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Providing strong career development systems that assist individuals to manage their career effectively is now very important for the maintenance and development of an effective labour force in this country to lead us through the 21st century. Individuals need to be able to assess their skills, interests and preferences accurately and regularly and they need the skills to read changes in the labour market in order to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the labour market. In this way they become skilled in managing lifelong transitions. The economic benefits of a national integrated career development system is clear. We can free up the workforce to recognise their own strengths and motivate them to pursue them more actively and in ways that increase opportunities for employers and employees. That is, we can align and balance individual needs to organisational goals more effectively if the individual is clear about their needs.

Career pathways are increasingly being created rather than built upon well worn trails. Flexibility has increased employability of the individual creating broader options It is also recognised that most people will have several changes in jobs over their lifetime, many working in roles not yet invented where full-time work is no longer seen as a nature right. Employability is the key to successful participation in today’s workforce. To survive and thrive the world of work into the 21st Century people need to place emphasis on flexibility, opportunity, enterprise, innovation, change, risk and being passionate about job aspirations. Strategies that encourage attitudes and aptitudes, as well as skills and knowledge, are critical if participants are to be successful in the new millennium.

Australians may have embraced change but the economic benefits have not yet been distributed widely. The top 10% of households now receive 26% of household income and the bottom 10% just 1.5%. In solving this economic divide, career development will be a major tool for balancing individual and business interests so that both benefit

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