Two hundred and fifty delegates from 22 countries and territories gathered together at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus for the three-day Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA) conference last week, to discuss best practices in navigating career development in the era of Industry 4.0.

APCDA is a renowned forum for sharing career development ideas and practices in the Asia-Pacific region and engaging the world on these insights. With the inaugural conference held in 2013, APCDA aims to promote cooperation among career practitioners throughout the region, inspire existing and potential career practitioners to deliver theory-based and research-driven career development services, promote research in the field of career development, and advocate for workforce policies and practices that foster inclusion and access to decent work for all. It now has 22 country / region directors and 188 active members.

APCDA President Carla Siojo told the gathering that Industry 4.0 is here and there is much to be done. She hoped the conference would enrich lives and co-create a better world through meaningful career development practices.

Ms. Felicity Brown, Manager of Career Consulting and Development at RMIT Vietnam’s Careers and Industry Relations unit, said the university was proud to bring the 7th annual APCDA conference to Vietnam.

“RMIT Vietnam has been represented at APCDA conferences since the first in Seoul, South Korea, in 2013,” Ms. Brown said. “Bringing this year’s conference to Vietnam made it easier for local schools, universities, and companies interested in career development to access a wealth of best practice across Asia-Pacific.”

She also emphasized that the annual APCDA conference offers members excellent professional development opportunities and valuable networks in this emerging field, and this year’s conference provided a forum for RMIT Vietnam to showcase its various employability activities.

“RMIT holds a leading position in the field of career development in Vietnam,” she added. “We have been providing our students and prospective students with individual career counselling services for more than ten years, and organizing many different employability activities, including personal edge, a co-curricular professional skills development program with a digital portfolio, soft skills workshops for students on internships, and community outreach such as the women’s empowerment club.”

Presentations at the APCDA conference covered the spectrum of career planning, development or job placement in school, university and private practice settings, and labor market, workforce, and international issues.

The keynote address by Mr. Tran Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Institute of International Economics Training and Research, gave participants insights on Vietnam’s career landscape amid Industry 4.0. He spoke of the layoffs and labor shortages, specifically for workers with high-level, high-demand skills, that Vietnam has experienced in recent years.

“Shortages result from the choice of major,” he said. “Some majors are highly valued, though they do not meet the needs of society. At the same time, forecasting human resources needs, labor market information, and vocational training activities are not synchronous and do not effectively link demand for vocational training, the availability of vocational training, and demand for workers.”

He also forecast high demand in certain groups of occupations, including information technology, bio-technology, automation, management, finance, logistics, tourism and hospitality, and the creative industry.