CDI Blueprint of Learning Outcomes for Professional Roles in the Career Development Sector

Why the Blueprint is needed

In a dynamic world with many challenges and opportunities for individuals and societies, assumptions about careers are being turned on their heads. It is no longer possible to rely on the career ladders and working patterns of the past. Young people and adults need to be competent career managers with the skills and knowledge to design their own career path, and the confidence to respond to career challenges and changing circumstances as they emerge.

For young people and adults being able to access support from someone who is professionally qualified to help individuals develop these skills is vital.

Being a career development professional capable of delivering such services is a complex role requiring specialist skills and knowledge. The NICE Framework developed by a range of European universities articulates this well. Career development professionals should be:

  • Career information and assessment experts: Helping individuals to assess their own strengths and connect them meaningfully to the labour market and the education system.
  • Career educators: Using pedagogic approaches to develop individuals’ career management skills.
  • Career counsellors: Using counselling, coaching and advice work approaches to help individuals to understand their situation and to progress in the labour market and education system.
  • Programme and service managers: Working with individuals and organisations to design and deliver career development programmes.
  • Social systems intervenors and developers: Using networking, consultancy and advocacy skills to develop organisations and systems and help individuals to succeed within them.

All of this is underpinned by Professionalism: adopting professional values and ethical standards in all practice roles, developing and regulating relationships appropriately, engaging in continuous learning and critical thinking and advocating for the profession.

All career development professionals should be competent in all of these roles, although some may specialise in one or more of them.

These roles also align with the National Occupational Standards: Career Development which were developed by the Career Development Institute in 2015.

What the CDI has done

In order to ensure that all professional level qualifications for the career development sector reflect these roles and holders are equipped to practice in any professional role in the sector, the Career Development Institute (CDI) has consulted upon and produced this Blueprint of Learning Outcomes for Professional Roles in the Career Development Sector.

Based on the Blueprint, the Qualification in Career Development, awarded by the CDI, was the first of these to be offered and is available at the following universities: Derby; Canterbury Christ Church; Coventry; Edinburgh Napier; Huddersfield; Nottingham Trent and West of Scotland.

Using the Blueprint

You can use the Blueprint to show stakeholders, employers and Government/Assembly officials the breadth and depth of the career development professional role and why it is vital that people are professionally qualified to at least QCF Level 6/SCQF Level 11 to deliver these roles.

The Blueprint and CPD

Fear not if you hold one of the older qualifications, these are still valid but you may like to look at the Blueprint to see what has changed since you qualified and then use this information to plan your CPD.


Schiersmann, C., Ertelt, B.J., Katsorov, J., Mulvey, R., Reid, H. and Weber, P. (Eds). (2012). NICE Handbook for the Academic Training of Career Guidance and Counselling Professionals. Heidelberg: Heidelberg University.