"At a time when the world seem to be reorganizing how it works, the field of vocational guidance must be reorganized too"

Post-ECADOC reflections from Jude Che, PhD student in Educational Psychology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Jude Che

A big congratulation to the organizers for successfully organizing an event of such magnitude on zoom during such challenging times. I am privileged to have been a participant at this pioneering online Summer school. A week before, as I prepared for the Summer school, I wondered what to expect. Could it be I had been added to the list just to make the numbers or could it be to give it a tint of diversity? It was not clear to me what an African researcher would contribute or benefit from a European School.

It was beneficial having to listen to and learn from the rich and valuable stories of participants who were attending for the first time and others at who were at various stages of their research projects. At a time when the world seem to be reorganizing how it works, the field of vocational guidance must be reorganized too, the world is populated by insecure workers, the world of vocational psychology is poised for revitalization to help find solutions to new questions that are asked in the world of work. Here we were, a group of novice and experienced researchers in the field of vocational psychology and vocational education trying to find ways to help people address the challenges of work.

The Vocational guidance and counselling approached from the perspective of lifelong learning (which was the theme of the school) within the Nordic context has given me much food for thought and will certainly contribute to shape my thinking in my being and becoming a researcher. It was enriching for me to learn about a completely different context while comparing and thinking about where I work and conduct my own research. I liked how theories were discussed with much emphasis on the problems to be solved. I have had some exposure to educational guidance and the concept of lifelong learning. Initially I struggled to link educational theories and guidance but the discussions in groups shed more light to the fact that either the educational or psychology perspective of guidance and counselling is aimed at serving clients or finding practical ways of serving clients and addressing their career-related issues. Examining ideologies and how they shape policies and structure the context in which career guidance practitioners work stood out as one new area of learning for me.

Collective Academic Supervision opened an immense window for me to think deeply about my research given the input, suggestions and magnitude of constructive criticism I received from peers and senior colleagues. I have mostly experienced supervision in a one-to-one context, and it was completely different to hear what other colleagues think about my work. I can say the experience of being in a community of peers has given me a feeling of belonging which is not common in this lonely PhD journey. Here at the ECADOC summer school I have learned even more to appreciate the significance of compromise and the need to limit the ambitious ideas I have for my research given that I can still explore certain aspects at a later stage of my journey as a researcher.

I take away the that firm conviction of ENCELL to proceed with digitally hosting the 7th ECADOC school and successfully made it happen. Some of that belief I will take with me as I continue with my research into the future. I will also not hesitate to seize the next opportunity to attend the next school and continue to network, share with and learn from colleagues.

Jude Che