Quezon City, Philippines – The Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA) held its annual conference in the Philippines at the Ateneo De Manila University on May 22 – 24, 2017, with the theme “Customizing Career Services: Issues and Challenges”. SFI Group leader Mr. Luis Alberto Anastacio, a proud member of the prestigious career development association, presented the organization’s career development advocacies and programs in the Philippines through a learning session entitled, “Integrative Career Development Program for the Philippines”, which the organization’s key people attended.

Dr. David Reile, President of the National Career Development Association (NCDA) flew in from the United States to attend. University of Santo Tomas Counseling and Career Center director Dr. Lucila Bance was also in the session, together with Association of Placement Practitioners of Colleges and Universities (APPCU) Ex-Officio Dr. Conchita Concepcion and Dr. Changhua Rich of American College Testing (ACT). Kuder representatives Mr. Bailey Rowell and Mr. Kelvin Tan were also present to support Mr. Anastacio’s sharing of best practices in implementing large-scale career development programs in the country. In addition, Dr. Brian Schwartz and Mr. Allan Gatenby of Success Partners and Institute of Career Certification International (ICCI) were also present in the learning session.

Dr. Josefina Santamaria keynoted the conference on the first day, May 22, 2017. She discussed Career Planning in the Philippines in retrospect and in prospect. Dr. Santamaria shared the highlights of career planning in the Philippines, beginning in the 1950s, as well as the past efforts to address this need, and future challenges as perceived by college students and employees in entry-level jobs in the Philippines today.

Selected speakers facilitated the breakout sessions and panel discussions in the morning and in the afternoon. Topics discussed included best practices in career guidance and counseling, career assessments, adjunct career theories and practice, career resilience, issues and problems in career development practice, research in career development, mental health and program development. Kuder later hosted a dinner buffet for the APCDA participants at the Rizal Library Hall. The guests enjoyed the company of each other as select Ateneo students of Ateneo welcomed them with Filipino dance numbers.

Dr. Regina Hechanova’s keynote address on the second day of the conference moved the participants. She touted the workforce of the future and its implications on the present. More specifically, she gave palpable insights on workforce trends that will influence the workforce in the future, the impact of issues such as political and economic shifts, diversity issues, and technological changes in the workplace. She stressed that as new work designs and organizational structures become more common, the employee engagement and the mental health of workers are likewise affected. Dr. Hechanova predicted that how these issues will be dealt with will provide important implications for career development and management.

In line with this, the breakout sessions and panel discussions followed. The topics included best practices in career development, LGBT career counseling, career development prospects, career services in the 21st century context, and career guidance and the K-12 curriculum. The application of selected career theories to practice, integration of technology in career practice, and the role of parents in career development of children were also discussed. Some speakers mentioned the importance of research and scientific writing to career development practice, the career soft skills, and innovative techniques in career assessments in their respective learning sessions.

On the last day of the conference, Dr. Jim Bright delivered the keynote address on his life’s work, the Chaos Theory of Careers. Dr. Bright has developed a chaos- and complexity-based theory that provides an account of the complexity of influences on career development, the nature of change and unplanned events, as well as the limiting factors and emerging patterns in individual careers. The said model has implications on leadership, creativity, and occupational stress, particularly through his Beyond Personal Mastery model. Prior to his address, the learning sessions in the morning tackled career adaptability, career self-efficacy, career development branding, and program efficacy reports presented by the selected APCDA members.

Representating the SFI Group were its President and CEO Mr. Anastacio, SFI CareerCenter director Ms. Gina Jusay, and SFI CareerCenter Career Coaches Mr. Richard Monteverde and Mr. Erick Atilano.