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EDSS611 Professional Practice and Development

Unit rationale, description and aim

At a time of rapid ongoing change as a result of globalisation, internationalisation and the continuing development of information communication technologies, the role of a career development counsellor is ever more important. Career counsellors enable people across the lifespan to develop the skills they need to make career decisions and transitions and adapt to change. In this unit, within the Career Development specialisation, students will develop specialised knowledge, understanding and skills for researching information and building relationships and networks to enhance career development services within schools, government departments and industry settings. The design, implementation, management and evaluation of career development programs for individuals from the middle years of schooling through to mature age clients who need career assistance are examined and the importance of developing a culture of ongoing professional development among counsellors is emphasised. In order to complete the final assessment task, students will need to arrange to interview a practising career counsellor.

The aim of this unit is for students to develop specialised knowledge in professional practice and career development skills which could be applied across a range of settings including schools.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1   Define the dynamic role of the careers adviser/ counsellor, and identify the generic skills and competencies needed by practitioners in the field of career counselling (GA5; APST 1.2H, 1.3H, 1.5L, 1.6H, 2.2L, 3.3L, 3.4L, 3.5H, 3.6H, 3.7L, 4.1L, 6.2H, 6.4H, 7.1H, 7.2H, 7.4H)

LO2   Analyse a range of relationships/networks careers advisers need for effective practice (GA8; APST 1.2H, 1.3H, 1.5L, 1.6H, 2.2L, 3.3L, 3.4L, 3.5H, 3.6H, 3.7L, 4.1L, 6.2H, 6.4H, 7.1H, 7.2H, 7.4H)

LO3   Evaluate a range of programs and develop a personal management strategy (GA8, GA9; APST 1.2H, 1.3H, 1.5L, 1.6H, 2.2L, 3.3L, 3.4L, 3.5H, 3.6LH 3.7L, 4.1L, 6.2H, 6.4H, 7.1H, 7.2H, 7.4H)

LO4   Create a program suitable for local or general implementation (GA.5, GA9; APST 1.2H, 1.3H, 1.5L, 1.6H, 2.2L, 3.3L, 3.4L, 3.5H, 3.6H, 3.7L, 4.1L, 6.2H, 6.4H, 7.1H 7.2H, 7.4H).

Graduate attributes

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.2       Understand how students learn (Highly Accomplished)

1.3       Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds (Highly Accomplished)

1.5       Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities (Lead)

1.6       Strategies to support full participation of students with disability (Highly Accomplished)

2.2       Content selection and organisation (Lead)

3.3       Use teaching strategies (Lead)

3.4       Select and use resources (Lead)

3.5       Use effective classroom communication (Highly Accomplished)

3.6       Evaluate and improve teaching programs (Highly Accomplished)

3.7       Engage parents/carers in the educative process (Lead)

4.1       Support student participation (Lead)

6.2       Engage in professional learning and improve practice (Highly Accomplished)

6.4       Apply professional learning and improve student learning (Highly Accomplished)

7.1       Meet professional ethics and responsibilities (Highly Accomplished)

7.2       Comply with legislative, administrative and organisational requirements (Highly Accomplished)

7.4       Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities (Highly Accomplished).


Topics addressed in this unit include:  

  • The role of the career professional across a range of settings 
  • The relationship between career practitioners and the roles and contexts of allied professionals 
  • An appraisal of of state and federal government, and quasi-governmental frameworks, policies and regulations relevant to the practice of career development 
  • Career practice management and service provision issues including special needs of clients 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in offered in multimode and uses an active learning approach to support students in the development of knowledge and skills related to the design, implementation, management and evaluation of career development programs for individuals from the middle years of schooling through to mature age clients. Students have the opportunity to attend synchronous online webinars to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge. Such an approach allows flexibility for students are largely engaged in full-time work.

Where required by cohorts, part or all of the unit could be delivered face-to-face with students engaging in lectures and workshops as well as students accessing digital resources and activities available through the LEO site.  

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, postgraduate students need to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks. The assessment strategy used allows students to demonstrate their knowledge related to professional practice and development.  

The first task (15%) involves a role description and skills review; the second task (35%) requires student to review the Australian Blueprint for Career Development and Program Design; and the third task (50%) is a professional practice report.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 

Role description and skills review



GA1, GA5

Assessment Task 2 

Review of the Australian Blueprint for Career Development & Program design


LO2, LO3,

GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3 

Professional practice report


LO3, LO4

GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Australian Government, Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations. (2010). Australian blueprint for career development. Retrieved from 

McCowan, C, McKenzie, M. & Shah, M. (2017). Introducing career education and development: A guide for personnel in educational institutions in both developed and developing countries. Brisbane: InHouse 

Patton, W., & McMahon, M. (2014). Career development and systems theory: Connecting theory and practice (2nd ed.). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

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