Keynote speakers

  • Jenny Bimrose, PhD, Warwick Institute for Employment Research (UK)
  • Mary McMahon, PhD, University of Queensland (Australia)
  • Christiane Schiersmann, PhD, University of Heidelberg (Germany)
  • Scott Solberg, PhD, Boston University (USA)

Keynote by Scott Solberg:

From Choice and Decision-Making to Positive Youth and Adult Development: Shifting the Career Development Paradigm

Built around Parsons (1909) original vision, until recently our career development and vocational psychology profession has been dominated by a career choice and decision-making paradigm. Within this paradigm, the preferred service delivery is to ensure that individuals receive individual career counseling from qualified career specialists that help clients identify careers that best match their interests by using validated survey assessments or narrative interviews.  This presentation describes an emerging paradigm whereby personalized career and education planning strategies is used to develop the individual’s self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management skills. There is converging evidence that skills based strategies are showing promise as a powerful strategy for improving a range of positive youth and adult development outcomes, such as proactivity, resiliency, self-determination, self-efficacy and motivation.  Case and program examples will be used to showcase this paradigm shift with an emphasis on operating at the mesosystemic level in order to enable youth to gain access to work-based learning, early access to college, and other community supports.  The presentation will also discuss how this new paradigm can be responsive to a number of contemporary challenges to finding decent work such as neoliberalism, globalisation, technology disruptions, intersectionality, and income inequality.

Dr. V. Scott Solberg (

Dr. V. Scott Solberg Ph.D, is Professor in the Department of Counseling and Applied Human Development at the Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development.  Dr. Solberg is working internationally and nationally on the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective career development programs and services for especially high-need youth populations, including youth with disabilities.  His publications, reports, and curriculum translates career development research into practice and policy strategies that are being used by state leaders to guide their career development implementation and policy efforts and by districts and schools to construct K-12 career development programs and services. In Massachusetts, Dr. Solberg has partnered with the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, MassINC, and the Mass Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish the Massachusetts Institute for College and Career Readiness which builds capacity among districts serving high-need youth populations to engage in career development efforts (Funded by USDoE, IES grant). Nationally, Dr. Solberg collaborated with the Global Pathways Institute at ASU to establish the National Convening on Career Development that brings together a wide range of national business and education leaders to discuss strategies for moving career development forward as a national security issue.

NICE Conference Abstract

Presentation title: Systems thinking: Learning how to do it and how to use it


Systems thinking is found in applications we use in our daily lives such as computer systems and transport systems. In career development, systems thinking is about taking an “individual in context perspective” (McMahon, Watson, & Patton, 2014, p. 30). Systems thinking considers complexity in, and avoids over-simplification of individuals’ lives and careers. Individuals live in complex familial, social, historical, cultural, geographic and socio-political systems. They construct and tell stories of their experiences in these systems in order to make meaning of them. Telling stories is fundamental to how individuals live and is a valuable tool in career guidance. Career practitioners may encourage clients to tell systems stories constructed by them at different times and in different contexts with a view to constructing a future story. But, how do career practitioners learn systems thinking and how to apply it in their work? Based on the Systems Theory Framework of career development, this presentation considers techniques and strategies that may assist beginning career practitioners to develop and use systems thinking skills.