NICEC-CDI: Reflective practice in action - Developing new ways of conceptualising our work in supporting career transitions and social mobility

Thursday November 7th - Bristol

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Twice each year NICEC and the Career Development Institute collaborate on a Cutting Edge event for practitioners. This session is a special one as it builds on NICEC’s Bill Law Student Award recognising innovative and impactful research in our field, with each of our main contributors sharing their highly regarded research and its practical implications for practice.

In this session you’ll be encouraged to reflect on the relevance and insights of the research for your own practice building on the core themes and concepts that are relevant to careers work wherever you practice. The session may also provide some inspiration and guidance for anyone who is considering doing some further study in the field of careers. It will be highly interactive and participative.



Registration - tea & coffee


Introductions & welcome

Rosemary McLean, NICEC


Building Career Mobility

Cathy Brown 

In today’s career landscape, we know that a job-for-life is less a realistic goal and that job hopping is becoming more frequent. Often work transitions are experienced as stressful; therefore role holders are increasingly needing to undertake role transitions, defined here as career mobility, and cultivate the necessary resources to ease such movement.

After sharing original insights from her doctoral research, including a new career capital framework, we will have the opportunity to undertake activities relating to our own reflective practice. Consequently, by the end of this session we will have both a greater understanding of how we can enhance career mobility for ourselves and our clients, and an appreciation of how we can weave such insights into our professional practice.


"Change it up, change the system" Exploring career development learning and social justice through action research

Anne Delauzun 

Careers practitioners are encouraged to embrace social justice as a core value, but to what extent can it truly guide practice given the practical and institutional constraints within which many operate? Social mobility-enhancing initiatives targeted at specific groups are often effective at improving the situations of individuals, but is it time to explore practical alternatives to this deficit approach, which might do more to promote wider societal change?

This session explores a practical example of a career development learning intervention informed by social justice, engaging participants in collaborative learning on themes such as the gig economy and the gender pay gap. Key concepts and literature that have informed this work will be presented and discussed and insights from the evaluation shared. Participants will be encouraged to consider the benefits and challenges of adapting this approach for use in their own context and workshop materials will be shared.

1245 Lunch / Networking 

Mid-life career reinvention - a dance with fear and confidence 

Laura Walker 

Most of us will be living and working longer, but what if we want to be something very different for the later chapters of our working lives? Research suggests workers in their late career face unique career and psychosocial issues but there is little empirical research to help individuals and the practitioners who work with them. In this grounded theory study, three main features of late career reinvention coaching emerged and form the basis of a new practitioner model: Discovering – journeying to be more of me; Systemic readiness; and Dancing with fear and confidence.

In the October 2019 NICEC article, four key implications for practitioners are highlighted. This session will focus on each of these implications in turn with a reflection-based activity for each of them:

  • Discovering (as opposed to exploring or deciding) - what does this really mean?
  • Unbiased, challenging supporter - what challenges might this practitioner stance involve?
  • Navigating wide ranging conversations - getting familiar with the compass tool
  • Position and proximity to dancing with fear and confidence - group discussion

Plenary - what it takes to develop effective research proposals 

Claire Nix, NICEC Fellow 

1515 Learning Review & Close 

About NICEC 

NICEC is a Learned Society with a network of Fellows, in the UK and abroad, who are career education and counselling researchers and practitioners drawn from a wide range of settings. Fellows believe passionately in improving policy and practice through discovering and sharing evidence and developing career education and counselling theory.  We share our knowledge and learn from others through our Seminar series, the NICEC Journal and our publications.  There are close working links with the CDI including through the delivery of two Cutting Edge events each year.

Contributor Profiles 

Dr Cathy Brown 

As a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, consultant and author, Cathy runs her own organisational development consultancy ( For over 20 years she has supported employees, teams and organisations through transitions and change. She writes and publishes practical guides to support individuals through life transitions under the brand Testing the Water®. Being passionate about transition management, Cathy has more latterly been inspired to explore the career capital that facilitates role mobility, and has recently been awarded her PhD from University of Derby, UK. Cathy’s research was highly commended in the Bill Law Award 2019.

Anne Delauzun

Anne is Careers Consultancy Manager at the University of Reading and enjoys treading the boundary between manager, practitioner and researcher. Prior to joining the team at Reading in 2018, she worked at the Careers Group, University of London as a Careers Consultant, and latterly as Deputy Head of Careers and Employability at Royal Holloway, UoL. Anne recently completed an MA Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education with the University of Warwick, through which she explored research interests in peer influence on career behaviours and social justice in careers work. Anne’s research was recognised as highly innovative in the Bill Law award.

Rosemary McLean

Rosemary is a registered Career Practitioner and Chartered Occupational Psychologist with many years’ experience in the careers field. She now enables organisations to develop and shape career development strategy to support business goals and align individual aspirations and passions with internal opportunities. Her consultancy work within Career Innovation Ltd is international, increasingly virtual, and underpinned by research. She also designs and delivers career development workshops, and has recently been involved in developing a next generation on-line careers tool platform to scale up careers support. Rosemary has worked as a careers coach in both the career transition and careers guidance fields and is a CDI mentor as well as NICEC Fellow.

Claire Nix

Claire is an independent careers adviser undertaking training and development work. She has recently completed an ESF funded project in Lambeth working with 17 schools and colleges to develop their careers strategies and meet the Quality in Careers Standard. She is very interested in the research underpinning the development of career leaders in organisations and how they can impact organisational policy, ethos and practice. She is currently teaching on the Career Leaders course funded by the CEC. She is a NICEC Fellow and recent member of the CDI Board.

Laura Walker

During her 25 years in HR, Laura has worked in senior positions for respected businesses across six different sectors – including Retail (John Lewis Partnership), Pharmaceuticals (GSK), Insurance (Aviva), Oil and Gas (Centrica), Defence (BAE Systems) and Luxury Goods (Burberry). As a practitioner, she is experienced in HR Leadership, Talent, L&D and Organisation Effectiveness. She is also a qualified and accredited coach and mentor. Laura now specialises in mid-life careers and has her own business working with individuals and organisations helping them discover how their mid-life careers can be better and more fulfilling. Laura was the main recipient of the Bill Law Award 2019.

Upcoming Dates for this event