2022 New Year Message from President

Promoting the Life-Design Model as a New Perspective on Life Career

Yoshio Ohara

President , Japan Career Development Association (JCDA)

    As we have walked into the year 2022, or the year of Reiwa 4 in the Japanese calendar, I wish to express my heartfelt congratulations to all of you on the beginning of the new year. We are truly grateful for the enthusiastic support and cooperation generously extended by the members of JCDA during the last year and the year before that despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year again, JCDA will strive to keep serving society and its members as an organization that makes people’s lives better by keenly pursuing its goal, “Let Career Counselors Design a Better Society”. We look forward to your continued support in this year as well.



    Last year, the number of our members surpassed 20,000, which made JCDA Japan’s biggest organization for people engaging in career development advising in terms of membership. I believe that any organization with over 20,000 members is a unit that can exert influence on society. Bearing in mind that JCDA has become such an organizational unit, we are determined to step up our efforts to make more tangible contributions to society based on the organization’s medium-to-long term slogan, “From the inside to the outside.”


 In March last year, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) announced the 11th Basic Vocational Ability Development Plan. It seems to me that the plan places emphasis on the promotion of workers’ continuous learning as well as the provision of autonomous and independent career development assistance to them by building on the Human Resource Development Strategy for Productivity Enhancement proposed in the 10th Basic Vocational Ability Development Plan. JCDA wishes to keep pace with the initiatives including the above taken by the Japanese government but envision the populations and areas to which we should provide support more widely than the ones envisioned in the measures and policies of MHLW.


 JCDA, in the first place, has always regarded the entire population (all citizens of Japan) as career support service recipients from its establishment. Based on this perspective, JCDA has focused on realizing its visions including “integrating career counseling function into social infrastructure” in efforts to develop “guiding principles” and “means” that help people live life in their own way. The guiding principle we strongly pursue is “to live in harmony” and one of the means is “career dock,” our initiative to provide people with career checkups to help them think about their careers. These concepts have remained unchanged from the time of JCDA’s establishment despite of the social changes we have gone through since then.


    Last year again, we went through various economic, social and political changes including the global and explosive epidemic of COVID-19. In the future as well, we will encounter drastic changes that are global in scope. Some of them will probably be unfavorable ones, which may bring about unexpected events. Such events will not only affect the world of work but also entire lives of people, which include natural disasters, environmental destructions, pandemics of infectious diseases, economic and immigration issues which have become increasingly rampant not only in Japan but also across the world. These major social changes affect every aspect of people’s lives including basic necessities of life such as food, clothing and shelter, education, and elderly care. Workers are also citizens who live their daily lives in society. Therefore, career service professionals in the future will be required to provide their clients not only with career development support for their jobs but also with assistance to allow them to resolve issues on various aspects of their personal lives and to help them live better. Based on these assumptions, I believe that career counseling in the future will shift from the existing ones based on the perspective that separates work and other aspects of life to the model based on the perspective that integrates work and other areas of life. If I had to name this new model, I would call it the “Life Design Model.”


 The Life Design Model will require people to develop the capabilities to adapt to the environment flexibly, confidently, and effectively. In line with this development, Career Development Advisors (CDA) will focus on the structure of life that embraces the energy generated from “the vision of the person you want to become,” which will be the structure based not only on deep understanding of and support for self-concept that serves as one’s driving force, but also on the environment in which the person is living. Why? Because anyone’s career is developed through interactions of the person and one’s environmental elements (e.g., other people, workplace, places of life, community, society). Therefore, CDAs must be more alert than ever to social issues and developments. Furthermore, I would call on CDAs to pay more attention to social discourses or master narratives (i.e., social norms and practices). Our clients live their lives while breathing the air of society. We should never forget this fact.


Looking Back on the Last Year

   Again, in the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the implementation of JCDA’s projects. We were forced to make substantial and continuous changes to many of our undertakings including the Career Consultant national certification renewal training courses, activities of JCDA’s regional subgroups, peer training, study and enlightenment activity sessions, and Career Consultant National Qualification Exams. Fortunately, despite having been faced with the pandemic, we managed to hold more training courses, up to 110% of the previous year, including those for the Career Consultant national certification renewal training thanks to the measures we took to conduct online courses more effectively. Developments of particular note include a twofold increase in the number of knowledge enhancement courses held last year, resumption of face-to-face skill training courses, the improvement of our website content and the expansion of online self-study content that allows our members to learn latest information. As for activities of JCDA’s regional subgroups, we made efforts to strengthen network among regions by having online conferences inviting leaders from each region and online study meetings for management team members of each region..


Special Nationwide Conference in Celebration of JCDA's Membership Reaching 20,000

    On October 16, we held the Special Nationwide Conference in Cerebration of JCDA’s Membership Reaching 20,000 online. The sub slogan of this online Conference is “New Stories to be Weaved by 20,000 Members.” The conference attracted some 1,500 attendees. In the morning, the attendees listened to two presentations entitled “What we should aim for after gaining 20,000 members” by Mr. Ryoji Tatsuno, Chairperson of JCDA; and “Now, moving to a larger story from a small story” by Mr. Hideo Shimomura, Career Formation Support Department of the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training, and the Relay Talk Session in which some of our members shared their stories. In the afternoon, the attendees enjoyed various programs including the presentations by our seven subcommittees, the “New Story” Workshop and a video presentation by Dr. Mark L. Savickas. One of the events of special note is that in the New Story Workshop, a main session of the conference, we had each participant make one’s CDA Declaration. We feel that, by making such declarations, the participants were able to reconstruct their identities as CDAs. According to the post-event survey results, more than 80% of the participants rated the event as “very satisfactory” or “satisfactory.” Despite some restrictions imposed by the online format, I believe that the event was able to provide our members with nice opportunities to interact with each other.


JCDA Online Career Counseling Event

  On December 11, we held the JCDA Online Career Counseling event, the second of such event following the one held last year. This time, the number of counselee applicants for the event reached the quota of 400, which was approximately 1.5 times more than that of the last year. By making use of the lessons learned from the last year’s event, we focused on enhancing the training methods for the CDAs who will be counselees in the event as well as making systematic improvements, which, I believe, enabled us to offer better services to the event participants this time. One of the new attempts we made for this time was to invite public participation of applicants wishing to receive online career counseling. As a result, we received applications from some 300 highly motivated CDAs who strongly hope to “expand the use of career counseling across society.” It is notable that, even though the invitation of participation was made only through words of mouth among CDAs without using any other promotional or advertising means, the number of applicants reached the upper limit. This fact, I believe, testifies to the latent power that CDAs can exert by enthusiastically pursuing shared goals. Another thing I must stress is the fact that we received support from MHLW for the event, which, I believe, is a testimony that Japanese government strongly supports our endeavors.


Basic Courses of Action for this Fiscal Year

     As we will need to implement our projects in the environment in which it is impossible to predict the influences of the COVID-19 pandemic and when it will end, I think that we have to base all our endeavors on the assumption that we will be required to “coexist with COVID-19.” As for events, we are gradually increasing the number of hybrid events combining face-to-face and online elements but it will likely be difficult for some time to hold large-scale face-to-face events in which many participants gather and interact. Therefore, I assume that most of our projects will be implemented online. As for the events based on the “from the inside to the outside” concept, we will continue to hold JCDA Online Career Counseling event and promote the Ribora Project* for cancer survivors as well as initiatives to support work-life balance conducted together with Japanese government and other organizations. (*Ribora is a coined word meaning “rehabilitation + volunteer.” Through this project, JCDA conducts activities to help prepare cancer survivors return to work.)


 Just as we did by holding a seminar together with a NPO called Nimaime no Meishi (meaning One’s Second Business Card in Japanese), we will continue to focus on building relationships with other organizations specialized in our neighboring fields. Furthermore, we will make efforts on developing guidelines that stipulate the basic norms of CDA including the promotion of supervision system and the development of CDA’s code of ethics.


 Finally, I want to ask all of you as members of JCDA to further expand the human ties and connections among the members, which are strengths of CDAs, even in today’s digitalized society centering on the Internet. Let’s spread our circles of cooperation and friendship further across society!


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