Career Development Progression Pathway

A First for the Career Development Sector

Access the Pathway here: These pages are currently being revised to take account of changes in roles and qualifications. Please contact if you require further information. 

The Career Development sector is a thriving and diverse mix of career development practitioners. Our members provide activities and services at a range of different levels which help to motivate and empower individuals to make effective transitions in learning and work at all ages. We were delighted to launch the first ever progression pathway for the career development sector in May 2015.

Purpose of the Pathway

To help employers, practitioners and members of the public identify not only the relevant qualifications which should be held for the different levels of role from first contact through to senior management but also understand the functions and the skills and knowledge required.

The Pathway is one of the hallmarks of the profession, providing clarity for users, encouraging the development of practitioners and the inspiration to work towards the qualifications required for the UK Register of Career Development Professionals. It also shows the routes to more specialist practitioner, research and technical work roles and roles in lecturing, consultancy, inspection or management.

Using the PathwayPathway

The Pathway Map shows the:

  • Different branches of the sector: Career Education; Career Guidance/ Development and Career Coaching/Talent Management; 
  • Roles: First Contact; Support; Practitioner; Specialist Practitioner; Manager; Senior Manager; Research/Technical and Specialist Role: Lecturer; Consultancy; Inspectorate;
  • Qualification levels and where career mobility is possible.
The qualification levels are those which the CDI as the professional body recommend for the level of role.
  • FC - First Contact - QCF Level 3/SCQF 6;
  • S - Support - QCF Level 4/SCQF 8/7 for the Support Roles;
  • P/SP/RT/SR - Practitioner/Specialist Practitioner/Research and Technical /Specialist Role- QCF Level 6+/SCQF Level 11/ICCI Certification;
  • M/SM - Manager and Senior Manager - QCF Level 6+/SCQF Level 11/Experience

By clicking on each letter on the Map, accompanying information is accessed which shows the functions which need to be performed, the actual qualifications which are of relevance and sources of further information e.g. the full National Occupational Standards, Careers in Careers Jobs Board (formerly Portico), Training Events and Conferences and the Getting Qualified section of the CDI site. This information is quite detailed so two levels of information are provided with access to the second level by clicking on any of the coloured text. Clicking on the X will take you back to the Map.

The National Occupational Standards: Career Development (NOS: CD) are used as the functions for each of the roles. These provide a common language for describing the skills, knowledge and understanding required for each of the roles.

National Occupational Standards: Career Development are:
  1. Develop and apply understanding of theory and effective practice in career development
  2. Reflect on, develop and maintain own skills and practice in career development
  3. Build and maintain relationships with individuals to ensure a client-centred approach to career development
  4. Support individuals to identify and explore their career development needs and aspirations
  5. Enable individuals to set appropriate goals and career development objectives
  6. Deliver individual and group development through career-related learning
  7. Enable individuals to use and apply information for career development
  8. Provide ongoing support to help individuals achieve their career goals and development objectives
  9. Help individuals evaluate their progress and achievement and plan for the future
  10. Lead and manage career development work in an organisation
  11. Improve services to individuals by collaborating with others
  12. Enable individuals to access referral opportunities
  13. Represent individuals’ needs to others
  14. Plan and design the service offer
  15. Promote the availability, value and effectiveness of the service offer
  16. Monitor, evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the service offer
  17. Plan and undertake research on behalf of the service

Every role in the sector is based upon a person performing varying combinations of the above.

For the Managerial roles the National Occupational Standards in Management and Leadership are also used.

As the sector continues to evolve the information can be amended easily as new qualifications become available, e.g. the Scottish SVQs in Enabling clients to access career development and Career Information, Advice and Employability Skills,  and the Modern and Technical Apprenticeships.