In the early 1990’s the career industry in NZ began to grow, brought about by some government initiatives and restructuring of that time. Although the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) had career focus groups, there was no professional association to represent the interests of career practitioners in the broadest sense. In response, Auckland set up a National Association of Career Practitioners and Wellington separately began discussing the setting up of a national body.

In 1995 the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) set up the Career Industry Advisory Group to endorse the first New Zealand tertiary qualification, developed by Dale Furbish and run by AUT, that specifically trained students to enter career practice, so it was an opportune time to also meet to explore the setting up of a national career association.

From this inaugural meeting held in 1995, our national association was deliberated on, the mission, structure, name and membership criteria developed, and the hard work that followed of the Steering Committee completing the ground work for the Association to become an Incorporated Society, with the first election being held in 1997. This has involved many voluntary hours of hard work by individuals with a common vision.

One of the principle aims and ongoing priorities of our original association, CPANZ, and as it is now known as CDANZ, is to:

  • develop professional standards and best practice in career development and also promote the professional status of CDANZ and its members to the public and other stakeholders.

The development of professional standards, best practice and promotion of the professional status of CDANZ has certainly been a major focus of the Executive since then and still is. Much work has been done by our past presidents – Felicity McLennan, Dale Furbish, Lee Brodie, Russell Booth, Glenys Ker, Kathy Jones, Megan Smith, Ivan Hodgetts, Kaye Avery, Val O'Reilly,Shane Heasley,Jennie Miller and now Heather Lowery-Kappes and their teams.

In 2007, a survey was sent to members to seek their views on a range of professional issues. One of the key findings of those who responded was that almost all held a tertiary qualification and nearly 50% held a career-related qualification.

To continue the professionalising of the Career Development Industry, the then Executive viewed that the hallmark of a respected profession is that its members are qualified at an agreed level of knowledge with an agreed set of competencies.

CPANZ at that time could not claim that all its professional members had the necessary level of understanding of the specialist knowledge base that underpins effective career practice, with membership criteria allowing those without verifiable career practice knowledge and skills to be full professional members.

There is a general agreement in what is seen as the skills and competencies required for career practitioners, as already established and written by Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA), the Canadian Council of Career Development Associations (CCCDA), the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG), and so forth.

Much research and consultation with career professionals nationally and internationally, resulted in the Competency Framework being presented at the 2008 AGM along with changes to CDANZ Professional Membership criteria and a change of name of the Association to CDANZ. At the AGM these changes were ratified and the Competencies required for Professional Membership accepted by members. From May 2008, new professional members required the possession of a career specific qualification at NZQA Level 6 (Diploma) or above, and current professional members had until 2013 to attain an acceptable qualification or demonstrate competency in the CDANZ standards through a CDANZ - approved assessment-of-prior-learning process.

CDANZ Professionalism Project has driven continual improvements within the Association over the last decade introducing a Code of Ethics, updating the CDANZ Competency Framework and then embedding it into the Continuing Professional Development process. A series of tools has been created for members and these are now stored in the ever growing Pātaka Kōrero Toolkit. In March 2021 at a Special General Meeting members voted to implement significant changes to CDANZ Entry Level Qualifications and Member Pathways, establishing a Full and Professional Membership type and an alternative pathway to membership.

CDANZ Advocacy Team continue to actively promote our members and the value of career development for all through submissions, media and government working groups. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic CDANZ partnered government to deliver career development services in public libraries. This was a significant milestone where government recognised CDANZ practitioners as the leaders in this field and contracted them directly. The service has had exceptional feedback to date.

CDANZ remains committed to excellence in career development for all Aotearoa. In order to achieve this our internal focus is evolving into a true Te Tiriti based organisation. Our focus externally is championing career development as a social justice issue, and cntinuing to advocacte for a National Strategy for Career Development and Employability.