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Individuals have a wide range of goals, aspirations, achievements and identities, which emerge in a variety of community contexts, institutions, qualification structures and labour markets. Those who do not engage in substantive up-skilling or re-skilling through either formal learning or learning through work, for periods of five to ten years, run the risk of being 'locked into' a particular way of working. They become more vulnerable in the labour market, especially where there is a significant change in their job or their circumstances because their ability to be adaptable with regard to their career progression can decay.
Developing career adaptability has a focus on supporting and encouraging individuals to be autonomous, taking responsibility for their own career development. The research considers the potential advantages of career adaptability: for improving public policy in areas such as the quality and effectiveness of career support services. The findings highlight the need for a stronger policy framework that helps motivate and inspire individuals to take action at different ages and stages in the life course (that is, new ways of combining learning, earning and active citizenship).