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  • February 04, 2022 12:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Something happened this week that was quite exciting for me: the Canadian Journal of Career Development (CJCD) published our research in an article called A Needs Assessment of Virtual Career Practitioners.  

    As you may remember, ASPECT received support from the Future Skills Centre, funded by the Government of Canada, to investigate the transition of our members from in-person employment services to virtual employment services and identify gaps in competencies. We wanted to collect and record information from the experts in the community to inform funders. Our weekly ASPECT member meetings sparked us to undertake this research as we discussed how CDPs were managing the transition. 

    With the help of nine ASPECT members from throughout the province, whom we called the Virtual Learning Consortium, we designed an online survey and questions for a series of focus groups. Using the not-yet-released 

    National Competency Profile for Career Development Professionals as a framework, we set out to answer the questions pertaining to virtual services:
    1. What competencies do CDPs currently have?
    2. What are the skills gaps and obstacles?
    3. How can the employment services sector address the situation with responsive solutions?
    The CJCD article addresses the first two questions. It shows that engaging with reluctant clients, digital literacy, building rapport with clients, and addressing client health are the top four areas that became more difficult in transitioning to virtual services. 
    Amongst other findings, we were surprised to note that there was very little difference in the ages of CDPs and their challenges with technology. On the client-side of the research, we were surprised that youth did not fare as well with virtual services as one would expect from a population who seem to live their lives online. 
    The final report to the Future Skills Centre is still in progress, but we were delighted to take one part of our research and present it with academic rigour. Our final report will outline more answers to question three above as it is not included in the publication. 
    There is so much gratitude to share: the participants in our weekly member meetings, those who served on the virtual learning consortium that helped steer the research, and the many of you who responded to the survey and contributed through the focus groups. None of this research would be possible without you. 
    Also, special thanks to our academic lead, Dr. Roberta Borgen and Cassie Taylor, our outstanding research assistants Erica Thomson and Bennett King-Nyberg, our project partner Deborah Bromley and her team at ETHOS Career Management. Thank you to all of you who do this work every day. I hope you can share in my excitement about this published record of the work you have been doing over the past two years.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • January 14, 2022 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Artwork source: LMIC


    You might have missed the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) and the Future Skills Centre (FSC) report, Are Adults Making Use of Career Services in Canada?, released last November. There is a ton of information to unpack that might be helpful to you.
    For those who don't have time to read the entire report, here are their 3 Key Findings:
    • Only one in five adults in Canada use career services
    • Adults who use career services find it helpful
    • Most adults in Canada aren't accessing career services
    Distilling the report down to 3 points is entirely reductive for such an evidence-based read. Still, it got me thinking about how ASPECT can help promote and support career services both provincially & federally?
    Candy Ho, from the University of the Fraser Valley, in her companion article to the report, called Two Ways We Can Connect More Adults to Career Services in Canada, suggests that: 
    1. We need to build a broader understanding of what career development is. 
    2. We need to make sure career professionals are equipped with the information Canadians need most.  
    Regarding point 1, my job as an advocate has been to educate funders and policymakers about the work you do; its importance in preparing clients for work while meeting Canada's growing labour market needs. Clearly, as the LMIC/FSC report shows, ASPECT still has more work to do in promoting career services.
    Regarding point 2, over the years I have heard from members about the need to access local labour market information. Although there are great resources such as LMIC’s Online Job Posting dashboard, the BC Government’s WorkBC site, and the BC Labour Market Report, much of the community-focused research is still being done by our members. It requires collaboration and relationship-building with employers, economic development organizations, and others to meet community needs.
    The LMIC/FSC report also suggests expanding Career Development Practitioner training to align with the new CDP Competency Framework, a framework that ASPECT is proud to have had a part in developing. While I will continue building awareness, help is needed from you to develop training opportunities that align with the competency framework. We currently have a call-out for presenters (see below). 
    I see the LMIC/FSC report and its recommendations as a call to action and will continue to work toward ASPECT answering that call.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • January 07, 2022 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy New Year and welcome back to those of us who were able to take a break. 

    Thank you to everyone who participated in our member survey at the end of December and congratulation to Sarah Holloway for winning the draw for a $25 gift card. The results of our member survey help us at ASPECT to see where we are meeting the needs of our members and where we might have work to do.

    This year we had the highest response rate in history. That tells me that we have been successful in engaging members in the work we do but the results are not all sunshine and roses.

    Why Belong to ASPECT?

    When asked to provide their top 3 reasons why they belong to ASPECT, 61% said for the ASPECT conference with "advice on advocacy issues" and "opportunities to liaise with funding partners" tied for second place at 48%. Fourth place was our member meetings coming in at 41%.

    Communications Followed

    When asked which of the ASPECT communications they follow, almost 96% said the Aspectives newsletter. It is, for this reason, that we have tried to make it a priority to fill it with the latest news delivered as close to weekly as possible. In 2021, we published 46 editions of Aspectives and 47 in 2020. Five years ago, we published only 13 editions. 

    Member Satisfaction

    The final piece of data that I use to identify gaps in our work and our ability to meet the needs of our members is the satisfaction data. Although I am delighted with the overall results, it is clear that we have some work to do. When asked to rate their overall satisfaction with ASPECT, almost 84% of the respondents were either "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied." Clearly with almost 14% answering "neutral" we have some work to do.

    Thank you again to all who participated in the survey. Your voices have been heard and we will act on your suggestions and feedback. A member organization such as ASPECT cannot always be everything to all people but we will always strive to be better. If your organization is not a member of ASPECT, please consider joining us to support the work we do.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • December 03, 2021 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The holiday season is a time to reflect on the year we've had. It certainly has been a dynamic one! At ASPECT, we are reflecting too with a few initiatives:

    1. ASPECT Member Survey

    This 2-minute survey is open to everyone, including those who are not ASPECT members but are engaged in the events and services we provide.  If you respond to the survey by December 20, 2021, and you'll be entered to win a $25 e-gift card. 

    Take the survey now!

    2. Stakeholder Analysis

    As a deeper dive than the member survey and to fulfil the research requirement for my Masters in Community Development, I will be interviewing ASPECT members in a series of one-on-one virtual interviews in January. More information and invitations will come out before we break for Christmas. The information collected will help inform ASPECT's strategic planning session this spring.

    3. Refocusing the Urban Lens for Employment Programs

    In follow up to the ASPECT conference session about delivering services to rural and remote communities, starting January 6, 2022, we will hold four monthly discussion groups about the challenges associated with delivering employment services to rural and remote communities. More information and invitations to participate will be coming to members soon. The goal of these meetings is to produce a white paper to government.

    4. WorkBC Prime Contractor Discussions

    Also starting in January, we will be administering a series of monthly meetings for Work BC prime contractors to discuss the highs and lows of the current program. This will be a contractor lead discussion with feedback provided to government. Invitations coming soon.

    To those of you who celebrate Hanukka, all the best wishes for the holiday season.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • November 19, 2021 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This past week has been a tough one for our province as we mourn for those most impacted by the results of the "atmospheric river."  We mourn for those who have lost lives, homes, and livelihoods.

    [Image: Screenshot of Emergency Map BC taken at 9:47 am on November 19, 2021]  

    At this time, we can look to the helpers. The news is littered with stories from survivors of the deluge who have had their faith in humanity restored when people undertook heroic acts to save lives or make strangers feel comfortable as they waited for the passages home to open. Our members in these communities have been working hard to contribute. For example, Peter Bailey of Free Rein & Associates dropped everything to help set up a shelter at a local church for the many people stranded in Hope and Archway Community Services in Abbotsford put together food hampers for those who were impacted by the flood, posting a call out on their social media channels.

    If you are far removed from the effects of the floods, please take a moment to read some of the following samplings of articles to learn more about what happened and is continuing to happen in these communities.

    Stories from the Floods
    Finally, if you are looking for ways to help, this news story has a list of places to send donations:
    A Grand Forks member at last week's member meeting told us about their serious flooding that happened four and a half years ago of which their community is still recovering. This most recent disaster, as well as the disasters from last summer, will take a lot of time, money, and political will from which to recover. Whether in the thick of it or on the outskirts, I encourage you to get involved in the recovery efforts.

    Janet Morris-Reade


  • October 22, 2021 11:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What's that expression, "living in interesting times"? The employment sector is seeing its fair share of dynamics and yesterday's announcement by Canadian Minister of Employment, Hon. Carla Qualtrough certainly had my head spinning. Although the house is not sitting and this is policy change not yet official, Minister Qualtrough warned that if a worker leaves their job because they refuse to get vaccinated, they will likely not qualify for employment insurance.

    Our members are telling us that they are receiving calls and visits from some of the 5,500 unvaccinated health care workers who feel they must leave their jobs, but tying EI benefits to COVID vaccinations is not something I even considered possible. The courts are full of legal challenges right now and employment case law is being tested. It will be interesting to see if this proposed policy announcement will encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated or if there will be a rush to the courts. Regardless, for our sector it could be a landmine moving forward with these clients.

    Minister Qualtrough's musings come on the heels of the expected announcements from the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance about the end of the Canada Response Benefit and "targeted" bridging supports. Again, these are just plans right now and we can likely expect a healthy debate when the House sits November 22 for their winter session. We can expect a Cabinet shuffle as well. 

    With all of these changes, I am delighted to announce that Pedro Barata, Executive Director at the Future Skills Centre will be our Keynote Speaker at the Conference on Friday, November 5 at 9:00am. We had an exciting meeting yesterday where we discussed possible topics for his presentation and I can promise you that it's going to be epic. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • October 08, 2021 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Presenter: Wendy Loewen, ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership and co-author of The Culture Question

    Over the past 19 months, maintaining and building workplace culture has been a challenge. Add to that the 4th wave of the pandemic, the conflicts related to vaccine requirements, the increase in angry clients, and the inability to meet in large groups to share meals, has shifted the internal culture of our organizations. Wendy Loewen will tell us why culture is so important to the work we do and how we can build it back better.


    Facilitated by Peter Bailey, Free Rein & Associates. Panelists: Lori Forgeron, Workforce Development Consulting Services of Northern BC, Shauna Wouters, Hecate Strait Employment Development Society, and Jackie Theisen, Dawson Creek Catholic Social Services Society.

    Delivering employability services to rural and remote communities comes with its own set of challenges making for some great stories and some innovative work-arounds. Hear from the mavericks of the sector in this panel discussion about how they overcome the obstacles, share their successes, and tell you what they really wish others knew.

    PANEL: Career Development for Diverse Clients

    Facilitated by Roberta Borgen. Panelist TBC (co-authors of the book Beyond the Basics)

    Diversity is a complex, multi-faceted construct which includes countless inter-related characteristics and influences. Career Development Professionals (CDPs) who go “beyond the basics” are able to adopt a more nuanced approach rooted in a client’s unique expression of cultural identity(ies). This panel will support practitioners in examining some of the unique challenges encountered by diverse clients as they endeavour to move their careers forward while facing complex barriers to employment and career success. Hear from editor of Career Development for Diverse Clients: Beyond the Basics, Roberta Borgen, and a panel comprising a variety of chapter contributors to the book, as they discuss how customized, relevant, and culturally informed interventions can strengthen the CDP-client working relationship and outcomes. Leave better equipped to adopt a more culturally competent approach to career and employment services.

  • October 01, 2021 10:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I started this week by going to the BC Legislature to present the ASPECT submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Affairs, a.k.a. the 2022 Pre-Budget Consultations. Every year, I try to take a macro approach to the barriers to employment. These barriers are outside employment services contracts but play a significant role in a client's employability and work sustainment.

    Presentations are 5 minutes and then the committee members have 5 minutes to ask questions. It was a question from one MLA on the committee who asked about our "employment agencies" and our "success rate" that reminded me that ASPECT has a lot of work to do to educate political servants about what we do.

    For this reason, I am re-engaging with our Humans of Employment Instagram account that was quite successful a few years ago. This time I will be resharing what is on our members' Instagram accounts so that we can get the message out to what employment programs look like in this province. 

    For the 2022 Pre-Budge Consultations presentation, ASPECT's three recommendations are:

    1: Further Investment in Province-Wide Tech Connectivity

    We applaud the government’s investment in the Connecting British Columbia program but further investment beyond the phase three $50 million is needed.
    Employment service providers throughout the province have responded quickly to the pandemic by redesigning their in-person workshops and training sessions to go online.  They have created virtual resource rooms, job fairs, and one-on-one supports for those looking for work.

    2: Further Investment in Affordable Housing
    As we have seen from issues raised during the recent federal election, affordable housing continues to be a challenge across the country and BC continues to be the highest-priced jurisdiction. 
    We ask that the provincial government continues to invest in tax rebates and economic supports, especially to help those who must pay 40% or more of their income on housing.

    3: Continued Investment in Daycare 
    We applaud the provincial government’s efforts in this area and the recent agreement with the federal government to work toward $10-a day daycare through the Canada–British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. Nothing promises to reshape the world of work than making it possible for all to be included in it. 
    For BC is to meet its current and future labour market demands, we must remove daycare as a barrier to employment. We need to ensure that funding for this issue is continuous and that daycare becomes part of the social infrastructure for years to come.

    Click here to read the whole presentation.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • September 24, 2021 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASPECT Conference delegates tell us that one of the biggest draws to the ASPECT Conference is their ability to network with others in the sector. However, since were are meeting virtually again this year, we had to figure out a way to duplicate that in-person experience. Introducing Speed Networking!

    During the last breakout session at the conference, delegates will be divided into two groups: those who work directly with clients and those who don't (organization leaders, researchers, government, etc.). Here's what to expect:

    • Conference delegates are encouraged to fill out an electronic "business card" on the event platform before the conference. 
    • There will be two Zoom meetings with multiple breakout rooms within each meeting. 
    • Each breakout room will have a maximum of 6 people in it.
    • Each breakout room session will last 10 minutes; there will be 5-6 rounds of breakouts.
    • In the end, we'll debrief and share highlights of what we discussed.
    • We will provide some discussion questions for each round to help break the ice and get people started.
    • After the Speed Networking, delegates can follow up with those they'd like to meet with by setting up a meeting on the conference platform or connecting through LinkedIn or other means.

    I have attended these types of virtual speed networking sessions and have learned much about the different aspects of the social care sector. As an introvert who needs to work a little harder at in-person networking events, I have found virtual speed networking much more manageable and, in some cases, more fruitful. Hopefully, by next year, we will once again be able to go back to in-person events, but in the meantime, ASPECT will look for ways to help you connect with your colleagues and potential project partners. Register now for the conference.

    Janet Morris-Reade 
  • September 16, 2021 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    We are excited to announce some of the presenters for this year's ASPECT Conference, happening virtually on November 4 & 5, 2021. This hasn't yet been posted to our website but will be in a few days. 

    Online Learning Tools for Career Practitioners - Our Experience
    Panel Discussion with Megan Hamlet of ETHOS Career Management Group facilitating

    Improving mental health outcomes, utilizing a measurement-based approach
    Presented by Beth Hurst and Londa Morris, Kootenay Employment Services

    Resilience, Post-Traumatic Growth and Toxic Positivity - Lessons for CDPs
    Presented by Seanna Quresette, Douglas College, and Dr. Catherine Hajnal, Life Fundamentals

    What exactly is Emotional Intelligence anyway?
    Presented by David Cory, The Emotional Intelligence Training Company Inc.

    Alpha Factor of Skills for Success
    Presented by Joanne Chug, Langara College

    Your Career Identity - Rebuilding and Strengthening It
    Presented by Steve Millar, Implicit Career Services, and Silviu Cojocaru, Millennial Hero Ltd.

    Work Search:  A Trauma-Informed Approach
    Presented by Patricia Rawson and Carrie Everett, Bridges for Women Society

    The Case for Case Conferencing in Employment Services
    Presented by Malorie Moore, Kootenay Career Development Society
    True Stories: Taking Charge of Our Own Evidence
    Presented by Sareena Hopkins, Canadian Career Development Foundation
    Motivational Interviewing: A Taster
    Presented by Lori Godin and Sam Burnett, The Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation (CCMI)
    How to Engage in Ethical Advocacy
    Presented by Andrew Bassingthwaighte, Brock University
    Assistive Technology in the Office Environment
    Presented by Gemma Pollock and Nate Toevs, Neil Squire Society
    Public Policy and Advocacy Engagement Post Pandemic
    Presented by Imbenzi George, Myert Corps Inc.
    CDPs' Transition to Virtual Services: What We Learned
    Presented by Dr. Roberta Borgen, Life Strategies Ltd., Deborah Bromley, ETHOS Career Management Group, and Janet Morris-Reade, ASPECT BC

    Early-bird pricing ends September 30th. More information is coming soon, but I think you'll agree that we've got a great line-up so far! Thank you to all of you who have stepped up to present at the conference. We can't wait to hear what you have to say.

    Janet Morris-Reade

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