Career development for the common good

Number of credits: 6 ECTS Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students*: 200 €
*Max. 5 places
Teaching Language: English Place: UAB Campus

Teaching Period: 15 July to 2 August 


Professor: Carme Martínez-Roca

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Enrolment guidelines


Carme Martínez-Roca is PhD in Education, and founder of AD INFINITUM Employability, social business; Associate Professor at the UAB; Member of the UNESCO Chair for Education about Sustainable Lifestyles (Innland University, Norway); Director of an awarded career guidance programme in Adult Education Centres. She worked in South Africa and Denmark during 10 years as an International Education and Guidance consultant.


Contents overview

Career development has been traditionally based on an individualistic search-and-matching labour market model. The Skills Commission’s Inquiry into information, advice and guidance indicated in 2008 that the matching model is 100 years out of date. However, when conditions offered by the labour market are becoming increasingly precarious and inequality is on the rise, the reasons that brought about the birth of career development are fully in force. Career development links its beginnings to a social movement that saw as a moral imperative to contribute so “workers in the burgeoning economy of the early twentieth century were not seen as the chattels of employers, not as property to be consumed and cast aside, but rather as persons of dignity with a right to determine their own future” (Herr, 2001, p. 198). How does one pursue a career development process for the 21st century that accomplishes the same purposes, and yet adds the alignment of individual achievement and social justice? 

This subject will benefit those who, regardless of the career path they are interested in, want to explore and carry out career development strategies aimed at fostering their own and also collective well-being. Through a combination of individual and group activities, you will learn to identify your strengths and improvement areas, to analyse the interpersonal and contextual risk and protection factors that may hinder or foster a fulfilling and socially fair career path, and to define action plans aimed at reducing the risk factors and enhancing the protection factors identified. The learning sessions will be dynamic, participatory and practice-oriented, with your enhanced career development as their main outcome.


Week 1

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others what will determine the significance of the life we lead", N. Mandela.

  • Definition of career development and its aims:
    • Adjustment
    • Transformation
    • Adjustment and transformation
    • Neither adjustment nor transformation
    • Are there other options?
  • Career development models: Matching model; social justice model.
  • Inspiring careers: People who contributed to the common good through their profession.
  • Analysis of intrapersonal and interpersonal risk and protective factors for fulfilling and socially fair career development.

Week 2

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping him or herself", R. W. Emerson.

  • Analysis of contextual risk and protective factors for socially fair career development.
  • Strategies to plan career paths for the common good: socio-dynamic counselling; solution focused strategies; planned happenstance.
  • Inspiring organisations: Description and outcomes of organisations that fight against discrimination and unfair practices in the labour market.

Week 3

"Are you [taking yourself] into this cloud-cuckoo land of wealth, prosperity, happiness for the individual at the expense of the masses? […] Individual achievement so-called and social justice [can] be juxtaposed", N. Alexander.

  • Monitoring and evaluating progress in career development for the common good.
  • Competence development to respond to discrimination during job search.
  • Inspiring for-profit and non-for-profit companies and organisations that ‘sincerely’ work for the common good.
  • Inspiring career plans for the common good: career maps developed by the students during the course.

Teaching / learning activities

Week 1

  • Individual assessment on previous knowledge about the contents of the programme and on career interests.
  • Critical reading and debate: 4 teams representing 4 viewpoints.
  • Lecture.
  • Students’ individual presentations using the elevator pitch.
  • Lecture and group exercise.

Week 2

  • Students’ presentations, comparative analysis and self-assessment exercise.
  • Lecture and career mapping exercise.
  • Group exercise

Week 3

  • Lecture and career mapping exercise.
  • Case studies.
  • Students’ individual presentations.


  • Individual presentations:
    • Inspiring careers – elevator pitch. (10%) July 17th
  • Group presentations:
    • Analysis of contextual risk and protective factors for socially fair career development. (10%) July 23rd
  • Self-assessment exercise and career mapping exercise. (40%) July 29th
  • Exam. (40%) July 31st

Links and references
  • Alexander, N. (1990). Education and the Struggle for National Liberation in South Africa. Sea Point: Skotaville Publishers.
  • Arulmani, G. (2007). Pride and Prejudice: How do they matter to career development?. Derby: The Centre for Guidance Studies.
  • Arulmani, G. (2010). Career counselling: a mechanism to address the accumulation of disadvantage. Australian Journal of Career Development, 19(1), 1-10.
  • Athanasou, J. (2010). Decent work and its implications for careers. Australian Journal of Career Development, 19(1), 1-9.
  • Boden, R., Nedeva, M. (2010). Employing discourse: universities and graduate ‘employability’. Journal of Education Policy, 25(1), 37–54.
  • Brown, F., Hesketh, A., Williams, S. (2003). Employability in a Knowledge-driven Economy [1]. Journal of Education and Work, 16(2), 107-126.
  • Busby, N., Middlemiss, S. (2001). The Equality Deficit: Protection against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation in Employment. Gender, Work & Organization, 8(4), 387-410.
  • Devlin, M. (2006). Inequality and the Stereotyping of Young People. Dublin: The Equality Authority.
  • Forrier, A. (2003). The concept employability: a complex mosaic. Int. J. Human Resources Development and Management, 3(2), 102-124.
  • Fugate, M., Kinicki, A.J., Blake, E.A. (2004). Employability: A psycho-social construct, its dimensions, and applications. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65, 14–38.
  • Ghumman, S., Ryan, A.M. (2013). Not welcome here: Discrimination towards women who wear the Muslim headscarf. Human Relations, 66(5), 671–698.
  • Goodman, D. J. (2013). Cultural competency for social justice. Retrieved from
  • Hesketh, A. (2003). Employability in the Knowledge Economy: Living the Fulfilled Life or Policy Chimera? En Lancaster University Management School Working Paper, 049, 1-20.
  • Hyslop-Margison, E.J., Naseem, M.A. (2007). Career Education as Humanization: A Freirean Approach to Lifelong Learning. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 53(4), 347-358.
  • International Labour Organization (2012). Decent Work Indicators. Concepts and definitions. Geneva: ILO.
  • Migunde, Q., Agak, J., and Odiwuor, W. (2011) Career aspirations and career development barriers of adolescents in Kisumu Municipality, Kenya. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, 2(5), 320-324.
  • OECD (2015). In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All. Paris: OECD
  • Prilleltensky, I., Stead, G.B. (2012). Critical Psychology and Career Development: Unpacking the Adjust-Challenge Dilemma. Journal of Career Development, 39(4), 321-340.
  • Standing, G. (2011). The Precariat. The new dangerous class. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Sultana, R. (2009). Competence and competence frameworks in career guidance: complex and contested concepts. International Journal of Educational and Vocational Guidance, 9, 15–30.
  • Treat, J., Hlatshwayo, M., Di Paola, M., Vally, S. (2013). Youth Unemployment. Understanding Causes and Finding Solutions. Johannesburg: Centre for Education Rights and Transformation of the University of Johannesburg.