Career Development Association of New Zealand


Te Mōhiotanga

NAGCAS Conference 2018

By: Heather Lowery-Kappes

Date: 06 Feb 2019

Category: Article reviews

Tags: nagcas, tertiary, education, conference

NAGCAS Conference 2018

From November 28 to 30 2018 I was fortunate to attend and present at the NAGCAS conference held at the Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane in their high tech Science and Engineering Centre. This centre houses The Cube which has one of the world’s largest interactive digital display systems.

NAGCAS for those of you who might be wondering stands for ‘National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (Australia)’. In layman’s terms it is the association for the tertiary educational providers and universities in Australia, and while not mentioned in the title it includes New Zealand university career people too.

The 2018 conference theme was REIMAGINING THE WORKPLACE: Entrepreneurship, Technology, Impact. The conference was packed full of developing technology and the possible and potential impact of these for career practice and delivery.

I found the 2018 conference to be intense with a full programme rich with innovative ideas fitting well with the subthemes of entrepreneurship, technology, impact. I certainly came back with not only a new understanding of the possible impact of technological change to delivery and practice, but also with a sense of renewed hope as to New Zealand’s progress and struggle in areas of career integration and employability experiences.

Things that stood out for me over the three days include:

  • My first observation is that while we in New Zealand sometimes think we are experiencing unique problems and obstacles in regards to the importance of careers work it is apparent that these problems exist over the ditch too. In fact after listening to Ivan Neville from the Department of Jobs and Small Business, Australia Government, on labour market information I felt we are about the same. In regards to apprenticeship training and access to apprenticeships, New Zealand may even be faring better than our Australian counterparts.
  • Lead presenter on day two, Dr Jane Thomason, Director of Little Tokyo II speaking about ‘Frontier technologies and the future of everything’ was very interesting. I now have a rudimental idea of Blockchains and Bitcoins, something, which up until now has been beyond my understanding. I was also amazed at the potential for blockchain technology to be able to change the landscape in terms of proving professional credentials and changing the landscape of the CV forever. All I can say is watch this space we may soon have no use for the traditional paper academic transcript.
  • The workshop by Nicole Papworth, ‘Micro Experiences: reimaging career awareness for business undergrads’, invited us all to be more creative with the way we help students to connect and experience the competitive recruitment market. Her presentation was a good reminder that we need to accurately represent industries and utilise industry partners and alumni in new and innovative ways such as speed mentoring and design sprints. I really connected with her ideas around replicating new and evolving recruitment processes, such as video interviewing and online conference calls that can also make it easier for recruiters/employers to participate, which is something other workshop presenters also advocated.
  • Multiple workshops I attended looked at innovative ways to engage and be part of an integrated curriculum including developing career development learning frameworks which could then be used in working partnership with academic and teaching staff, using the top managers, deans and vice chancellors as mentors and interviewers for leadership and employability programmes. Technology was present everywhere. We looked in the creative ways career professionals were using it in leveraging and in the eSports demonstration and challenge at the welcome reception.
  • Several presenters and workshops talked about the importance of personal data ownership. I have started to think about how the big concepts of data protection and ownership affect people at the ground level. I know that I am having many more conversations with clients about online personal data protection and branding and the long-term implications, especially as technology advances 
  • As always, the networking and discussion at breaks and mealtimes were invaluable. Often this is my favourite part of a conference certainly always is at CDANZ events and NAGCAS 2018 didn’t disappoint. If I have one criticism of the event it is that there wasn’t enough time for networking with career professionals from around Australia, New Zealand and Asia as the programme was so full.
Heather Lowery-Kappes

Heather Lowery-Kappes

Heather Lowery-Kappes is Vice President/Treasurer of the Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ). Heather has a Master of Counselling, Graduate Diploma in Career Development and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management. Heather is currently a Career Development Advisor at the University of Waikato and also works in private practice. Her educational and vocational background is in human resources, training for employment, development, and supported employment. Heather is particularly interested in working with people and helping them through successful career change.