, jobs, and employment touches on so many other areas and disciplines—including labour market economics, mental health and well-being, and education—as well as a dozen or more significant considerations, from housing to transportation to childcare.
How can career development professionals advocate for their field and educate about its importance?
It’s easy to get swept up trying to explain every detail and facet of a career development issue, like how Challenge Factory understands the complexity of lifelong career engagement among military Veterans. This effort routinely comes from a drive to make other people understand as much as we do and to prove that we are credible, trustworthy sources of knowledge.
But, often, our audience already trusts our work. Policymakers and elected officials aren’t looking to be convinced that we know what we’re talking about. They’re looking for direction and, importantly, they rarely if ever have enough time to fully grasp every aspect of the issue.
What our audience wants—be it policymakers, organizational leaders, or community builders—is our recommendations. They want us to tell them what we are seeing in the world around us and what is needed most.
Challenge Factory gave the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs 3 recommendations:
- Use a career development model when designing the National Strategy for Veterans Employment After Service, and adhere to Canada’s national Competency Framework for Career Development Professionals when outlining any service or intervention to be included in the strategy.
- Focus on equipping Veterans with career agency rather than identifying specific jobs or career paths for them.
- Make it easier for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the private and non-profit sectors to hire Veterans through employer-focused supports and incentives.
Each of these recommendations sets a direction and provides focus for detailed work to begin. They lean on best practices and areas of expertise that policymakers and elected officials don’t have easy access to. They also position career development as a solution to a very complex problem.
We spoil the end of the story first, then fill in the gaps as much as our audience allows us to.
Watch Lisa Taylor’s opening remarks to the Committee:
Read Challenge Factory’s brief to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Learn more about Challenge Factory’s work on hiring military Veterans.