The Tony Watts Reader

Book Review by Phil Jarvis

Hooley, T., & Barham, L. (2015). Career Development Policy & Practice: The Tony Watts Reader. Stafford: Highflyers Resources, LTD. 390 pages.

"I believe that career guidance has a critical role to play if the new post-industrial era is to offer more fulfilling lives for more people than the industrial era has. The old model has served some of us well. But for many it has limited the extent of the opportunities they have had for fulfilling their potential. We all have more possibilities within us than we ever realise." ~ Tony Watts, 1999

Have mentors influenced your career? Career facilitators and practitioners across the U.S. and around the world can learn and draw inspiration from Dr. Tony Watts. Tony’s knowledge, experience, and passion for career development are unparalleled. He retired in November 2014, after 50 years of national and international leadership in career development, leaving a worldwide network of admirers and a treasure chest of 661 papers, articles, and books.

As a tribute to an amazing man and career, and a gift to career practitioners around the globe, Dr. Tristram Hooley and Dr. Lyn Barham have produced Career Development Policy & Practice: The Tony Watts Reader, a selection of 22 articles they judge among the very best of Tony’s astounding bibliography. Tristram is Professor of Career Education at the University of Derby, England, and Head of the International Centre for Guidance Studies. He worked closely with Tony for years, even co-authoring a number of papers and articles with him. Lyn is a Fellow of the National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling where she was a colleague of Tony’s for almost 20 years.

“One of the things that is remarkable about Tony’s writing (indeed one could say ‘about his intellectual capacity’) is his ability to create frameworks and order, and hence new understandings and insights for people.” ~ Lyn Barham

I had the good fortune of crossing paths with Tony over the past 25 years at international symposia and conferences. I have heard many of his presentations and read many of his papers. Tony took particular interest in The Canadian Blueprint for Lifework Designs (based on the U.S. National Career Development Guidelines) and The Real Game Series, two projects very dear to me. As National Coordinator of the Canada Career Information Partnership, and later as Vice President of International Partnerships for the National Life/Work Center, I worked with amazing people across Canada and the United States (through Dr. Juliette Lester and the NOICC/SOICC Network) and their counterparts in 15 countries. Tony played a key role in bringing both The Real Game and the Blueprint for Life/Work Designs to the United Kingdom.

I was proud to co-moderate Tony’s first webinar on November 4, 2014 in which he shared his parting reflections with the global career development community. I am honoured to have been invited by Tristram and Lyn to encourage my fellow NCDA members to draw from the well of career development wisdom that is the “Tony Watts Reader”.

As Tristram and Lyn explain in their introduction, Tony entered the career development field in January 1964 when he and Adrian Bridgewater set up the Careers Research and Advisory Centre in England. They felt that this was a field in which much needed to be done so they started what would now be known as a social enterprise, registered as an educational charity. Their aims were two-fold: to improve the quality of career guidance in schools and beyond; and to develop closer links between the worlds of education and of work. These aims became the core mission of Tony’s career, during which he influenced career development like few before him.

The 22 papers in the nearly 400-page Tony Watts Reader are organized into five sections:
1. Conceptualizing Career Development

  • Education and Employment: the Traditional Bonds
  • Reshaping Career Development for the 21st Century
  • Careers Education and the Informal Economies
  • The Economic and Social Benefits of Career Guidance

2. Models for Practice

  • Careers Education
  • Power in Career Guidance Work
  • The Concept of Work Experience
  • A Conceptual Framework for Work Simulation
  • Career Development Learning and Employability
  • The Role of Information and Communications Technology in Integrated Career Information and guidance Systems

3. The Politics of Career Development

  • Socio-Political Ideologies in Guidance
  • The Implications of School-Leaver Unemployment for Careers Education in Schools
  • The Impact of the ‘New Right’: Policy Challenges Confronting Careers Guidance in England and Wales
  • Career Guidance and Social Exclusion: A Cautionary Tale
  • The New Career and Public Policy

4. International Career Development

  • The Role of Career Guidance in Societies in Transition
  • Career Guidance: An International Perspective
  • Policy Challenges for Career Guidance
  • Career Guidance Policies in 37 Countries: Contrasts and Common Themes

5. Looking Forward

  • Unemployment and the Future of Work
  • Career Development: Looking Back; Moving Forward

Also included are an Abbreviated Bibliography, References, and an Index.

I recommend the “Tony Watts Reader” for students in career development and counseling programs. I encourage my many NCDA friends and colleagues to take full advantage of this summary of 50 years of accumulated wisdom from a true career development guru, Dr. Tony Watts.

Here’s how you can obtain a copy ….
Or contact
Mike Shaw
Highflyers Resources Ltd
25 St Leonards Ave
Staffs ST17 4LT
01785 607807

Phil JarvisPhil Jarvis, NCDA Member, is Career Cruising’s Director of Inspire Partnerships. He has inspired and led numerous initiatives to help students craft their careers. Among them are CHOICES, The Real Game Series, the Blueprint for LifeWork Designs, Smart Options, and Career Cruising. His chapter in Career Development Practice in Canada (CERIC, 2014) links individual career planning to regional prosperity. He advocates for whole community mobilization with employers and community agencies collaborating with educators to prepare students to transition from school to success. He can be reached at phil@careercruising.com

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