iCeGS 25th Anniversary Annual Lecture 2023

Recording of iCeGS 25th Anniversary Lecture

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Career Development as Freedom 

Delivered by Professor Pete Robertson from Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. 

About the lecture

This lecture will explore the Capability Approach and its potential to provide a way of thinking about career development that links theory, practice, and policy.  Considering theory first, the Capability Approach provides a broad-brush way of looking at how people’s careers are going. It shows how they can be supported to take steps towards doing what they want to do, being what they want to be, and leading a life that they have reason to value. 

Turning next to practice, the Capability Approach can describe how pragmatic guidance helps people to recognise and build on their strengths, broaden their options, and make choices aligned with their values.  The key role of autonomy and freedom in ethical practice will be highlighted.  Finally, it will explore the potential for the Capability Approach to inform how the career development profession engages with public policy in a way that is attuned to the politics of freedom and to the new economics of the 21st Century.


Professor Pete Robertson has worked in career development for over 30 years. He trained at Bristol Polytechnic and then worked as a career adviser in Hertfordshire and North London, specialising in support for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties. He also studied Occupational Psychology at the University of East London and became a chartered psychologist.

He has a long-standing involvement in the training of career development practitioners, and in 2001 he moved to Scotland to teach postgraduate students at Edinburgh Napier University, and was appointed as a professor in 2021.  His research interests include the links between careers and well-being, career theory and policy, support for disadvantaged groups, and the evaluation of guidance services. Pete is a fellow of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling (NICEC) and President Elect of the Career Development Institute (CDI). 

Pete Robinson, speaker at the annual icegs conference 2023