You are here: Cedefop | Information services | VET in Europe - Country reports | Guidance and counselling for learning, career and employment

Guidance and counselling for learning, career and employment

09 - Guidance and counselling for learning, career and employment

Background to the survey on the state of guidance in Europe

Executive summary

Key goals, influences, issues and initiatives

Policy instruments for steering services

The roles of the stakeholders

Target and access

Staffing

Delivery settings

Delivery methods

Career information

Financing

Assuring quality

The evidence base

Bibliography and References

Background to the survey on the state of guidance in Europe

The Commission's and Member States' acknowledgement of guidance as a key component of strategies to advance the European public policy objectives of LLL, social inclusion, active employment and welfare policies, and the development of the internal labour market has led to linking up with a major review of polices for career guidance that the OECD launched in 2001. The OECD utilised a dedicated questionnaire1 which was returned by 14 of its country members2. Questionnaires were filled in by national experts, on the basis of their in-depth knowledge of career guidance in their own country, and in most instances after an extensive consultation exercise with key decision-makers and providers in the field. All but one of the countries involved (namely Finland) were also visited by an OECD expert team, which met with stakeholders to discuss various aspects that emerged from the survey, and which also wrote up a country report synthesising insights developed from both the questionnaire responses and visit and making policy recommendations3.

At the request of the European Commission, and in order to have a complete picture of the situation in Europe, the European Training Foundation (ETF)4 and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)5 commissioned experts to use the OECD questionnaire to report on guidance provision in 11 accession and candidate countries (ACCs), and in the remaining EU Member and EEA states which had not participated in the OECD review. The World Bank (WB) also utilised the same survey instrument to collect information on the guidance systems in seven middle-income countries6. The involvement of these key partners in the parallel review - all using the same survey tool, and all coordinating their efforts through regular meetings in a variety of forums - has resulted in the most extensive harmonised international database ever on policies for career guidance, covering a total of 37 countries7.

In order to obtain an overview of policies for career guidance in Europe drawing on the ETF, Cedefop, WB, and OECD studies, Cedefop contracted the present report8 This study therefore draws on the 29 questionnaire responses (and, where these were available, on country reviews), for the European countries included in the OECD, WB, ETF and Cedefop surveys referred to above9. It also draws on the ETF, Cedefop, WB and OECD synthesis reports. The key aim of the overview is to enhance transversal and thematic analyses of policies for career guidance across Europe, and to facilitate the development of benchmarks, enabling European countries to gauge how well they are doing in guidance provision in relation to others, to share good and interesting practice, and to learn from each other's experiences.

In order to achieve these goals, the study presents, compares and contrasts challenges, trends and responses regarding guidance across Europe. There are a number of methodological difficulties in carrying out a comparative analysis on this scale. The main danger in using Europe as a unit of comparison lies, of course, in downplaying the extent to which each nation state has its own traditions and history of provision, where the same terms and concepts can sometimes capture quite different shades of meaning within - let alone across - political borders. The dynamics of globalisation and, in this context, of Europeanisation, lead to a great deal of inter-state convergence in the field of guidance. Nevertheless, it needs to be constantly kept in mind that all guidance services reflect the economic, political, social, cultural, historical, educational and labour market contexts - as well as the professional and organizational structures - in which they operate (Watts, 1996a).

There are a number of differentiating factors that suggest caution when it comes to generalising about European policies and practices for career guidance. Some of these factors have a particular bearing in this context:

(a) the first obvious ground for differentiation is that of the 29 countries included in this report, 15 are members of the EU, 12 are candidate or acceding members, while two, namely Iceland and Norway, as members of the EEA, have a close but different relationship with the Union. This means that there will be a degree of divergence between countries in the extent to which policy-development in guidance has been influenced by EU programmes and initiatives and policy orientations, by the acquis communautaire, and by such common commitments as those articulated in the European Employment Strategy or the Social Charter;

(b) a second distinction between the 29 countries concerns the 10 central and eastern European (CEE) accession and candidate states that have only recently made the transition to a market economy, with obvious implications for the 'starting point, nature, and investment in, career development' (Fretwell and Plant, 2001, p. 1). Guidance may have started early in some of these countries - Poland, for instance, already had a fledgling service in 1918, while Latvia and Lithuania had already developed some provision in 1929 and 1931 respectively - but the development of the field was arrested with the introduction of central state planning, which meant that labour demand and supply were tightly regulated, and citizens had little leverage to exercise choice. As the Budapest Conference on guidance in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) noted, transition countries are now having to face up to the careerquake that occurred earlier in economically advanced countries, where old notions were 'shaken and in many cases destroyed', replaced by 'a new concept of career [], redefined as the individual's lifelong progression in learning and in work' (European Training Foundation, 2000, p. 6). Over and above that, some CEE respondents to the guidance survey noted that vocational guidance tends to be regarded with suspicion, especially if it is associated with directive methods that recall the past. Yet another feature that characterises guidance in CEE countries is that guidance staff find it difficult to have access to reliable information about the labour market, when that same market is itself unreliable given the nature and pace of change it is going through;

(c) third, there are major differences in the economic well-being of the different countries included in this overview, with GDP per capita ranging from close to EUR 50 000 for Luxembourg, to less than EUR 6 000 for Romania. Unemployment levels also differ widely: the average for the EU is 8.4%, with the lowest being for the Netherlands (2%). In the CEE countries, on the other hand, the unemployment rate is as high as 19.9% for Poland, and 18.1% for Bulgaria. Clearly, such differences in wealth and labour market indices cannot be glossed over, even if it does not necessarily follow that the richest nations have the most highly developed policies for career guidance. Indeed, as we will have occasion to note, some of the most forward-looking practices in guidance are to be found in the least economically developed countries in Europe, and this is understandable both because the challenges for guidance are more pressing, and also because, in many cases, they are starting or re-launching their services afresh. This enables them to benefit from the experiences of, and expertise in, older systems, while at the same time avoiding the internecine, turf-guarding dynamics - within and across sectors - that tend to paralyse guidance services in the older Member States. While, therefore, younger systems may enjoy some advantages, one cannot ignore the fact that different resource levels and labour market realities frame both the challenges that guidance has to address, and the strategies that can be developed in response. Indeed, GDP per capita relates to a series of indicators that have an impact on guidance provision, including, for instance, levels of access to ICT;

(d) fourth, and closely related to the above point, is the fact that in many middle-income countries - including some of the southern European states and regions, such as Malta, southern Italy and Greece, as well as the CEE countries - there is a thriving parallel informal economy, much of it unregulated, where several people gain a living in semi-legitimate, highly entrepreneurial ways. These may be undeclared jobs or small businesses that help supplement regular incomes, into which much spare capacity is invested, and from which much occupational fulfilment is occasionally derived. These economic activities may also be the only ones available, with the formal labour market being unable to absorb workers within the regular regime of salaries and rights. Such contexts, of course, have major implications for guidance, which often has the formal economy as target and referent. It is not an insignificant limitation of the country reports submitted from all over Europe that none took the informal labour market into account10;

(e) fifth, different histories, traditions, ideologies, and policy regimes have an impact on shaping the educational systems in the different European countries, with some - like Austria, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands - having strong early-streaming and tracking mechanisms that fail to sufficiently connect pathways, and that seriously limit the extent to which individuals and their families can choose or renegotiate educational and occupational trajectories. In some cases, differentiation is further enhanced by the presence of a strong non-state school sector - as in Malta, the Netherlands, and increasingly Sweden and CEE. This too has an impact on the demand for guidance and information;

(f) a sixth differentiating factor relates to scale. Some of the European countries focused on in this study are large nations - Germany, for instance, has a population of over 82 million, and is the largest country in the European Union. In contrast, others - like Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Iceland - are micro-states, having well below a million citizens. Scale has several implications for guidance: geographic spread of settlements, for instance, with small, rural communities being particularly difficult to service. Additionally, large countries are more likely to have regional disparities in their labour markets; as a result, career information will have to be provided in ways that are sensitive to the ensuing differences in opportunities. At the macro level too, scale can matter when, for instance, it comes to managing a decentralisation process, and to developing strong local career service structures operating within the framework of a steering national policy. At the micro level, scale can also matter in shaping occupational destinations, not least because small, close-knit societies are more likely to develop extensive personal networks which can be as effective in unlocking opportunities as formal qualifications, if not more so.

Other differences between the 29 countries, which may have an impact on the extent and nature of guidance services, include the fact that some have a relatively homogenous ethnic composition, while others have significant numbers of minority groups; and that religion and family play an important role in shaping young people's educational and occupational futures in some contexts, and much less so in others. In attempting to consider guidance across Europe, therefore, one must not lose sight of the very real geo-political, economic, and cultural differences both between, and sometimes even within countries. Such differences have a significant impact on the way guidance is perceived, on how it is organised, on the challenges that have to be overcome, and on the issues that need to be addressed.

Despite such real differences, there is much that is common in the guidance field across Europe, and much that can be gained by considering guidance provision on such a broad scale. All European countries face a broad set of similar challenges for education, labour market and social policies that have implications for career guidance and information policies and systems. Across all of Europe we find governments committing themselves to upgrading the knowledge and skills base with a view to addressing unemployment, to meeting the requirements of knowledge-based economies, and to ensuring that the supply and demand of labour are in harmony. All European governments tend firmly to locate such economic goals within a social policy context that seeks to ensure equitable distribution of education and employment opportunities. To a greater or lesser extent, guidance provision is seen as an active measure to combat early school leaving, to facilitate the fuller integration of at-risk groups into both education and the labour market, and to reduce poverty. Across Europe, too, we find governments shaping LLL policies that make pathways into education and work more diversified, flexible, and linked. The multiplication of further education and training opportunities in different contexts and delivered in an ever-increasing variety of ways leads governments to conclude that citizens should be guaranteed access to transparent information, supported by guidance where appropriate. In responding to similar challenges, governments are adopting a variety of strategies which are of great interest to European policy-makers and practitioners since this helps them to better situate their own initiatives in relation to those of others, drawing inspiration from the range of alternatives that have been piloted elsewhere. Indeed policy-makers and practitioners already draw on the experiences and skills of their counterparts across Europe and beyond11. It is to the development of such a European learning space that the present report hopes to contribute.


1 The questionnaire focused on (a) key goals, influences, issues and initiatives in guidance; (b) policy instruments for steering services; (c) the roles of stakeholders; (d) targeting and access; (e) staffing; (f) delivery settings; (g) delivery methods; (h) career information; (i) financing; (j) quality assurance; (k) the evidence base.

2 The countries were: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

3 Details about the review process, as well as national questionnaire responses, country reports, and briefing background papers on different aspects of guidance commissioned from experts, are all available on the OECD web site: www.oecd.org/els/education/careerguidance. The review was coordinated by Richard Sweet, together with Tony Watts. For an account of the process adopted, as well as of the main outcomes, see Sweet (2001, 2003), and OECD (2003).

4 The European Training Foundation review, coordinated by Helmut Zelloth, involved 11 acceding and candidate countries, namely Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. See Sultana (2003a) for an analytic overview of the country responses to the guidance questionnaire. Besides writing the ETF synthesis, the present author was also responsible for responding to the guidance questionnaire in relation to Malta (Sultana, 2003b), and accompanied Richard Sweet on the OECD visits to Luxembourg and Spain. This, together with the fact that he is a member of the Expert Group on Lifelong Guidance, enabled him to have first-hand experience of different aspects of the guidance survey process.

5 The Cedefop review, initially coordinated by Frederic Company and subsequently by Jennifer Wannan, involved 5 EU Member States, namely Greece, France, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden, and one European Economic Area (EEA) country, Iceland. For an analytic overview of these 6 country responses see Company (2003). Cedefop also commissioned two reports from Belgium, one the French-speaking community and one covering the Flemish-speaking community, both are referred to in the present synthesis.

6 The World Bank review includes Chile, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey. Poland and Romania had been covered earlier by the ETF, but the World Bank review process includes country visits. The World Bank survey was coordinated by David Fretwell, with Tony Watts as lead consultant. For a synthesis report see Watts and Fretwell (2003). A synthesis of guidance report syntheses covering the OECD, ETF, Cedefop and World Bank reviews has been written by Watts and Sultana (2004) - and can be found in an annex to this overview report.

7 In addition to this, the policy visibility of guidance has been further boosted by Unesco's coordination of a separate project. In this case, the focus was on the role of guidance in vocational and technical education and training (Hiebert and Borgen, 2002).

8 In drawing up this report, the work of the present author was greatly facilitated by the draft of the final OECD report coordinated by Richard Sweet and Tony Watts. I owe them both-as well as Jennifer Wannan from Cedefop, John McCarthy from the European Commission, Helmut Zelloth from the European Training Foundation, and members of the Lifelong Guidance Expert Group-a debt of gratitude for the constant support and insights they so generously offered. Thanks are also due to the national experts who completed the country reports, and who gave feedback on drafts of the synthesis report, to Helen Colley (University of Leeds), whose comments provided much food for thought, and to Frank Kavanagh from DG Employment and Social Affairs, for his comments on adult guidance.

9 The 29 European countries are the following: Austria*, Belgium (Flemish- and French-speaking), Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic*, Denmark*, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany*, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland*, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands*, Norway*, Poland+, Portugal, Romania+, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom*. Countries marked with an asterisk (*) were also visited by an OECD review team, and those marked with a plus sign (+) by a World Bank consultant. European countries not represented in this synthesis include Lichtenstein and Switzerland.

10 This may be one of the unintended consequences of the generalisation of the use of the OECD questionnaire, which was initially developed with economically advanced countries in mind. On the other hand, it is reflected in the World Bank report by Watts and Fretwell (2003), which identifies the importance of the informal economy but finds few substantial guidance practices that attend to it. It needs to be pointed out, however, that the informal economy is not to be found only in low- and middle-income countries. It also thrives in depressed socioeconomic communities in highly advanced societies.

11 Several of the responses to the guidance survey referred to the fact that policies as well as strategies, tools, resources and training in delivering guidance services had been adapted from other countries. Much of this 'borrowing' seems to be as a result of bilateral agreements, and to depend on historic, linguistic or cultural ties between specific nations. Some of the countries most often sought for inspiration or assistance include Germany (on the part of Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania); France (French-speaking Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland); Denmark (Lithuania, Poland); Austria (Czech Republic, Luxembourg); the United Kingdom (Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia). Some countries have also adapted policies, practices, tools and resources from the USA and Canada (French-speaking Belgium, France, Latvia, Luxembourg). Increasingly, the exchange of successful practice is taking place on a multilateral basis, especially in the context of such EU-funded programmes as Leonardo.



0901 - Executive summary

This overview report draws on the responses of experts from 29 European countries to a questionnaire survey on policies for career guidance. In 2001 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched an international review of policies for career guidance, that covered 14 countries, including 9 EU Member States. The European Commission (EC), which had just published its Communication on Lifelong Learning (2001a), was invited by the OECD to assist in the review. In the context of the follow-up to the Communication and to obtain a comprehensive view of policies for career guidance in Europe, the EC sought permission from the OECD to use its review questionnaire in Member States, EEA, and pre-accession countries that were not taking part in the OECD study. Cedefop and ETF were requested to undertake the research. In a parallel initiative, the World Bank extended the purview of career guidance policies to seven middle-income countries, thus contributing to developing what is now the largest ever data base on policies for career guidance internationally.

Each organisation involved in this review process - namely the OECD, the ETF, Cedefop, and the World Bank - have commissioned synthesis reports in order to tease out the main findings for the group of countries that they were focusing on. A synthesis of syntheses has also been produced, distilling the key findings in one short paper (Watts and Sultana, 2003) annexed to this overview report. This present report extends the synthesising exercise to the 29 European countries covered by the first three agencies, and is intended to complement and add value to the work already done on the OECD career guidance policy review by facilitating transversal and thematic analysis of guidance policy across the continent. In particular, it sets out to provide an account of the most significant developments, trends, challenges and issues, as well as strengths and weaknesses of information and guidance systems and policies in Europe. In so doing, the report identifies good or interesting practice and illustrates this with examples taken from the range of countries involved in the review. Policy-makers and practitioners will thus be able to benchmark their own systems in relation to those of others, and to review their practices in the light of the efforts and experiences of colleagues across Europe.

The present synthesis report is divided into 10 sections, following closely the categories structuring the OECD review report to facilitate comparison between the different synthesis reports produced by the 4 organisations referred to earlier.

The first section provides a context for the overview report, by highlighting some key issues about guidance articulated across Europe, particularly in relation to the debates generated by the consultation process on the Memorandum of Lifelong Learning. A number of European Union policy documents and reports are referred to in order to illustrate how, both across Europe, and in the different states within and outside the EU, guidance has an increasingly broad appeal as a mechanism to facilitate a number of public policy goals. The activities of the Commission with the Member States that have an impact on guidance, in terms of signalling strategic goals and funding cutting-edge initiatives in the field, are described. The Commission's decision to extend the OECD review of policies for career guidance to the remaining European countries has enabled a comprehensive overview of the challenges for the field, and the policy responses to those challenges. Some of the methodological issues that arise from carrying out a comparative and transversal thematic analysis of 29 countries, all with their own diverse economic, political, cultural and educational realities, are also addressed. It is argued, however, that in policy terms, there is much to be gained by considering the range of responses afforded by the different countries as, despite different starting points, all are required to face a broad set of similar challenges for policies for career guidance.

The second section draws on the survey responses in order to develop a composite definition of the term guidance, based on the way educational and career guidance is understood and practiced in the 29 European countries. Distinctions are made between educational and career guidance on the one hand, and personal counselling on the other, noting that, despite the difficulties of separating the two, the main focus of the overview report is on the information and advice offered to young people and adults in terms of their choice of pathways in and through education and work. More specifically, guidance is defined as a right of all citizens to a set of inter-related services which should accompany decision-making throughout the lifespan. In most cases, such services are provided by the state in the education and labour market sectors, though there is also increasing provision by community stakeholders and the private sector. Defining guidance as both a public and a private good, most countries are careful in emphasising that information and advice ought to serve both individual needs - by expanding their awareness of options and opportunities, and enabling them to make decisions wisely so that they can have more fulfilling lives - and the needs of the society and economy.

It is these latter needs that constitute the focus of the third section of the report. Guidance is seen by governments as a mechanism to support public policy in three specific areas. It first of all promotes lifelong learning goals by ensuring an adequate knowledge and skills base to meet the challenges of high ability societies operating in the context of economic globalisation. Guidance can make a contribution to the attainment of such goals by helping the education and training system become more efficient, and by developing tighter linkages between the world of learning and the world of work, both within national contexts and, given the creation of a common learning and working space, across Europe. Guidance is also attractive to policy makers because it can help address a whole range of labour market issues, it can improve labour market outcomes and efficiency, and it can support economic development goals. Policy makers are therefore increasingly looking to guidance for support in addressing labour market shortages, tackling mismatches between labour supply and demand, reducing the effects of labour market destabilisation, dealing with unemployment, and improving labour mobility. Guidance also has a role to play in helping governments attain social equity and social inclusion goals, by mobilising resources in order to reintegrate marginalised and at risk groups into education, training and working tracks. A clear sign of the usefulness of guidance in policy terms is the dynamic nature of the field across most of the 29 countries surveyed, where a growing range of initiatives and innovations can be observed, both at a national as well as a pan-European level. Despite such dynamism, however, the field often suffers from an inadequate articulation of a common vision across different sectors, with its potential greatly reduced due to fragmentation.

The fourth and fifth sections consider information and guidance provision to young people within and outside of educational institutions, and to adults. The fourth section focuses on guidance services offered across all levels of schooling, noting that many of these services are concentrated in the lower secondary sector, though there is a visible trend for their extension upwards to the higher secondary as well as tertiary level institutions. As pathways become more diversified and complex, and as opportunities for re-engaging with education and training multiply, so too traditional models of guidance become obsolete, with a new emphasis being placed on reaching more young people across the whole process of their development. Most countries therefore report that guidance is increasingly becoming embedded in the curriculum, with career education reinforced by a variety of experiential learning strategies such as work and course tasters, by group approaches supplementing face-to-face interviews, and by vastly improving access to information through the judicious use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Other countries recognise that this is the direction that they want their guidance services to move in, but are hampered by inadequate funding, and by the lack of trained staff. All countries are concerned about the necessity of catering for the guidance needs of at-risk youth and about the imperative of finding ways of re-integrating them in education and training, though few cases were reported in the review of policies for career guidance warranting any optimism that school-based services have developed effective strategies in reaching this goal.

The fifth section examines the way the information and guidance needs of adults are being addressed across Europe, particularly - though not solely - through the Public Employment Services. The European Employment Strategy and the European Employment Guidelines enjoin the latter to provide in-depth guidance to clients, highlighting the role that guidance can play in routing clients through training and into jobs. Given the emphasis that is now being placed on lifelong learning, it is rather surprising to note that in most cases, however, guidance services are still mostly available to only one particular group of adults: the unemployed. These are largely tended to by the PES, where the responsibilities of administering welfare benefits, of registering clients and placing them in training and in employment are so paramount that guidance functions become muted - even if one can detect a cultural change underway in many PES towards a more supportive and facilitative role, with the service becoming a gateway to guidance rather than a gatekeeper. Some countries are responding to this situation by reorganising their employment services in such a way that clients are screened, with the range of different services targeted in response to needs, freeing up specialised guidance staff to deal more effectively with those who require advice. In some cases, community-based partners as well as the private sector are providing supplementary or complementary services, in order to ensure adequate coverage of needs. Community-based guidance is proving to be particularly promising, with government outsourcing responsibilities and funding to groups that tend to be closer to the realities of specific categories of the unemployed, and whose response therefore is often more innovative, appropriate, and effective. Much less is being done, however, in terms of catering for the guidance needs of adults who are in employment. Here again some countries foreshadow the kinds of developments that we are likely to see progressively appearing across Europe. A small number of public employment services have restructured themselves to attract employed adults who are interested in changing their jobs, or who require advice in managing their career. This is a big shift for such services, who find it difficult to combat the lingering image they may have among the general public as an office that deals exclusively with those receiving unemployment benefit. Some larger enterprises across Europe have begun offering guidance services to adults, both for the reasons already stated, and also to facilitate occupational mobility and flexibility at a time of restructuring or closures. Private sector and trade union involvement in this field is still minimal, though the latter sector is becoming increasingly aware of the assistance it can provide its members in retaining their employability through retraining. In most countries across Europe, we find little good practice in catering for the needs of older workers, a particularly significant gap given the demographic trends in the 29 countries surveyed.

Other gaps in information and guidance provision are identified in section six. Here, the different strategies that are being used in European countries to overcome such gaps, and particularly the use of ICT to promote innovative and diverse ways to deliver guidance services to clients, are explored. The strategic use of ICT in several contexts had led to major shifts in the way guidance services are delivered, partly by encouraging clients to engage in a self-service, self-help mode, and also by transferring information and services - hitherto only available in dedicated offices - to the site occupied by the client, be this the home, the school, or the workplace. Such ease in transferability of guidance services has been facilitated by the development of increasingly sophisticated software supporting guidance functions, and is particularly important for remote communities, which are often traditionally harder to reach than those living in urban centres. The different country reports make it clear, however, that despite the great promise of ICT in delivering guidance services, there is still a serious digital divide between and within countries. Similarly diverse is the capacity of the different European countries to exploit the opportunities presented by call centre technology which, in some contexts, has been developed extensively to offer personalised support in response to differentiated needs.

Much of the value of formally provided guidance is its claim that it can provide thorough, reliable, and objective information about educational and employment opportunities, in a way that connects with the client's own aptitudes and aspirations. Section seven explores the validity of this claim in the light of the evidence provided by the country surveys. The volume of information that is made available to young people and adults has grown in most countries, with print-based material being supplemented - and indeed overtaken - by information presented in electronic format and on the Internet. This is also the guidance-related sector where private investment is most visible, with several companies producing handbooks and other products, particularly addressed to students. A major issue that is of concern to most countries is that, despite the increasing popularity and undeniable usefulness of electronic- and Internet-based information, much of this remains fragmented and unconnected, with different providers collecting different information, and creating data sets that cannot be consolidated in a way that would help users make better sense of the options and opportunities that are open to them. It is especially rare to come across guidance-oriented software or Internet sites that function as multidimensional, matrix-based management information systems, which connect educational and career information with labour market data. Quality standards for the production of information are also missing in most of the countries surveyed, raising questions about the ability of several countries to provide users with information that is usable, reliable and up-to-date.

Sections eight and nine focus on the human and financial resources dedicated to the guidance field. As section eight makes clear, guidance is provided by a great diversity of workers, which are hard to portray given the array of roles they perform, the level of qualifications that is required to enter the field, the kind of training they are expected to have, and the range of competences they need to master. In addition, there are important differences in the training and background of guidance staff working in the employment and in education sectors, though both tend to be burdened by a multiplicity of roles that makes the boundaries of the profession rather hard to determine. In many countries, then, guidance staff seem to belong to a truncated profession, only partially exhibiting those features normally associated with fully developed professions. They tend to lack a sense of identity as an occupational group, are poorly organised, and do not enjoy any particular status in the public eye. While this overall characterisation applies across most of the countries surveyed, many reports did signal significant developments which suggest that the process of professionalisation may be picking up some pace, especially since there is a trend to increase the specialised training of staff, and to organise and direct their further development through the activities of guidance associations and research.

Section nine looks at the sources of funding for guidance services in Europe. Most of the financing of guidance activities comes from the state, though there is very little information provided in the country reports regarding the volume of such provision, largely because the costs of delivering information, guidance and counselling services are often included in broader budgets that cannot be readily broken down and are therefore difficult to calculate. There is some private investment in guidance, and supplementary funding comes through EU programmes and, for a few countries, from such donor agencies as the World Bank. All this, however, is minimal compared to the outlay by the state, which uses a range of different modalities to direct funds to clients. Increasingly, however, the states in Europe tend to devolve funding to regions, to the municipality, or even to specific institutions, and some also outsource to community organisations and the private sector. While such a strategy is very promising in that it follows the principle of subsidiarity, encouraging local actors to draw on their resources to face up to challenges, country reports indicate that devolution in a policy vacuum can lead to costly overlap, poor coordination within and across sectors, a lack of comparable standards between regions, and consequently inequity in access to services and in the types of services clients receive. These experiences suggest a critical and cautious appraisal of both market and quasi-market provision of guidance services, with the state maintaining the responsibility of ensuring that any services offered by other providers are sound and up to standard.

The concern with the role of the state is sustained in section ten of the report. This considers three key mechanisms linked to the steering of policy in the information and guidance field, namely legislation, the development of quality standards, and the generation of evidence by means of which quality provision can be monitored and a course leading to improved practice can be charted. The country reports clearly indicate that the state has a crucial role to play in all three areas, and that, together with the social partners and stakeholders, it has the responsibility of generating a strategic vision so that guidance serves both the individual and society, in terms of the overall goals associated with lifelong learning. The country reports however also indicate that in most cases, the state is failing to provide such a vision, largely because of a lack of adequate collaboration both at the inter-ministerial level, and more broadly at the national level. Some countries have tried to overcome such obstacles by developing regional, governmental, and national forums where representatives of the different providers in the field of guidance meet in order to ensure a clear sense of direction, and to mobilise resources to achieve the goals established. This could include more targeted legislation to guarantee the entitlement of all citizens to guidance services throughout their lifespan, and the strategic use of research to ensure that the features of a quality service are carefully identified and effectively monitored. Such determined leadership on the part of the state is still generally lacking across most of Europe where, despite a number of very promising initiatives, guidance does not yet, in policy terms, enjoy the high priority it merits.

In conclusion, the report presents some of the main trends marking the field of guidance in Europe, as these have been articulated by the 29 countries surveyed. It argues that, collectively, the efforts of these several countries in developing guidance and information systems that help face the challenges of a Knowledge Society provide a rich thesaurus of good and interesting practice from which policy-makers and practitioners can draw inspiration. Most importantly, this report is designed to help galvanise policies, systems and practices for career guidance further, encouraging a heightened degree of strategic and enlightened leadership that will benefit the individual, the economy, and society alike.

Ronald G. Sultana
Malta.

Conclusions

The conclusions of the synthesis report reviewing career guidance policy across Europe are presented as flows in policy-making. These flows signal both characteristics of alternative models in guidance provision, as well as the attempts, on the part of system managers and practitioners in the different European contexts, to develop guidance service provision that is in tune with the paradigm shift required by the learning society. This approach has several advantages. First of all, it synthesises key findings in a way that faithfully portrays the overall 'state-of-the-art' of guidance across Europe, without losing the sense of dynamic change and shifts that mark the field. Second, it captures the complex differences between and within the individual countries, which can be placed along a continuum, marking origins (or what guidance practice has tended to be like) and destinations (or where guidance practice is trying to get to in its attempts to respond to the challenges of the Knowledge society). Additionally, by highlighting the direction of flows in policy-making across Europe, it effectively proposes a checklist of benchmarks, indicating what best - or at least interesting - policy and practice may be like. Policy-makers and practitioners can, in this way, better situate their own efforts within the general picture, appraising their own achievements in relation to those of others, and drawing inspiration from the range of alternatives being piloted elsewhere.

A summary of the continuum is presented below. To see the full continuum and the entire text of the conclusions section click here: Conclusions

From To
  • IGC as secondary
  • Psychology-based
  • Focus on nation state
  • Target: at risk
  • Delivery at key points
  • Curative in scope
  • Institution-based
  • State as key provider
  • Delivered by staff
  • Non-specialised staff
  • Focus on counselling
  • Poorly professionalised
  • Same-level personnel
  • Focus on provision
  • Centrally managed
  • Homogenous service
  • Sectorally segmented
  • Targets individuals
  • Outside curriculum
  • Unregulated
  • Education # LM data
  • Under-researched
  • Legal entitlement
  • Multi-disciplinary
  • Europe-wide mobility
  • Mainstream service
  • Provided lifelong
  • Educative
  • Ubiquitous
  • Private & NGO role
  • Input by stakeholders
  • Pre- & in-service training
  • Also attend to guidance
  • Clear entry & progression
  • Different staff categories
  • Self-access, self-service
  • Monitored decentralisation
  • Differentiated service
  • Cross-sectoral collaboration
  • Targets groupsPermeates curriculum
  • Codes, standards
  • Consolidation of databases
  • Systematically reflexive


0902 - Key goals, influences, issues and initiatives

The early introduction of guidance in several European countries suggests that public policy makers have long recognised its usefulness in addressing policy challenges. Indeed, such recognition is signalled by the fact that most educational and career guidance activities are directly or indirectly funded by the state. Recently, however, the attraction of guidance as a measure to reach public policy goals has become even clearer. In response to the question requesting details of important developments in the field over the past five years, most respondents to the guidance survey presented an impressive list of initiatives (see Table: Guidance: a dynamic field in Europe). Indeed, in some cases the pace of change in guidance systems and provision is so rapid that some countries (e.g. France, Sweden) noted that within a year of writing the national report (i.e. by 2003), some aspects of the description had become outdated. Many of the initiatives reported in the country reports were launched and directly driven by Ministries of Education and/or Labour of the respective countries, and often with the support of EU Programmes and Initiatives. Other initiatives were taken by the social partners, community-based organisations, or by guidance professionals through their associations, often with the financial support of government. Partly in response to increased demand for services - Estonia, for instance, has seen a threefold increase in the number of students asking for guidance, while Latvia reports a 25% increase in clients for its Professional Career Counselling Centre - but also in order to attain strategic goals, governments across Europe have tended to invest more in guidance than before. Indeed, even in the context of tight budgets, only a few of the countries involved in the guidance survey referred to significant cut-backs in the overall funding provided for guidance (e.g. Sweden reports a reduction of resources by 8 %; Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland note cost-cutting measures). Most reported an increase in the range and reach of services, though many also reported being concerned about the lack of adequate resources to support such a momentum.

Governments invest in guidance because they are convinced that, besides being a private good, it is also a public good, in that it advances public policy goals in relation to:

  • lifelong learning goals;
  • labour market and economic development goals;
  • social equity and social inclusion goals.

Each of these is considered in turn below.

Table: Guidance: a dynamic field in Europe
The following list of selected initiatives reported in the guidance survey gives a good sense of the dynamism in the field of guidance in Europe, suggesting that it has indeed become a significant mechanism for addressing some of the key policy challenges that governments have to face:
(a) the promulgation of legal instruments promoting different aspects of career guidance (e.g. Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain).
(b) the commissioning of research and reports in order to investigate different aspects of guidance services, with a view to their improvement (e.g. Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden).
(c) the planning and implementation of reforms in guidance in the education and/or labour market sector (e.g. Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, most CEE countries).
(d) the extension of guidance-related services in the education sector (e.g. increase in school guidance staff in Iceland, Portugal; increasing service provision in Finland, France; developing the guidance-oriented school in Belgium, Greece, Denmark, Latvia, Portugal; introducing school-to-work issues across the curriculum in Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia).
(e) the strengthening of the guidance function in Public Employment Services (e.g. Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Portugal).
(f) the extension (or consolidation) of careers guidance services to new client groups, such as higher education students (e.g. French-speaking Belgium, Austria, Estonia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania); students or registered unemployed with disabilities (e.g. Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia); those already in employment (e.g. Austria, Flemish-speaking Belgium, France, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Sweden, the United Kingdom); parents (e.g. Cyprus); ex-convicts (Denmark, Lithuania).
(g) the enhancement of access to services through regional provision (e.g. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Spain).
(h) the enhancement of access to services, in practically all European countries, through ICT and Internet provision (see especially Finland, the Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden, the United Kingdom).
(i) the development of new tools, such as aptitude testing services (e.g. France, Iceland, Poland, Romania).
(j) the shift to a tiered guidance service, encouraging clients to access information in a self-service mode, freeing up staff to engage in individual or group guidance sessions with those who have deeper needs (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom).
(k) the articulation of professional qualification and service standards for career counsellors (e.g. Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia).
(l) the increase, across the board, of increased opportunities for specialised initial and in-service courses, including courses offered at higher education level (e.g. France, Greece, Poland, Romania).

(m) the establishment - or intensification of activities - of career guidance associations (e.g. Austria, French-speaking Belgium, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania).
(n) the attempt to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration in order to provide a more effective service, and to make the best use of resources (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Hungary). EU initiatives such as Euroguidance networks, as well as the funding of projects through Leonardo and Phare programmes, have also enhanced cross-sectoral collaboration. Increasingly countries are embarking on strategies to build up an integrated career guidance system, through the establishment of national guidance forums or agencies (e.g. Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal).

As noted earlier, the growing consensus across Europe is that, in a context of economic globalisation, competitiveness can at least partly be maintained if the knowledge and skills base of the population is continually consolidated, extended and renewed1. Hence European governments are keen to ensure that as many citizens as possible remain engaged in education and training. For many governments, this is a sure way to upgrade skills and competence levels and to enhance the human resource base of the country through the development of people via lifelong career planning. Guidance is therefore seen to have an important role to play in national strategies for enhancing LLL, and as such is considered as both a private and public good in that it contributes to both personal and social gains. This reasoning has been reinforced, in many European countries, by the national and Europe-wide debate that ensued following the publication of the Commission's Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, where guidance issues feature centrally. Indeed, several country responses made direct reference to the Memorandum, and reiterated many of the points raised there.

Countries articulated their expectations for guidance in different ways and with different emphases in the responses to the questionnaire. They look to guidance services to improve the efficiency of their education systems. This could be attained through:

(a) reducing the failure rates and the number of student drop-outs (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark (see Table: Denmark's strategy to tackle school drop-out through guidance ), Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain);

(b) accelerating progress through the education system and having shorter graduation times, especially by reducing course transfers (e.g. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway);

(c) helping students make the appropriate choices between different subject options and school pathways, particularly in relation to increasingly individualised and diversified learning opportunities in the post-compulsory education sector (all countries);

(d) facilitating more in-depth learning, particularly through the use of experiential learning approaches (e.g. Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Romania).

Table: Denmark's strategy to tackle school drop-out through guidance
In 1993, the Danish Ministry of Education implemented an 'Education for all' policy which, among other things, set itself the goal of having 90-95% of all young people finish upper secondary education, with the rest being guided to a self-supporting life style. In the 'Education for all' concept, educational and labour market policies are linked together, and guidance and counselling services are seen as a safety-net for 'at risk' young people who are likely to shun, or drop out of, non-compulsory education. Part of the overall guidance strategy is to make sure that young people about to leave compulsory education understand the value of further education. Another is to generalise the use of individual education plans for all young people, in order to enhance students' ability to make more conscious and well-founded choices. In turn, this increases levels of motivation and decreases the drop-out rate and the number of inappropriate course choices. Individual education plans are supported by an 'education book' in which students record their achievements and their developing interests and aims. The plans have to be signed by the student, a parent, and the guidance counsellor. Municipalities are legally obliged to make contact with young people who are not in education and to offer them guidance at least twice a year up to the age of 19.

Several countries also look to guidance services to promote a tighter fit between education and the world of work. This they attempt to do through:

(a) teaching students about the world of work, either directly through extra-curricular seminars (e.g. Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Portugal) or through a timetabled career education programme (e.g. Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Romania, Spain); or indirectly, by providing resources to regular teachers who address work-related issues in the subjects they teach (e.g. Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom);

(b) coaching in such transition skills as writing a c.v. or handling interviews (most countries);

(c) providing a structured exposure to the world of work for learning purposes, largely through entrepreneurship schemes (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Malta, Norway), and work shadowing or work experience programmes (e.g. Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, Romania, the United Kingdom);

(d) boosting recruitment to vocational options at the upper secondary level, with a view to addressing skills bottlenecks (e.g. French-speaking Belgium, Malta, Norway (see Table: Addressing mismatches in Norway);

(e) raising the number of students who continue into further and higher education, particularly in areas where there is a perceived shortage (e.g. Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom);

(f) promoting the 'soft skills' (communication skills, team work, creativity, etc.) that seem to be increasingly required by employers (e.g. Belgium, Iceland, Finland, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom).

Table: Addressing mismatches in Norway
Norway carried out an evaluation of its school system in connection with the 1994 reform of the Upper Secondary School Reform. One of the emerging concerns is the mismatch between the interest shown by young people in applying for vocational courses and the skewed gender distribution in the areas of study in upper secondary education. As a consequence of this, in 1997 the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs initiated a focus on educational and vocational guidance in lower and upper secondary education, for which a process-oriented guide Ungdom i valg ('Choices for young people') was produced along with a booklet for pupils. In addition to this, the National Education Offices prepared action plans to strengthen the counsellors' knowledge of upper secondary education, the YoU database was developed and the project Bevisste utdanningsvalg (Conscious educational choices) was implemented.
Guidance also has an important role to play in helping clients exploit the widening opportunities for study and work in the European space2. The Swedish compulsory school curriculum guidelines specifically state, for instance, that the school should strive to ensure that all pupils are informed about opportunities for further education not only in Sweden, but elsewhere. European countries - to varying degrees depending on their status within or outside the EU - participate in mobility programmes via Socrates, Leonardo, Tempus and Phare, and have set up structures to provide the relevant information and advice. Member states and ACCs are linked into the Euroguidance network, as well as the web-based portal Ploteus. They may also have set up a coordinating structure for all mobility activities, such as Finland has done with its Centre for International Mobility (CIMO). In the case of Flemish-speaking Belgium, the long-standing Career Fair ('SID-IN') has taken a more European character, providing information on study possibilities across the EU, as well as on the equivalence of certificates.

Governments expect guidance services to address a whole range of labour market issues, to improve labour market outcomes and efficiency, and to support economic development goals. Responses to the questionnaire with regard to such policy goals, while overlapping greatly, can be grouped under a number of headings. Thus, countries look to guidance:

(a) to address labour shortages and mismatches between labour supply and demand (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland (see Table: Guidance and human resource development in Poland), Sweden, the United Kingdom);
(b) to get as many adults back into learning and training as possible (e.g. Sweden's five-year Adult Education Initiative, the largest such campaign in Swedish history, launched in 1997; also French-speaking Belgium, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom);
(c) to improve labour mobility (e.g. Austria, Romania, Spain);
(d) to help prevent, or at least reduce, unemployment (e.g. Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Germany, Spain, most CEE countries);
(e) to reduce the effects of labour market destabilisation (e.g. Denmark, most CEE countries);
(f) to help individuals adjust to change and uncertain futures (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Luxembourg), as well as to changes in work patterns such as atypical work contracts, job swapping, and so on (e.g. Finland);
(g) to assist active labour market policies by helping reduce individual dependency upon income support (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands, Spain);
(h) to help deal with the effects of an ageing society, or in reducing early retirement (e.g. Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands);
(i) to facilitate the exploitation of employment opportunities available in the European economic space (e.g. Finland, Malta, Sweden);
(j) to support the notion of a lifelong career, as opposed to a lifelong job (e.g. Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom);
(k) to increase job satisfaction (e.g. Luxembourg).

A number of specific labour market and economic development issues to which guidance services are expected to respond was highlighted by CEE countries, either in addition to the ones referred to above, or because they applied to their situation with a heightened degree of urgency. Thus, several CEE countries noted the challenge for their public employment services to work with the increasing number of unemployed, for whom the experience was a new one in the transition from a planned to a market economy. Similarly, CEE countries, more than other European countries, are experiencing rapid transformations of their economies, so that guidance services are called to assist in promoting new training and retraining pathways for both young and older workers, to encourage the latter to respond to new qualification requirements, and to develop appropriate skills profiles. This is particularly pressing given the new opportunities that are expected to present themselves upon accession as full members in the common European market and economic space.

Table: Guidance and human resource development in Poland
In Poland, the National Strategy for Employment Growth and Human Resources Development of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, published in January 2000, declared its intention to develop guidance in order to attain its objectives. It aimed specifically to:
add career counselling to the overall school goals at every level of education;
introduce the principle of continuity of services in the sphere of planning and career development;
increase the availability of career information for youth and adults;
integrate career counselling systems for adults and for young people;
ensure high quality of individual services for career counselling by introducing uniform standards of services;
ensure ongoing improvement of career counselling methods and information materials facilitating career planning for individuals;
create a system of training and vocational development in the sphere of career counselling;
raise social awareness of the importance of continuing individual career planning aimed at improving employability on the changing labour market.

Responses to the questionnaire survey also indicated that several countries hoped to achieve social equity and inclusion goals through a propitious use of guidance services, both in the education and the labour market sectors. In education, many argued that guidance could help identify and remotivate under-achieving students, significantly lowering dropout rates and 'catching' those who slip through the net in order to move them back into education and training so as to improve their chances of labour market integration (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, Spain, Latvia, Norway, Romania). Indeed, some, like the United Kingdom through its 'focusing agenda', may have directed their services to cater for the needs of the disadvantaged and at risk to such an extent that the issue has been raised as to whether other, 'regular' students might be missing out on their entitlement. Similar concerns have been expressed in Spain. In contrast, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic were the only European countries to promote guidance for another sort of 'minority group', those with special gifts and talents. Several countries have programmes to encourage female students to consider courses and employment that are traditionally associated with males, thus addressing the problem of gender segmentation in the labour market.

Guidance services in the labour market sector are, in most European countries, often predicated on catering for the needs of marginalised groups and the disadvantaged, though concerns are also expressed that some of these categories are the most reluctant to use administrative services (e.g. France, Slovenia). Such groups include young people who leave school without any qualifications, and who are neither at school nor at work (all countries), long-term unemployed (all countries), those rendered vulnerable due to the restructuring of the enterprise they work for (e.g. Austria, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom), women returners (e.g. Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain), those living in remote areas (e.g. Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Spain), the disabled (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Spain), ethnic minorities, immigrants and asylum seekers (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden), gypsies (Czech Republic, Romania), prisoners and ex-prisoners (e.g. Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania), drug abusers (e.g. Finland), ex-servicemen (e.g. Denmark, Germany, Greece, Lithuania), and prostitutes (e.g. Italy). Indeed, a common theme across many country reports is that, as in the education sector, groups that are not considered to be 'at risk' are not being adequately catered for. Service gaps typically include young people and adults who are neither jobseekers nor students, employed workers needing information and advice in relation to job mobility, and older workers. Most CEE reports also refer to guidance as a strategy for poverty reduction.


1 There are, of course, conflicting voices in the debate on LLL and on the 'education gospel'-as Grubb (2002a) refers to it-that it promotes, particularly in relation to the assumption that economic success necessarily entails a high ability society. Suffice it to mention the argument that there is a low skills path to development (Brown, Green and Lauder, 2001), and that numerous industry sectors-including the knowledge-intensive-not only retain but generate low-knowledge, low-skill, neo-Taylorised jobs simultaneously with knowledge-rich jobs (Borghans and de Grip, 2001; Casey, 2002).

2 Student mobility is a major phenomenon, within Europe and the world at large. Ute Lanzendorf and Ulrich Teichler (2002) report that in the latter half of the 1990s, the number of foreign students in EU Member States who came from other EU Member States grew by 40% reaching nearly 270 000 in 1999/2000. Furthermore, with almost 490 000 students from outside the EU, the number of non-EU students studying in Europe had increased by approximately 15% during the same period.

090201 - Broad goals

Please see 0902 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090202 - Objectives and goals of national policy.

Please see 0902 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090203 - Major social and economic influences

Please see 0902 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090204 - Major issues for policy makers

At its meeting in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Council outlined its aspiration for the European Union to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society in the world by the year 2010. Engagement in lifelong learning (LLL) was identified as one of the key ways through which such a goal could be achieved. Following the publication of the Memorandum on Lifelong Learning (European Commission, 2000), a broad consultation process was launched across Europe in order to identify coherent strategies and practical measures that could foster LLL for all. On the basis of consultation input, the European Commission issued a Communication entitled Making a European AREA of Lifelong Learning a Reality (European Commission, 2001a) that was adopted by the European Council (Education, Culture, Youth), and followed this up with the establishment of a working group which produced a European Report on Quality Indicators for Lifelong Learning (European Commission, 2002a).

Both the Communication and the Report reinforce the lead given by the Memorandum, which pinpointed Information, Guidance and Counselling (henceforth guidance) as one of the key components of national strategies for the implementation of lifelong learning policies and a priority area for action at European and national levels. There is widespread consensus that meeting the challenge of ensuring easy access to good quality information and guidance about learning and working opportunities throughout Europe and throughout citizens' lives is central to the construction of a competitive, knowledge-based economy, to the advancement of active employment and welfare policies, and to social inclusion. Recently, this same view was reiterated by another Europe-wide consultation process, which led to the White Paper on A New Impetus for European Youth (European Commission, 2002b).

The role of guidance in contributing to several policy objectives of the EU has been highlighted in a spate of EU policy documents, with guidance being defined in the LLL Communication as a range of activities designed to assist people to make decisions about their lives (educational, vocational, personal) and to implement those decisions. Both the Council (Education, Youth and Culture) Resolution and the Copenhagen Declaration of 2002 on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training call for: 'Strengthening policies, systems, and practices that support information, guidance and counselling in the Member States, at all levels of education, training and employment, particularly on issues concerning access to learning, vocational education and training, and the transferability and recognition of competences and qualifications, in order to support occupational and geographical mobility of citizens in Europe'. The expectations from guidance - both as a service to the individual and as a public policy tool, and across the education as well as the labour market sectors - are many (see Table: Guidance in European Commission documents). Guidance, for instance, is promoted as one of the activities that operationalise the strategic goals set by the Council of the EU for the Future Concrete Objectives for Education and Training Systems in Europe (2001c), largely by assisting in broadening access to lifelong learning, increasing recruitment to scientific and technical studies, and motivating young people and adults to participate in and to continue learning. Elsewhere, guidance is upheld as an effective mechanism for facilitating cross-sectoral learning pathways that help to improve the overall coherence of available learning (European Commission, 2001b). The Commission's communication on Investing Efficiently in Education (2003) acknowledged the role of guidance in improving matching and retention throughout the education and training sector.

In the labour market, the Commission and the Member States also look- to the guidance field for support in tackling three main obstacles hindering cross-border access to the EU labour market, namely inadequate occupational mobility, low geographical mobility, and fragmentation of information and lack of transparency of job opportunities. Guidance is perceived as having a strategic role to play, particularly if it provides wider access to information, is more transparently and coherently organised, and is more present in the workplace, where guidance services are still largely absent (European Commission, 2001a, 2002c). In another document, considering the role of the European public employment services in the labour market, the European Commission (2002e) highlights the role of guidance in supporting occupational mobility and flexibility among jobseekers and those already in employment. Similarly, guidance is called upon to assist in the Union's goals of increasing labour force participation and of promoting active ageing by creating a supportive environment in an effort to integrate the inactive, the unemployed and older workers into the work force (European Commission, 2002d).

Table: Guidance in European Commission documents
A review of recent developments in key EU policy documents (see McCarthy, 2002) shows that guidance has a broad appeal as a mechanism that facilitates the attainment of a number of central and inter-related EU policy goals. Guidance, duly reconfigured to cater for new realities - including non-linear, multiple entry points into education, training and work across time (lifelong) and space (Europe-wide) - is called upon to:
(a) accompany the citizen throughout life, supporting transitions and promoting the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to be active contributors to, and participants in, the learning society/economy;
(b) connect clients with local, regional, national and European educational and occupational opportunities;
(c) be impartial while at the same time fostering science and technology as an attractive educational and occupational pathway;
(d) enhance social inclusion, through re-engaging reluctant learners in educational and training tracks, and through acting as job broker on behalf of the unemployed;
(e) present up-to-date information that responds to client and employer needs, is transparent, user-friendly, and enables consolidation of knowledge across the educational and labour market sectors;
(f) cater for the individual and for targeted groups (e.g. women returners, persons with disability, long-term unemployed, unqualified school leavers, immigrants) in a way that responds to their particular needs;
(g) foster a personality package in clients that is functional to the labour market - including flexibility, mobility, entrepreneurship, and so on;
(h) establish itself more firmly within sites other than the school and the public employment service, including places of leisure and of work;
(i) network with NGOs, voluntary and community-based providers in order to more effectively respond to clients with specific needs, including minority groups for instance;
(j) exploit more effectively the potential of ICT in order to attain many of the objectives stated above - including transparency, accessibility, permeability and connectivity - and to encourage clients to engage more proactively in constructing educational and occupational life projects;
(k) mobilise itself more professionally, in terms of improved pre-service and in-service training, and in terms of developing a set of sound quality indicators that are promoted and benchmarked across Europe.

Much has already been done to guide and support the process of reflection and change in conceptualising and renewing the delivery and practice of guidance. In the LLL Communication, for instance, guidance workers will find several insights to inform their deliberations on how guidance can rise to the challenge of re-imagining its role in supporting the Knowledge Society. The guidance profession is, in particular, encouraged to develop strong partnerships with learning providers, to develop insights into the demand for learning to raise awareness of the benefits of learning and encourage diversification of studies and non-traditional career and learning choices and to facilitate access to learning opportunities through acting as a key interface between learning needs and the learning on offer and by helping learners find their place in increasingly complex learning systems In addition, the Commission has tabled pointers that may be useful in identifying quality indicators, with a view to benchmarking those aspects of guidance that could be promoted Europe-wide as worthy of emulation (European Commission, 2002a).

The Commission with the Member States has also provided a range of funding opportunities to sustain the upgrading and up-dating efforts of guidance policies, systems and practices through European collaboration. European Social Fund resources, for instance, have been allocated to the training of guidance workers in a number of innovative projects. The Commission has promoted and supported a European dimension in guidance through its programmes such as Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, and Phare, enabling the exchange of good practice Europe-wide, and the further training of guidance workers. It has supported such initiatives as the formulation of the European CV, the development of Ploteus as the EU's Internet portal of learning opportunities1, and the mobilisation of the Euroguidance2 network as a source of information, responding to the needs of guidance workers to be familiar with other countries' education, training, guidance and labour market systems and programmes. Similarly, a EURES website, linking all public employment services in the Member States, is being developed with EU funding to ensure that information about skills shortages and surpluses per country and per region is more transparent and more easily accessible. Finally, as part of the follow-up to the Education Council's Resolutions on LLL and on enhanced European cooperation in VET, as well as in support of the Objectives Process for Education and Training Systems in Europe, the Commission has established an Expert Group on Lifelong Guidance with a broad mandate to contribute to policy development in the guidance field in Europe3.


1 For further details, consult the Ploteus website:http://europa.eu.int/ploteus/portal/home.jsp

2 Euroguidance is the network of organisations/guidance centres in EU Member States, EEA and future Member States, funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme which was originally established under the Petra programme in 1992, and which inter alia organises transnational placement programmes for guidance practitioners in participating countries known as the Academia project. The Commission's Expert Group on Lifelong Guidance has identified close to 100 projects related to guidance that have received funding support through the various programmes of the EU, and most notably through Leonardo.

3 The first meeting of the Expert Group on Lifelong Guidance took place in December 2002. The Expert Group, set up by DG Education and Culture, and acting in support of the Objectives follow-up process, has the mandate to: (a) develop a common understanding of basic concepts and underlying principles for guidance; (b) reflect on the quality of guidance provision with a view to developing common guidelines and quality criteria for accreditation of guidance services and products from a citizen/consumer perspective, taking into account different policy contexts; (c) reflect on the European dimension of guidance for education, training and employment systems, in particular the convergence of existing European networks and structures in the field of information, guidance and counselling; (d) consider how best the guidance needs of groups at risk of social exclusion can be addressed; (e) consider the role of guidance in broadening access for citizens to lifelong learning, in motivating them to participate and continue in learning; (f) consider the links between education, training and working life, in particular the development of education/workplace guidance partnerships for mutual learning.

090205 - Recent initiatives

Please see 0902 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0903 - Policy instruments for steering services

Guidance is defined in various ways across Europe (see Cedefop 1999, 2003, for instance). But essentially, the term is used to refer to a set of inter-related activities that have, as a goal, the structured provision of information and assistance to enable individuals and groups, of any age and at any point throughout their lives, to make choices related to educational, training and occupational trajectories and to manage their life paths effectively. Often, guidance cannot be represented as a discrete activity or input, but tends to be embedded in other contexts, including learning activities of various kinds. Most of the guidance survey reports implicitly or explicitly conceptualise guidance as a pedagogical activity (see Table: Definitions of-and roles for-guidance)1 - a view they share with the Commission in that the latter refers to guidance workers in a LLL context as learning facilitators who enable the acquisition of knowledge and competences by establishing a learning environment (2001a). If we had to draw a composite picture of guidance workers as represented in the different country reports, then it would appear that counsellors facilitate a learning relationship by making available to clients useful and usable information about:

(a) their own personal resources (in terms of abilities, interests, aspirations, ambitions, aptitudes - all of which can be clarified through an increasing range of assessment tools);

(b) educational, training and labour market opportunities (in terms of availability at local, regional, national and European levels; in terms of possible flows within and between pathways; in terms of options that each choice opens up; in terms of equivalence in certification - including accreditation of prior experiential learning - as a passport to various courses and jobs; in terms of what different occupational families and individual jobs entail, both in the demands they make and the experiential and remunerative rewards they offer; and in terms of developing entrepreneurial and self-employment capacities).

Most importantly, guidance workers can provide training in the skills that clients need to integrate and manage this information, and to use it to clarify and further their life goals - though this particular input by counsellors was not highlighted to any great extent by respondents to the survey. Many did note, however, that as with all pedagogical relationships, there is an ethical dimension in delivering guidance services, where a professional code of conduct provides a context for the safeguarding of the client's best interests. This dimension is particularly strong when clients suffer from specific physical or social disadvantages. Indeed, one of the most prominent images of guidance workers collectively portrayed by several of the country reports is that they are not simply technocratic functionaries serving as a vehicle for information dissemination1. Many in fact reported a discomfort when conflicts arose between the bureaucratic and the professional demands of their job, particularly in the context of public employment offices. In the best of cases, guidance workers consider themselves as empowering and networked nodes, who use their information of - and contacts with - the education and labour market to facilitate the social inclusion of those at risk, and to support all clients in the crystallisation and pursuit of life goals, in their search for more meaningful, fulfilling and dignified living, and in active citizenship.

Table: Definitions of-and roles for-guidance
Defining guidance in both the school and labour market sector in Greece and in French-speaking Belgium:
In Greece, Law 2525/1997 defines guidance in terms of its contribution to educational goals and its relevance to addressing socioeconomic problems. Specifically, it charges not only guidance services but the whole school with the responsibility of helping students (a) explore and match their personal traits, abilities and skills, interests and plans for the future with contemporary opportunities and realities; (b) make wise decisions regarding their educational and vocational options; (c) learn about the world of work and the present working environment; and (d) learn how to find, process and use information. Royal Decree 405/1971, article 29, establishes that in the labour market sector, the goals for guidance are to provide information on vocational training opportunities, to support young people and adults in making decisions regarding their training options, to assist them in finding placements in apprenticeships and continuous vocational training, to help clients develop job-seeking skills, and to place them in employment.
In French-speaking Belgium, a group of around 30 members from the different sectors represented in the Education and Training Council produced the Avis 78 about guidance, information and counselling in June 2002, and built on a 1992 Unesco document to define guidance as an activity which 'enables individuals to become aware of their personal characteristics and to develop these in view of the choices that have to be made in education, training, and work, in all the different stages of their lives, where the development of the individual goes hand in hand with the responsibilities towards the community.
Defining school guidance in Iceland:
A key report on guidance for the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture defined school guidance with reference to four main functions, namely:
(a) Preventive: with guidance staff carrying out research, referring, making suggestions of organisational changes, and offering preventive counselling to groups and individuals;
(b) Curative: with guidance staff assisting in finding solutions to personal problems that hinder individual pupils from gaining learning and growth from their educational experience;
(c) Informative: with guidance staff gathering and giving educational and vocational information, individually or through the career education programme in the school, either as a teacher or as a consultant to teachers; and
(d) Developmental: with guidance staff providing individual pupils with assistance in exploring educational attainment and vocational interests, and enhancing understanding on how these elements come into consideration in the decision-making and career-planning process.
Defining guidance in the labour market in Portugal:
Guidance in the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training - IEFP (Labour Ministry, Portugal) has, as a main objective, the enhancement of individual development through different intervention strategies which take into account the needs and potential of each individual. This is achieved through:
Supporting the design and implementation of a personal and professional life project that is based on self-knowledge and on knowledge of opportunities in the surrounding environment. Guidance seeks to enhance decision-making skills, as well as transition management skills.
Enhancing the acquisition or development of attitudes and personal competences which expand the individual's abilities to relate to and act in socioeconomic scenarios marked by change.
Support clients through educational counselling, developing interventions that target the behavioural and cognitive domains.

Countries used different terms to refer to the persons performing this complex and multidimensional activity that we are here calling guidance. In the education sector, for instance, we often find reference to guidance counsellors (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Greece, France, Iceland, Ireland)3, information or documentation specialists (e.g. Greece), pedagogic advisers (e.g. Bulgaria), career education officers (e.g. Iceland), study counsellors (e.g. Finland), career path teachers and school godmothers (e.g. Czech Republic), learning path counsellors (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium) and education route officers (e.g. the Netherlands). In the labour market sector and in enterprises, those carrying out a guidance function can be referred to as employment counsellors/advisers, case managers (e.g. Greece, France, Malta), industrial psychologists (e.g. France), andragogues, defectologists (e.g. Slovenia), guidance technicians (e.g. Spain), skills auditors (e.g. France), mobility advisers (e.g. the Netherlands), mentors and coaches (e.g. Iceland), employment consultants (e.g. Finland), and portfolio officers (e.g. the Netherlands). Sometimes, these differences are of no great moment, and can be explained in terms of the peculiarities of the translation from the mother tongue to English. Different terminology may also, however, signal different approaches to guidance, what ought to be emphasised in the different elements that constitute the role, and differences in what counsellors actually do when they perform their job. In England, for instance, the government's attempt to draw a distinction between advice (referring to the provision of a broad platform of information and general advice) and guidance (referring to more in-depth interventions) was contested, because it was seen as an attempt to restructure the boundaries between individual and government responsibility, and as a strategy to ration resources.

In the context of this report, one important terminological distinction that needs to be drawn is that between guidance about personal issues - often captured by the use of the word counselling, a term which tends to denote a more directly therapeutic function - and educational or career guidance. Many respondents to the guidance survey noted that it was difficult to disentangle the two terms. This is partly because clients themselves do not necessarily draw the distinction between guidance for different aspects of life tasks which they experience holistically; partly because life challenges are, by their very nature, complex affairs that impact on a variety of overlapping concerns in a seamless fashion; and partly because guidance services targeting the different aspects of life concerns and transitions are often delivered by the same person or category of professional.

It is important to note, however, that for the purpose of this survey, country experts were advised to focus on educational and occupational guidance, as far as this was possible4. The formalisation of the distinction, in the education sector, between guidance on the one hand and counselling on the other, has become an issue in some countries (e.g. Ireland, Malta, Norway), with some proposing to have two distinct categories of personnel catering for the different areas, each with its own training and certification route, delivering different, if overlapping, sets of competences. Indeed, the Netherlands has already adopted this option. Most countries have however preferred to keep all three guidance functions together, providing a complementary array of specialised services to which a client can be referred (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Greece, Portugal). This debate is important because several countries have noted that personal counselling issues are crowding out career guidance (e.g. Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia). Indeed, Norway's school counsellors report that they spend as much as 80% of their time on personal guidance issues. One reason for the focus on counselling may be that more and more young people play out their frustrations in the context of the school. The psychology background of many guidance workers in schools - and the fact that in many cases most are women - may also arguably tend to reinforce the focus on nurturing and therapeutic functions, as against labour market guidance functions, particularly in schools.

In some European countries, guidance is defined as a right for all citizens, and is entrenched in law. CEE countries tend to have only recently introduced references to guidance in their education or labour market legislative frameworks (e.g. Romania in 1995; Latvia in 1998, 1999 and 2002; Bulgaria in 1999 and 2001; Estonia and Hungary in 2000), both because career guidance is innately linked to open market economic systems, and also because much recent policy-making in these countries has tended to be accession-driven, entailing processes of emulation of what is considered to be good practice in older Member States. Some countries - such as Cyprus and Malta, for instance - do not have references to guidance in their laws as yet, though they may have detailed service guidelines. Some laws only refer to guidance briefly, while others are quite detailed, contributing to the articulation of a definition of the roles and responsibilities in the field.

Many of the countries participating in the guidance review note that the key providers/funders of guidance services are Ministries of Education and Ministries of Labour. Other Ministries are sometimes involved. In Flemish-speaking Belgium, the Ministry for Home Affairs, Culture, Youth and Civil Service, the Ministry for Economy, Foreign Policy and e-Government and the Ministry for Health and Welfare work alongside Education and Labour and assist in the provision of guidance services for special groups, including immigrants, refugees, disabled persons, and so on. In Finland, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health supports guidance services to special groups, including the handicapped, the mentally ill, drug abusers, and so on; Romania offers some of its guidance services under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Health; while the Czech Republic monitors guidance services offered by employers and employers' association through the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Most guidance provision, however, occurs in the education and labour market sectors, and much of the provision is catered for by the state, with the private sector having limited involvement. Increasingly, though, European countries report a wider range of settings for the delivery of guidance services, which they provide in an ever-growing variety of ways. By definition, then, guidance is becoming more ubiquitous, as a consequence of both demand (information and advice being increasingly needed to negotiate more complex and multivaried pathways) and supply (given the penetration of both ICT and other communications media in everyday lives).

Guidance services are offered by a very wide array of workers. Some have strong educational backgrounds, with foundation degrees in a range of subjects that typically include psychology, education, social sciences, and economics. Increasingly, guidance practitioners follow up their undergraduate studies with specialised training in guidance, though this is far from being the case across all of Europe. Country reports note that the knowledge base and range of competences required of guidance workers are broadening to reflect the educational, occupational and lifelong learning agendas in most countries. They also note that, increasingly, para-professional staff as well as a variety of stakeholders are providing elements of guidance services, partly in response to a heightened demand for service, and partly because ICT is changing the way services are delivered. All in all, there is a trend for guidance to be increasingly - if often implicitly - defined as a skilled profession demanding a specific and advanced knowledge and competence base.

Guidance has, in the past, tended to be criticised for helping to cool out categories of individuals and groups from educational pathways into shorter, vocationally-oriented tracks, thus contributing to the reproduction of class- and ethnic-based inequalities (Cicourel and Kitsuse, 1963; Watts, 1996b). Most of the country responses make a point of distancing themselves from such a use of guidance, and instead centre their definition of - and goals for - the service around the needs of the individual. Sweden has guidelines for those working in compulsory schools specifically charging counsellors to work against any restrictions on the pupil's choice of study or vocation that are based on gender or social or cultural background. Luxembourg opts for a view of guidance that helps individuals realise their potential, and to make satisfying educational and occupational choices. This, according to the Luxembourg survey response, is in contrast with the traditional view of guidance, whose aim was to sort and stream students and to adjust them to the perceived realities of the labour market. The German respondents note that good guidance is always a 'delicate balance between aspiration and realism', and it is at its best when it 'celebrates those aspirations which defeat supposed realities, and which are a dynamic force in the labour market'. In some countries (e.g. Denmark, Finland, France, Malta, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden), there is a tension in the way guidance is defined in education, as against the way it is defined in the labour market sector, with the former encouraging and highlighting the 'aspirations' of their clients, and the latter underscoring the 'realism' that clients must have when considering constrained options in employment.

Perhaps understandably, CEE countries tend to be particularly firm in emphasising the priority of the individual over the needs of the social or economic system. For the Czech Republic, for instance, guidance has the responsibility of optimising opportunities for personal self-fulfilment when clients come to choose an ideal educational and career path, and to providing them with strategies to deal with specific situations in their personal and occupational lives so that such self-fulfilment is attained.

Despite a strong emphasis on the individual, however, all countries also noted that, in addition to serving the individual, guidance had a responsibility to address several public policy objectives. In Portugal, for instance, career guidance is understood as 'a means of assisting individuals in constructing and developing personal career plans involving finding employment or re-employment and career development satisfactory to the individual and society, thus facilitating the exercise of full citizenship' (Ministry of Social Security and Labour). On their part, Danes, while carefully defining guidance as a 'soft steering instrument' in a context where the individual is highly valued, and where the goal is to widen the range of personal choice, consider that in policy terms guidance can be seen in three main ways: (a) as a mechanism for making the education system work, (b) as a mechanism for managing the education system's relationship with the labour market, and (c) as a mechanism for supporting LLL and sustained employability for all.


1 Most examples included in tables in this report are meant to illustrate 'good' or interesting examples of practice, though caution must be used in defining what is 'good', given that such a normative position tends to obscure the fact that successful practice is heavily dependent on context. The strategy of advertising 'best practice' should be placed within the context of the recent-and promising-policy instrument in the EU, i.e. the 'open method of coordination', which entails on-going national level experimentation, combined with EU-level monitoring, the exchange and publicising of good practice, and the activation of the social partners and civil society in policy formation, comparison and critique. The open method of coordination has increasingly served as a vehicle for policy development, particularly in the areas of employment policy and social inclusion policy (Overdevest, 2002).

2 A strong strand in the guidance/counselling tradition connects with critical humanistic approaches that have their roots in Enlightenment philosophy, and in critical theory in particular. Such a strand is predicated in three tenets. According to Aloni (1999), the first is philosophical, 'consisting of a conception of [the human] as an autonomous and rational being and a fundamental respect for all humans by virtue of being endowed with freedom of will, rational thinking, moral conscience, imaginative and creative powers'. The second tenet is sociopolitical, 'consisting of a universal ethics of human equality, reciprocity, and solidarity and a political order of pluralistic, just and humane democracy'. The third tenet is pedagogical, 'consisting in the commitment to assist all individuals to realise and perfect their potentialities and 'to enjoy', in the words of Mortimer Adler, 'as fully as possible all the goods that make a human life as good as it can be'.

3 Throughout the report, a list of countries that are examples of the point being made is placed in brackets. In the report analysis phase, care was taken to be as comprehensive as possible in noting country clusters around trends and categories. For the purpose of the report, and for practical reasons, only those countries that best exemplify a trend or a particular point are placed in brackets.

4 The present report follows this focus, and uses the generic terms 'guidance' to refer to both educational and occupational guidance. When it is necessary to draw a distinction, the terms 'educational guidance' on the one hand, and 'career guidance' or 'occupational guidance' on the other, are employed.

090301 - Importance of legislation

Please see 0903 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090302 - Instruments for political steering

Please see 0903 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090303 - Government regulations

One of the key ways by means of which the state exercises its role as strategic manager of public services is through legislative mechanisms. These can stipulate the nature, extent, frequency and quality of a service that must be offered, setting it out as an entitlement for all, or for specific groups of citizens. The guidance survey suggests that there is some variety in the manner in which legislation is used as a policy steering mechanism in the guidance field in European countries, when it is used at all. There is also variety within the same country, since there are cases where legislation for the education sector refers to guidance, while that for the labour market does not, or vice versa. The range of ways in which guidance is regulated in the countries surveyed include the following:

  • number of countries do not have formal legislation regarding vocational guidance, but prefer to manage it within the context of civil service rules and regulations of the respective education and labour departments. Cyprus and Malta are examples of this. Occasionally, job descriptions for career guidance personnel have the force of formal regulations, thus serving to establish standards (e.g. Romania);
  • other countries have detailed goals set out for career guidance within the context of national strategies concerning employment and human resource development, or of national development plans (e.g. Estonia, Latvia, Poland);
  • another way of regulating guidance is through sections within Education Acts, or laws concerning VET or regulating the provision of services within the Ministry of Labour, or a law embracing a variety of aspects of public service, where the right of citizens to vocational counselling is formally declared (e.g. French-speaking Belgium, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania). Given the context in which such regulations are articulated, entitlement is set out in very general terms (e.g. 'pupils have the right to necessary guidance on education, careers, and social matters', or 'students should have access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices'). Similarly general are the goals for the service that is to be offered (e.g. enabling students to choose occupations, facilitating successful professional development of individuals, reducing unemployment and poverty, improving adaptability and promoting entrepreneurship);
  • more rarely, legislative measures address vocational guidance specifically (e.g. Denmark, Lithuania). In these cases, the laws are likely to be more detailed, outlining the types of services to be provided, the code of ethics to be followed in making provision, and the quality standards to be met. Some even outline the new delivery structures that need to be established in order to implement the provision mandated in the law (e.g. Bulgaria, Slovakia).

All but the most recent laws tend to fail to articulate guidance within the broader picture of lifelong learning, and consequently tend to emphasise services aimed at young people in education, and at unemployed youth and adults. Those countries that have passed laws more recently tend to also refer to guidance services for adults in employment, and to older workers (e.g. Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, Poland).

Much of the legislation reported in the country surveys tends to emphasise input, and is provision-driven. In other words, the legal framework obliges entities to provide a service, but does not empower citizens by specifying their entitlements to the service. There is a qualitative difference here, for as they stand, many guidance providers are not subject to the kind of accountability measures which, from the point of view of the client, ensure minimum standards. In addition, whereas client rights are not specified in such a way that entities failing to provide the service, or to provide it adequately, are susceptible to legal action, there is a risk that provision guarantees may flounder. Such is the case with many of the CEE countries, which report a serious lag in the implementation of recently promulgated laws concerning guidance (e.g. Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland). Greece reports a similar situation.

090304 - Mechanism for coordination

Collaboration between government departments and agencies - normally those with responsibility for education and the employment portfolios - is important because career guidance relates directly to both, and requires the reciprocal input of both. This is true in relation to technical matters - such as in the provision of information in a form that can be consolidated so as to maximise awareness of opportunities for clients - and in relation to the capacity to follow and support the pathways clients take through learning and working. Collaboration between government and non-government stakeholders is also very important. Much can be gained, from the point of view of the client, if the respective knowledge, insights and accumulated experience of the different providers and interested parties, as well as of the clients themselves, are brought together. Such dynamic synergy can serve to provide a multidimensional and multiperspective picture, and a sounder basis for developing a policy vision and for implementing it strategically. Key outputs could include the elaboration of quality standards for career information and guidance provision, common approaches to customer/user involvement and protection, and common marketing and branding of services.

Country reports provided a range of examples illustrating how mechanisms are slowly being developed in order to ensure improved cross-sectoral dialogue, and to link key players at the local, regional, national and even European levels. These are presented here in terms of four levels:

  1. At the first, inter-ministerial level, cooperation has, in some cases, been consolidated through the setting up of an inter-departmental structure bringing different government portfolios together. Their role is usually to ensure that governmental policies are clearly articulated, mutually agreed and supported, and effectively presented at national forum level. Examples of this strategy are the inter-departmental working groups on guidance in the Netherlands and in Norway, the Working committee for job placement and career guidance in Hungary, as well as the United Kingdom's National information, advice and guidance board within the Department for Education and Skills.
  2. At the second, national level, cross-sectoral collaboration has been reinforced through the creation of forums which include both government and stakeholder representatives, as well as key partners in service provision (see Table: National guidance forums in Finland, Bulgaria...and a regional guidance forum in Austria). Examples include: Finland's National advisory group; Germany's Alliance for jobs, training and competitiveness; Hungary's National career orientation council; Iceland's Educate group; Poland's National forum for vocational guidance; and the United Kingdom's Guidance council. Denmark used to have a National council for educational and vocational guidance (R.U.E), but this was recently dissolved, although it is to be replaced by a new structure within the Ministry of Education. Italy's National guidance committee has also been dissolved, but there are now plans to revive it, as its absence generated coordination problems in service provision. Other countries reported plans to establish a national guidance forum, as the lack of collaboration among the different providers is leading to various problems. A case in point is Latvia, where the document setting out a vision statement for vocational guidance, issued in 1994, envisages the setting up of a Guidance coordination council.
  3. Similar structures, or chapters/sub-committees of national forums, are probably also needed at the regional and/or local level, though this depends on the scale of each country, as well as on its policy regimes and the extent of decentralisation.
  4. At another level, strategic management of guidance and information services across the EU Member States has much to commend it. The European Commission in its Communication Making a European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality (2001a) proposed the setting up a European Guidance Forum of policy-makers and social partners to develop common policy approaches in the field. An expert group on lifelong guidance has been established by the European Commission.

Table: National guidance forums in Finland, Bulgaria...and a regional guidance forum in Austria
In Finland key stakeholders engage in wide-ranging and many-sided cooperative ventures, and several organisations are interested in issues connected with counselling and guidance. A national advisory group was set up on the initiative of the Finnish Euroguidance centre (CIMO) in 1999. It brings together the national authorities and other key players in the field of guidance and counselling, ensures coordination, and seeks to create and exploit synergies among the different actors operating in the field. In addition, CIMO has its own advisory council representing different ministries, universities and polytechnics, business and industry, as well as student and youth organisations.
Bulgaria established a National agency for vocational education and training - NAVET - as a specialised government body for the accreditation and licensing of activities in VET as well as for coordinating institutions related to VET and guidance. The managing council of NAVET includes 24 representatives: 8 each for the respective Ministries, for employers' organisations, and for employee organisations.
In the province of Styria, Austria, a strong regional network has been established to facilitate the transition of young people to work. The network includes representatives from the Styrian provincial government, educational institutions, employer organisations, individual companies, trade unions, and the PES. The Berufsfindungsbegleiter project aims to improve young people's access to firms, advice, and information.

090305 - Barriers to coordination and networking

Despite the policy attractions of different forms of devolution as well as of stimulating provision through the market, the state still has a crucial role to play in the strategic overall management of such public goods as guidance. Indeed, the more guidance is delivered through a variety of providers in a decentralised system, the more critical the coordinating role of the state becomes. Such coordination is necessary to ensure that all citizens have equitable access to services that are delivered in a timely and professional manner across their lifespan, in a way that supports and furthers their life goals. The responsibility of the state to ensure adequate provision and standards and to address market failures in delivery is intensified in the context of societies which, like European ones, have committed themselves to developing individuals and economies through LLL. Lifelong, and indeed life-wide guidance cannot be strategically delivered unless it is conceived as a networked service, one that is linked to other personal, social and educational services (European Commission, 2001a), and that makes good use of stakeholder input to ensure more effective provision (European Commission, 2002b).

Respondents to the guidance survey made it clear that, despite some important recent initiatives here and there, this kind of determined strategic leadership on the part of the state is still largely missing when it comes to the guidance field. The main obstacle in this regard seems to be the lack of adequate collaboration between: (a) the different government departments and agencies, and (b) the government on the one hand and stakeholders on the other. Underpinning this deficit is the lack of a clearly articulated national policy framework that is both dynamic and adequately resourced. In the case of the ACCs, governments have tended to try to steer policy through legislative measures - cross-sectoral collaboration in Slovenia, for instance, is mandated by law - but have found it difficult to sustain a vision without the follow through of adequate funding. Some CEE countries in particular are also hampered by the lack of expertise within ministries, given the relatively recent introduction of comprehensive guidance services (e.g. Estonia). In the case of other European countries, both members and non-members of the EU, cross-sectoral collaboration is increasingly touted as necessary, but the sheer diversity of services offered at national, regional and local levels, in a policy context which favours decentralisation and local autonomy, has made any form of central steering daunting (e.g. France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain). Several countries claim that it has proved somewhat easier to coordinate the field at a local rather than a regional or national level (e.g. France, Italy, Sweden), though even here, few examples of effective mechanisms which bring together different government as well as non-government stakeholders to debate and resolve policy issues were reported in the survey.

In contrast, several examples were given of how institutional interests, turf-guarding, and sectoral concerns about role and identity have jeopardised the development of concerted policy planning and development in order to ensure the availability of comprehensive, connected, quality services. In the ACCs in particular, some policy-makers have not yet embraced styles of leadership that involve social partnership1. Across the rest of Europe, employers' associations seem to have a more direct involvement in guidance-related issues and services than trade union organisations, whether at the local, regional or national level.

See also 0909.


1 Some EU programmes and initiatives, however, now commonly require social partner involvement in projects, and some of the reports for the ACCs noted that this had stimulated a new trend in fostering such involvement.



0904 - The roles of the stakeholders

See 090404, 090705, 090707, 090708, 090709.

090401 - Roles of employer organisations

Please see 090404, 090705, 090707, 090708, 090709 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090402 - Initiatives by employer organisations

Please see 090404, 090705, 090707, 090708, 090709 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090403 - Frequency of such involvement and at what level it takes place

Please see 090404, 090705, 090707, 090708, 090709 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090404 - Role of trade unions

Trade unions can have a direct and indirect input to, and impact on, guidance services for adults in employment. Indirectly, they may stimulate guidance provision for their members by negotiating for career paragraphs (e.g. the Netherlands) in the collective bargaining process. This is especially critical in contexts where major restructuring and privatisation make redundancies likely, and where information and guidance support systems can be of benefit in directing workers into re-training and alternative employment routes. In addition, some trade unions are themselves providers of guidance services (e.g. Austria, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Spain, Sweden). In most cases, such provision is informal, offered by union staff who have no specific training in the field (e.g. Cyprus, Estonia, Malta, Romania), but whose potential for effectiveness should nevertheless not be underestimated, especially since low-qualified and low-skilled workers are more likely to feel comfortable making use of such services rather than those offered through employer-managed structures. In some countries, unions have become more aware of this potential, and have launched training courses for shop stewards to act as education ambassadors, learning representatives or learning advisors, encouraging workers to access education and training opportunities (e.g. Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom).

090405 - Initiatives by trade unions

Please see 090404, 090705, 090707, 090708, 090709 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090406 - Frequency of such involvement and at what level it takes place

Please see 090404, 090705, 090707, 090708, 090709 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090407 - Encouragement for participation by other organisations

Please see 090404, 090705, 090707, 090708, 090709 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0905 - Target and access

One of the main settings for the delivery of guidance services is - and has been for a long time - the school, and indeed, that is where young people are most likely to first come across formally-provided guidance. Traditionally, school guidance services were likely to be concentrated at the lower secondary level, targeted at students making choices about subject cluster options that opened up educational tracks which, in turn, led to groups or families of occupations. Given the lack of permeability between pathways in traditional education systems, such decisions were often irrevocable, high-stake ones, and guidance was often delivered on the basis of one-to-one personal interviews at the key points where the educational system branched off into different tracks1. Little, if any, educational or occupational guidance was offered at the primary school level, and at a time when further and higher education had not yet become massified, guidance services at this level also were few and far between. Despite the great variety of guidance systems across Europe, this section will show that most countries have moved away from this traditional model of guidance provision, extending the reach of guidance to the different school levels, and providing the services in a richer variety of ways.

The guidance field across Europe is marked by a sense of dynamism and change, with many countries introducing reforms in the services offered in both the education and the labour market sectors. A key impetus for such developments has been the widely accepted notion that lifelong learning is pivotal to the economic prosperity of individual nations and Europe more globally, and that such a conviction has important implications for the restructuring of educational and training systems. In most countries, learning systems are becoming more open, more flexible, and more closely linked. Young people in compulsory and especially post-compulsory education, as well as adults whether employed or unemployed, now have an increasing range of pathways into learning and training. In many countries, the mix-and-match options for access into further education and training are myriad, offering possibilities of full time and part time learning, delivered on site or at a distance, separate from or in conjunction with work commitments, at times and via pedagogical methods that are most suitable for the client. Most importantly, traditional - and largely arbitrary - obstacles to further education are being eradicated, through such practices as the accreditation of prior learning that recognises experience and real competence. As access to education and training becomes more open and democratised, and as options for engagement multiply and become more complex, so too should young people and adults have ready access to transparent and timely information, supported where appropriate by guidance, so that their choices are sound and beneficial to them.

Many of the European countries involved in the survey of policies for career guidance have embarked on a restructuring of their school-based guidance services to bring them more in line with the requirements of a learning society. Notions of lifelong engagement in education and training as well as lifelong careers (rather than lifelong jobs) logically require forms of guidance services that accompany all citizens throughout life, to be drawn upon when required, depending on the information and advice needs of the user, and the opportunities in the employment and training market. It has been argued that the skills required to manage one's 'life career' in a learning society, as well as the personal stance that needs to be adopted, should be inculcated early on in one's schooling (Sternberg, 1997). Such skills generally include a strong 'meta-cognitive' dimension, i.e. the ability to learn how to learn - a complex set of competences that enable individuals to identify their own learning needs, and to manage their own learning (Walbert and Paik, 2000). The image here is that of persons who take control over their own learning, are knowledgeable about the resources that are around them, and know where to get information and advice in order to transform service offers into opportunities that further their life goals. Such skills are particularly invaluable when it comes to the management of one's own career later on in life2. It is clear that guidance has much to offer in this regard, particularly as school-based providers are often trained to help students overcome learning difficulties, and to coach in study skills.

Few European countries, however, reported the presence of formally established guidance services at the 'primary' school level3. Those that have - such as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain - tend to stress psychological approaches that are curative and remedial in nature. Special help is offered to students experiencing difficulties, rather than as part of an overall proactive strategy to encourage sound lifelong learning habits in all pupils, and the skills to manage their progression in learning and work throughout their lives. An initiative by the Greek Pedagogical Institute seems to be particularly promising in this context, since it has developed guidance materials, addressed to students from the kindergarten level up to Grade 12, which teachers can integrate into their lesson plans. Work on career education in primary schools has also been introduced in some countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Denmark). In the Netherlands, some primary schools have introduced guidance-oriented portfolio systems. In Belgium there has been a shift from an predominantly psychological approach in caring for the child, to one that is more aware of, and responsive to, the effects of social, economic and cultural backgrounds in the individual's progression through learning.

Guidance services tend to be offered most intensively at the lower secondary level, often during the last two or three years of compulsory schooling, which is when choices about subject clusters are normally made in most national systems of education. However, there is a clear trend across the 29 countries reviewed to expand guidance services vertically across all grade levels of the lower and upper secondary school, so that it is no longer concentrated at particular cut-off points, but is developmental in orientation. An illustrative case is Finland where, in 2002, the National Board of Education promulgated new national curriculum guidelines which entitled students to access to guidance services throughout their secondary education, whereas previously guidance was only offered during the last three grades of comprehensive schooling.

In most countries, individual, face-to-face guidance still tends to predominate as a mode of service delivery. Particularly in the ACCs and in some of the other European states (e.g. in the education sector in France, Iceland, Portugal, Luxembourg), this may largely be due to the fact that many guidance staff have a background in psychology, a discipline which tends to privilege therapeutic, one-to-one approaches, often aided by psychometric testing and assessment. Many respondents noted the increasing impossibility of guaranteeing student entitlement to services, given staff resources, if student guidance needs were only handled through personal interviews. In some countries, resource allocation is worked out in terms of guidance staff-to-student ratios. Typically, the staff-to-student ratio is quite high (e.g. in Cyprus, Romania and Sweden it can be as high as 1:800; in Bulgaria, Ireland and Malta it is 1:500; in the Netherlands it is 1:300-400; while in Finland, it is 1:272, with trade unions finding this unacceptable and lobbying to bringing down the ratio to 1:200). In others the measure is the amount of time formally allocated for guidance activities per week, which can be as low as one to three hours (e.g. the Czech Republic). Personal guidance has limitations other than those imposed by counsellor-to-student ratios. While the focus on individual self-fulfilment is positive, with guidance being interpreted as an intervention in the process of constructing one's occupational identity on the basis of individual characteristics and aspirations, there is a danger that such an approach tends to obscure the way social and gender experiences structure desires and trajectories.

Group guidance and career education, delivered in, through, or outside the formal curriculum, facilitates the linkage between the personal and the social in the decision-making process, besides ensuring wider access to services. Such an approach is facilitated when, as in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent in Hungary and Malta, a room especially dedicated to guidance activities, furnished with open display units and equipped with relevant information available in print and electronic formats, is available in schools or in guidance centres that are contracted to service schools, as is the case in Flemish-speaking Belgium. Increasingly, the emergent model for career guidance provision is one where face-to-face assistance by guidance counsellors is only one element in a programmed approach to career development and decision-making that also includes group guidance organised around specific themes and issues, career education curriculum delivery, ICT-based assistance, experiential learning in work places and communities, and extensive use of community members such as parents, employers, trade union organisations, and alumni.

The introduction or reinforcement of career education in or across the curriculum to supplement personal interviews was one of the most-often reported developments in the guidance survey4. The 'school-to-work' or 'transition' curriculum, as it has sometimes been referred to [though this is a limited model: many career education programmes start long before the school-leaving stage], may entail a number of elements, often including teaching about work and about further education and training routes, self-awareness, and such transition 'lifeskills' as decision making, self presentation in curriculum vitae and selection interviews, and so on (van Esbroeck, 1997; Sultana, 1997). For reasons noted earlier, most systems target the career education curriculum to students in the last two to three years of lower secondary, though increasingly this is questionable given the increasingly high rates of students moving into further education, and the evidence of the early formation of key attitudes relating to self and the world of work (suggesting the need for early intervention). As noted earlier, guidance services for younger students tend to focus on helping them manage the transition from the primary school and to adapt to the different institutional culture and work demands of secondary schooling (e.g. Cyprus, Italy, Malta, Portugal, the United Kingdom). In stratified education systems which offer different pathways to students according to their academic achievement, those streamed in vocationally oriented tracks are more likely to experience a career education programme than others, who might get less in terms of overall exposure, or in terms of the percentage of time dedicated to occupational, as against educational, decision making (e.g. Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands). There are instances, however, where students in VET are considered to be less needy of career education and guidance since their occupational destinations are considered to be tightly linked to the skills or trades area they have already chosen (e.g. Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia).

Four models of curriculum-based career education delivery can be discerned from the country responses, with some countries adopting more than one model simultaneously. First is the option of offering career education as a separate subject in the curriculum, i.e. by formally allocating the area space in the weekly or semestrial timetable (e.g. Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Romania and Spain). Another option involves embedding career education within a more broadly-based subject, often social studies or personal and social education (e.g. Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland). A third option is for aspects of career education to appear in most or all the subjects of the curriculum (e.g. Denmark, Greece). A fourth option is to have the career programme delivered through seminars and workshops (e.g. France, Malta, Poland), that may be addressed to same-age groups of students, or which may be theme-based and open to students from across several grades. Naturally, in decentralised education systems it is not uncommon for schools in the same country to choose different models for delivering the career education programme (e.g. Austria, Flemish-speaking Belgium, the Czech Republic, Spain, the United Kingdom), or for the same school to use more than one of the four approaches referred to above. Career education may or may not be compulsory, often depending on the policy of the school and the extent to which management values the area. Increasingly, however, national curriculum guidelines mandate career education programmes, occasionally leaving it up to the school to work out the details of provision. This is the case with Flemish-speaking Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. Other countries do not impose an obligation on schools (e.g. Ireland, Luxembourg).

In cases where the career education programme is offered across the curriculum, countries exhibit a range of modalities in which the area is directed and managed. In some cases, regular teachers are simply invited to include career-related themes in their subject, and the decision as to the extent to which they do so, and how, is left entirely up to them. Guidance survey responses suggest clearly that often the outcomes are far from satisfactory, with teachers failing to help students see connections between the different elements of the programme that are dealt with in separate subjects (e.g. Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden). Other countries have a much tighter context for such provision, with specialist guidance staff offering guidelines as well as resources to their colleagues, so that the career education programme is delivered in a more integrated manner (Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom). In Flemish-speaking Belgium, the Centre for Educational Guidance (CLB) can provide assistance to schools in the implementation of cross curricular themes related to educational guidance.

Cross-departmental delivery strategies require a tradition of collegial, school-based curriculum development that is generally still missing in the ACCs, most of which are accustomed to centralised curriculum planning. Few of the ACCs adopt a 'whole-school approach' to guidance. In other European countries, the best practice seems to come from contexts where students are encouraged or required to keep portfolios where they record their career-related learning and experiences (e.g. the 'job passport' in Austria, the 'education log' in Denmark, or the 'career choice passport' in Germany). This encourages students to connect what may initially appear to be disparate inputs by different teachers, and to reflect upon them. The case of Luxembourg highlights the fact that, even in countries where guidance services are still relatively weak, specific innovative projects in one or more schools, within the context of school development planning, can lead to articulation of a whole-school approach that sees guidance at the heart of the school's raison d'etre. In Flemish-speaking Belgium, the cross-curricular approach to guidance is underpinned and followed-up in several ways: not only is curricular co-ordination in relation to guidance mandated by educational law, but it also serves as a quality criteria when inspectors are evaluating schools. It has indeed become so central to the definition of guidance that schools strive to ensure that it is operationalised and in some cases it has become the focus of school-based curriculum development projects and research.

Table: Teaching for entrepreneurship in Malta
The Malta Cooperatives in Schools (Scoops) initiative sets out to teach secondary school students about the world of work in an experiential manner, complementing other aspects of work education provided across the curriculum in such subjects as social studies, religion, home economics, and personal and social education. It provides students with an opportunity to organise themselves into cooperative units to run, manage and market their own creative projects, and to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will help them to identify their occupational strengths and their potential contribution to the local labour market, and to create for themselves a viable self-employment option. They are supported by a team of mentors, specially trained in the setting up and running of cooperatives. The curricular goals for the Scoops project are the following:
Knowledge: about the meaning and value of work; about the duties and the rights of the worker; about safety regulations; on the global economy and its effect on the local economy; on social and political history concerning the Maltese worker; about workers unions and movements; on the Maltese Cooperative Movement; on social benefits of different categories of employees; about the taxation system; about the range of job vacancies available and their requirements; about finding a vacancy; on subsidies and financial schemes; and on work ethics.
Skills: Working in groups and self control in critical times; planning and organisation; developing one's own potential; discussing issues and negotiating deadlocks; time management; project management; evaluation of one's activities; presenting of projects or business plans; finding solutions to problems encountered during work; concentration; detecting dangers and concern for safety at work; interpreting regulations, instructions, orders and directives; choice of one's career; handling an interview; writing of a curriculum vitae and presenting one's portfolio; financial management of one's earnings; keeping up to date with one's field of work; preparation for temporary unemployment; awareness and experience of information technology; literacy, numeracy and operacy.
Attitudes: appreciate that business requires long-term planning; appreciate that motivation in education is important for one's future career; generate respect for all trades and professions; appreciate the need of workers to join groups; appreciate the importance of accountability and initiative; appreciate lifelong education.

Many countries provide 'work shadowing', 'work experience', 'work visits' and forms of work simulation in order to connect their career education programmes more directly and experientially to the world of work. Of course, many secondary level students are already involved in the 'twilight economy' of after-school, weekend and holiday labour, but the jobs they hold, while helping to develop various skills, serve more the purpose of 'earning' than of 'learning'. Structured experiences provided by the school, when well planned and followed up, hold great potential in helping young people understand some of the occupational implications of the educational choices they make, and aspects of working life more generally (Miller, Watts and Jamieson, 1991). Several countries reported that students have between one to two week supervised work placements or 'work tasters' prior to making their choice of subjects. This is the case in Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany (see Table: Work experience programmes in Germany), Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Other countries, notably Austria, French-speaking Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia have similar, though perhaps less extensive, provision. While in many cases the organisation of such activities is not mandatory, and depends on the initiatives taken by individual guidance staff or schools, there are instances where there are strong central policy leads in this direction. Estonia and Latvia, for instance, organise a 'work shadowing day' at a national level on an annual basis.

There is some evidence that these kinds of activities are on the increase, and not only in vocational school settings. Cyprus, for instance, has introduced a one week placement in work contexts for Grade 11 students, and is planning to introduce summer work placements as well. Lithuania has introduced 15 hours of work experience at Grade 11 and another 15 hours at Grade 12. The Moratti draft law is proposing the introduction of work experience in Italian schools. Other countries have developed school programmes that encourage students to set up businesses, helping them learn entrepreneurial skills experientially under the guidance or mentorship of established members of the business community. Latvia, Estonia and Ireland, for instance, participate in Junior Achievement. Ireland and the United Kingdom have the Young Enterprise scheme, while Malta has also developed the Scoops (Coops in Schools) initiative (see Table: Teaching for entrepreneurship in Malta). Sweden and the United Kingdom use mentoring schemes to match adults with young people for various purposes, including coaching in relation to career plans.

Table: Work experience programmes in Germany
Work place visits and work experience in Germany:
Exploratory visits in enterprises are an integral part of vocational orientation in all Lander, and generally involve an element of work experience. Companies are increasingly appreciating the value of this form of contact between schools and industry, and there is a growing number of partnerships between schools and enterprises. Preparation for workplace visits and work experience generally takes placed during the key vocational lessons, but they also increasingly feature in other subjects, such as chemistry, physics, German or geography. As a rule, practical placements last between one and three weeks, and several Lander have published comprehensive teaching guides and didactic support material on practical placements. There are extensive health and safety provisions for legal and insurance-related reasons. In some cases, practical placements can also be spent in other European countries, with the aim of making pupils familiar with the practical side of vocational training and work in other Member States of the European Union.

Guidance services and career education programmes are delivered in schools in one of three ways. They can be wholly school-based, with one or more guidance counsellors working on their own or with a team of professionals that could include psychologists, social workers, and other professionals. Alternatively, they can be provided by an agency based outside the school, which can either be public or private. Finally, there can be a partnership in service provision, which includes both school-based and external input. It appears that the third model is the one that is proving to be most attractive in several European countries.

Those systems which are closer to the wholly school-based models (e.g. Malta) run the risk of having tenuous links with the labour market, and tend to privilege personal and educational rather than career guidance. On the other hand, there were several examples of school guidance systems that call on external agencies to provide the career guidance element. Latvia, for instance, refers students to Professional Career Counselling Centres; in Lithuania, guidance is delivered to students by Labour Market Training and Counselling personnel; students in the Czech Republic, Germany and Luxembourg tend to get guidance service support from the public employment service; in the United Kingdom, strong external support is provided by the Careers Service (or in England by Connexions), a service that helps students in the transition to work process. Such external support from providers who tend to be more knowledgeable about the labour market may help students develop a truer picture of the opportunities and constraints in the world of work. They are also more likely to focus on the provision of occupational guidance. But there may be shortcomings with this model. Providers may tend to emphasise realism at the expense of encouraging aspirations. They may also inadvertently give the message that career guidance is a 'frill', a mere addendum to the more serious business of schooling, and unconnected to core curricular concerns. These risks are reduced if the external agencies are seen as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, school-based provision.

Practically all country reports noted the trend to reinforce school-based guidance provision by involving external partners. In-house partners include form/class teachers and regular subject teachers who teach aspects of the embedded career education curriculum. In some cases (e.g. Latvia) the deputy director in charge of extra-curricular activities has responsibilities for guidance as well. External stakeholder input generally involves employers and representatives of employer organisations, and (less often) of trade unions. They provide information - which they may present in person, or through materials that are print-based or accessible by electronic means and on the web - about different aspects of the world of work during seminars, career fairs, and other curricular and extracurricular activities. Fairs, in particular, have, across most European countries, become an especially important manifestation of such partnerships, and are events that give high visibility to guidance in the community. Employers are also involved in offering students work experience/shadowing placements. Other forms of input are made by the community, including parents, alumni, and members of non-governmental organisations, all of whom may be asked to speak about their own occupational experiences, as well as to focus on specific aspects they have knowledge of in the world of work. Some countries have been particularly successful in forging such partnerships (e.g. Austria, French-speaking Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom). In many others, however, the involvement of external partners tends to be sporadic and dependent on the personal initiatives of individuals, rather than part of any institutionalised mechanism for coordination, delivery and policy-making.

See also 0908.


1 If we accept Boudon's (197--4) elegant model to explain how social inequalities are created through educational systems, which according to him are exacerbated the more cut-off points there are, then guidance provided at such junctures is of great significance to reinforce-or to challenge-institutionalised reproduction forces.

2 Indeed, recent work on human capital (OECD, 2002) suggests that such career management skills may play an important role in economic growth. The OECD study suggests that less than half of earnings variation in OECD countries can be accounted for by educational qualifications and readily measurable skills. A significant part of the remainder may be explained by people's ability to build, and to manage, their skills, including career planning, job-search and other career-management skills.

3 Different national education systems have different ways of defining 'primary' education-for Denmark and Slovenia, for instance, the primary education cycle lasts up to the age of 15.

4 This stands in contrast to trends in the USA, for instance, where, according to Grubb (2002, p. 14), a renewed stress on academic subjects and on high-stakes accountability measures, as well as the decline of traditional forms of VET have led to a diminishing priority being given to career education in the formal curriculum.

090501 - Priorities or target groups

Please see 0905 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090502 - Expression of priorities or target groups

Please see 0905 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090503 - Active steps

Please see 0905 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090504 - Different methods for different groups

While guidance services at the school level are generally offered comprehensively to all, there is also targeted provision for those students who are considered to be 'at risk'. These typically include those who leave school early without any qualifications, and who thus find themselves constantly on the brink between unemployment and unskilled, low paid work, if not petty criminal activity. While several education ministries across Europe have striven to cater for such students - many, for instance, have set up second chance schools - guidance services have not been particularly successful in developing effective strategies to respond to the needs of such young people. As the case of Slovenia suggests, this may be partly due to the fact that guidance services tend to be associated by such youths with the very system they resist or have abandoned - which is why the innovative use in Flemish-speaking Belgium of peer guidance counsellors, particularly when these themselves are ex-school dropouts, may be particularly promising.

The various country responses suggest that the aim of reintegrating such young people within education and/or training programmes as quickly as possible is more likely to be attained if the service is offered outside of the school, but in collaboration with it, either by public employment services, or by community associations with which young people are more likely to identify and feel at home. Public employment services in several of the countries involved in the survey (e.g. France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden), many of them acting under a common understanding of the problem as articulated within the European Employment Strategy, have tended to adopt a broadly similar approach based on early intervention. At-risk youth are offered a range of individualised approaches where personal, educational and occupational guidance are woven together, and where pre-vocational programmes - including courses in basic literacy, in self-confidence building, and in job seeking - help the insertion of clients into training, and eventually into jobs1. Often such interventions are supported by the European Social Fund.

Young people are encouraged to take responsibility for their own futures by drawing up an individual action plan, and in many cases are obliged to work through this with a guidance officer as part of a mutual obligation arrangement. Such early intervention is mandatory in some countries (e.g. Denmark, Italy, Sweden), where the relevant municipal authorities are obliged by law to make contact with, and offer guidance to, young people who have dropped out of schooling and lack any formal qualifications. In the best cases, public employment services as well as community associations work hand-in-hand with guidance staff from schools in order to ensure that resources are pooled in the interests of young people at risk.

See also 090706.


1 It is important to note that this is a deficit approach to at-risk youth, assuming that the failure to be integrated in the labour market is caused principally, if not wholly, by their own lack of specific attributes. There are, of course, other approaches to the issue of youth unemployment, which focus on the demand rather than the supply side of the equation, and therefore on economic and labour market deficits (e.g. Wolf, 2002).

090505 - Individuals required to participate

See 090504, 090705.

090506 - Comprehensive versus targeted approach

Please see 0905 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090507 - Major gaps

Gaps in provision have already been identified in relation to employed adults, particularly those who are neither in education or training, and those who are in small and medium-sized companies which are unlikely to have the capacity to offer guidance services in-house. Other adults who might benefit from career information and guidance services, and who are presently not catered for, are older workers. There are at least two reasons why this group is important. Firstly, from the point of view of the clients themselves, while retirement can be pleasant in many ways, it can also be a challenging time personally, financially, and in terms of consolidating identity and fulfilment around non-remunerated activities. Leisure guidance is in fact part of the rainbow of counselling services that, in a Learning Society, should accompany persons through their full development. It may include elements of educational guidance, given the impressive range of learning opportunities that many European countries make available to their senior citizens, including Universities of the Third Age (e.g. France, Malta), and cultural tourism specifically designed for the retired. Secondly, the provision of guidance services to older workers is also important when seen from the point of view of the state's more direct interests. At one level, there is evidence that active ageing tends to cut down health bills (World Health Organization, 2002).

At a different but related level, Europe's ageing population is posing serious challenges, threatening levels of labour force participation and placing pressures on existing pension provision. One policy reaction across Europe has been to seek to extend the participation of older workers in the labour market (European Commission, 2002e). Guidance could have a role to play in encouraging such participation, and in helping individuals to manage more flexible transitions to retirement.

See also 0907, 090706.

090508 - Services for adults

Table: Lifelong guidance support in Germany, France and Greece
In March 2001, Germany's Alliance for jobs, Training and Competitiveness (comprising the Federal Government, employers' associations and trade unions) made a commitment to improve the framework for LLL within a vocational context. As part of this work, a project is being conducted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) which is looking at, among other things, the concept of educational coaching. This is designed to help workers review their learning needs in relation to the further qualifications and other learning opportunities that are available and their career path plans.
France has developed a great deal of experience and expertise in carrying out skills auditing through its Centres Interinstitutionnel de Bilan de Competences (CIBC). These skill review centres draw up audits for jobseekers and employees wishing to change jobs, and pave the way for further training in order to facilitate employment flexibility. Clients may refer themselves to such centres, or they may be referred by their own employers or other guidance-related agencies.
In Greece, Information and counselling centres for women's employment and social integration have been set up, with the support of EU funding, by the Research centre for gender equality (KETHI). The centres offer services specifically to women, both to those who are unemployed, and to those who are in vulnerable employment sectors and wish to change jobs. The centres have developed a tool for identification of women's needs. Named To Tychero Trifylli (the Lucky Clover), this guidance tool, adapted from one used by French counselling centres, explores the needs of women in three basic categories: personal development, knowledge of the professional sector, and methods of seeking work.
In Portugal, since November 2000, a National system of recognising, validating and certifying prior learning (RVCC) has been implemented through a network of centres. Adults, either employed or unemployed, are offered a three-tiered service, namely information, counselling and complementary training, including the accreditation of competences. Referral services are provided by guidance providers, enterprises and public bodies. By 2006, the network is expected to consist of 84 RVCC centres, present throughout the country in relation to density of population and school levels.

See also 090705, 090707, 090709, 090508, 090404.



0906 - Staffing

The career guidance labour force in Europe is marked by great diversity in the extent and nature of professional training required prior to entry, in the range of competences its members have to master and use on-the-job, in the overlap there is between their role and other roles, in the progression pathways offered, in the salaries it is able to command relative to other professions, and in the status it enjoys among the community it serves. Much of this diversity is evident not only between European countries, but within them as well, indicating that what we have here is a truncated and not fully realised process of professionalisation1.

While career guidance can trace its origins to the early 20th century, it has not yet become professionalised in Europe largely because its ranks draw on other, often more strongly established professions, with which guidance staff might identify more strongly. Typically, career guidance workers have a background in, or spend part or even much of their time as teachers, psychologists, counsellors, information mediators, and human resource specialists. The fact that access to the profession is not strongly regulated also contributes to weak professional framing, as does the lack of collaboration between those who work in education and labour market sectors, which further fragments the field.

The fragmentation and undefined boundaries of the profession partly explain why respondents to the survey of policies for career guidance found it difficult to provide anything but very approximate figures when asked to state the number of guidance-related workers in their respective countries. The overall picture is even more difficult to grasp because several are involved in guidance only on a part-time basis. Keeping in mind these limitations, and the fact that no relevant information was provided by some countries, while others gave only partial information, the total number of staff involved, to a greater or lesser extent, with guidance in the 29 European countries reviewed, is estimated at around 126 000.

Most respondents could not assemble reliable information about the age composition of the career guidance labour force, but all signalled the fact that the profession attracted women in the main - indeed, the percentage is between 80 and 95 in Hungary, Iceland, Poland and Romania - though there is a tendency in all countries for women to be less strongly represented in the labour market sector than in the education sector. Such gender clustering in the field could be explained by the fact that the work may be associated with nurturing, and in any case many of the recruits are from psychology, a discipline which also tends to attract women in the main (UNECE and UNDP, 2002). The feminisation of the profession has implications for occupational identity, for the way the field is defined (e.g. a focus on the personal counselling rather than on the labour market analysis aspects of practice), for the degree of unionisation among the practitioners, for the status accorded to the activity by society, and consequently for the salaries and resources it is able to command.

Established professions generally have a clear framework regulating entry and qualification routes leading into clearly defined occupational roles. They are also generally supported by a network of professional associations and training and research organisations. While such boundaries are often used to ensure occupational closure, thus controlling supply in order to ensure competitive wage structures, they nevertheless tend to have a positive effect in enhancing quality service. Many associations are presently involved in harmonising regulatory and qualification equivalence frameworks for their respective professions in order to better exploit the opportunities presented by open EU borders. In contrast, guidance workers who, ironically, are increasingly called upon to facilitate such Europe-wide mobility and 'boundaryless careers', have a most disparate background in terms of training and qualifications (Watts, 1992), which has serious implications for the quality of service that is offered - a point also made in the Commission's report on Quality Indicators for Lifelong Learning (European Commission, 2002a). An attempt to overcome such disparity has been made by Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland, which are working together on a Leonardo da Vinci programme that will lead to equivalence in certification for their career guidance staff. Concern about standards of professional qualifications is particularly justified in the case of several European countries where a person can, in some sectors, offer formal career guidance without having any specific training in the field at all, or where a few hours of in-service training, often offered in-house, are deemed to suffice (e.g. France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg).

Other countries - including many CEE countries - are much more demanding, either requiring or encouraging guidance workers to have a masters degree (e.g. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, Romania), although this may be in psychology rather than in career guidance as such. Specialised masters-level degrees are offered by a number of countries (e.g. Finland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom), but across the whole range of expectations, it is often the case that employers of career guidance staff - and therefore most frequently the state - demand qualifications from what are considered to be fields related to guidance rather than in guidance itself. Often these include psychology, education, sociology, economics and social work. While disciplinary overlaps with career guidance may be evident, there is often no sustained attempt to analyse whether the competences offered during the study period coincide with those required in employment. In most of these cases, the expectation is that career guidance workers learn their skills on the job.

Table: Training guidance staff in France
There are three main types of training in guidance counselling occupations in France:
a higher university-level course, which is full-time and specific to a professional body: guidance counsellor/psychologists of the public education service;
higher education by alternance specific to a professional body, namely ANPE (Agence National pour l'Emploi) counsellors;
university courses opening up prospects of employment in the area of guidance, labour and human resources such as Inetop's (Institut National d'Etude du Travail et d'Orientation Professionnelle) specialist higher education diploma (DESS) in psychology and career guidance. Research is also included in the higher education diploma (DEA) course in industrial psychology and transitions offered by CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers)/Inetop as part of the multipartner doctoral school 'enterprise, labour, employment' (CNAM-University of Marne-la-Vallee). This DEA leads to a doctorate in psychology.
These three types of training are supplemented by continuing training schemes based on mentored practice offered by public organisations such as AFPA (Association pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes) or CAFOC (Centre Academique de Formation Continue) or private agencies.

There is variation in entry requirements and in training both within the education and labour market sectors, and especially between them2. As a general rule, it appears that career guidance staff in education have more opportunities for specialist initial training than their PES counterparts. There are some examples across the European countries surveyed where applicants to school guidance posts are encouraged to have a relevant degree, together with appropriate experience (e.g. French-speaking Belgium, Malta), a specialist diploma or certificate in guidance (e.g. Cyprus, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom), but this does not mean that all guidance staff in school will have followed that training, and many countries indicate that they have substantial numbers of staff without such qualifications - up to a third or a half in some cases - despite the courses available (e.g. Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway). Many education systems are happy to employ guidance staff if they have some years of teaching experience. In most cases, a teaching qualification is a prerequisite, though in Iceland the Association of Guidance Counsellors is lobbying for the removal of such a requirement, and in the Netherlands some schools are employing trained staff who are not teachers. In other countries (e.g. Latvia), psychology degrees may have special modules in guidance.

Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom seem to be among the most advanced in the range and level of initial training they offer, providing a host of specialised short and long courses in career counselling, some of which lead to masters level qualifications. Little information was provided in the guidance survey about how much the in-service training available to teachers focused on the specific needs of guidance staff, or indeed about the training offered to class teachers and others involved in delivering aspects of the career education curriculum.

Most career guidance staff in schools are required to combine their duties with other activities. They often teach a regular curriculum area for at least half or more of their time (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Malta, Spain). In Germany, staff employed in teaching full-time are given an extra allowance to provide career guidance over and above their regular duties. Many staff also find themselves bogged down by administrative duties, such as managing the exercise of choice of subject clusters, or helping students fill in further education application forms. Occupational roles are generally not well defined, with staff having to shoulder a broad range of responsibilities. Some countries are attempting to deal with this situation of indeterminacy in both job requirements and job role by establishing service manuals or competence frameworks, with good examples coming from Estonia, Greece, Malta, and particularly Poland.

Role indeterminacy also leads to difficulties in carving out clear progression paths in the profession from the less expert to the more expert worker, and from the para-professional to the full professional. Lithuania and Romania are exceptions in this regard, while Estonia, Ireland and the United Kingdom are among the few countries that report para-professional categories (e.g. information officers) to support the work of qualified guidance staff. As with most other linked professionals (e.g. social workers) and non-professionals (e.g. alumni, stakeholders, significant adults and peers who often work with the 'hard to reach') these attached staff require some training if they are to consolidate the mainstream work done by guidance staff. None of the countries involved in the survey - other than the United Kingdom in terms of the staff employed in the 'learndirect' initiative - made any reference to training provision of this sort.

The tertiary education sector displays many of the same characteristics described for schools, except that it tends to be even more weakly professionalised, and more fragmented in terms of provision. It is not unusual for guidance functions to be distributed among staff in different administrative units, with some being department or faculty-based, others operating from a counselling and student advice centre, others from an international office catering for foreign students, and yet others from a student union office. These different categories of staff may have little or no formal specialised training (e.g. Denmark, Germany); even where they do, there is usually no central regulation determining the qualifications required to practise, or indeed any monitoring.

Generally speaking, guidance staff in PESs tend to have still less initial specialised training to prepare them for their roles. Some have a psychology degree behind them, but their backgrounds are even more disparate than in the case of guidance workers in the education sector, with some having qualifications in law, business management, economics, and even engineering (e.g. Romania, Spain). Much of their guidance-related training comes through in-service provision, with staff in the ACCs in particular benefiting from professional development opportunities offered via such EU programmes as Phare and Leonardo. Some staff from Member States have also had access to training programmes through the European Social Fund (e.g. Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain).

Despite such disparity in the qualifications and competency background of guidance workers within and across sectors, some overall trends and issues can nevertheless be highlighted:

  • Guidance workers do not seem to have a strong professional identity, are poorly organised and often poorly supported by a disparate network of professional associations and of research and training organisations. Consequently, their ability to determine their work roles as well as to impact on policy-making is weak. It is interesting to note, however, that many countries involved in this survey noted the founding or strengthening of professional associations. These included Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia (founded in 2002), France, Greece, Iceland (in 1981), Italy (in 2001), Latvia (in 1996), Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Sweden. In the United Kingdom and in Denmark, sector-focused associations have been consolidated under one national umbrella (the Danish National Council for Educational and Vocational Guidance - R.U.E., and the United Kingdom Federation of Professional Associations in Guidance - FEDPAG). Some countries have also established registers to regulate the profession (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom).
  • The private sector, in both the labour market and the education sector, is generally unregulated. Private schools may be required (as in Denmark) to provide guidance services, but the extent and nature of that provision remain the prerogative of the institution.
  • Respondents involved in the survey feel that career guidance workers in their respective countries have developed a number of competences through initial and in-service training, as well as on-the-job. However, they also feel that, given the changing nature and context of their work - including a perceived greater incidence of mobility of students and workers across Europe - those involved in guidance require further training in a number of areas. These include skills in dealing with increasingly diverse groups of clients; in managing ICT, telephone and e-mail based guidance services; in catering for lifelong guidance; and in planning and implementing research. They also require training in community involvement; in management (including the management and evaluation of information); in integrating experiential methods in provision; and in developing self-service approaches to guidance3.
  • There is little mutual recognition of guidance qualifications between the education and labour market sectors, and much of the training remains strongly sector-based. Some developments have been flagged in the guidance survey suggesting that this trend may be slowly changing. A Danish Ministry of Education report has proposed the establishment of a new cross-sectoral diploma programme. The most recent university course in career guidance to be offered in Malta accepted candidates from both the PES and schools; and both Estonia and Iceland report initiatives where the education and labour ministries have decided to jointly offer courses and training seminars to guidance workers from the two sectors. In the United Kingdom, however, the attempt to develop general training courses applicable to different categories of guidance workers has fuelled concerns about the loss of the specialised knowledge base and skills that had been developed by more targeted courses. Modular programmes that offer a common core with specialist options could go some way towards overcoming such problems.
  • It seems that increasingly, the trend is to offer more initial and in-service specialised training to career guidance workers in both the education and labour sectors (see Table: Increasing guidance training in Greece, Iceland and Romania). Several countries documented this tendency: Iceland, for instance, has extended its pre-service training requirements for school counsellors from 100 to 200 hours, and plans to upgrade the course to a master's degree. Austria's student advisers previously received only a few weeks of training; now a new standardised initial training course lasting two and a half years is to be trialled in three Lander. Malta has launched its first-ever training course for employment advisers in the PES, and Ireland has declared its intention to increase the number of PES staff who hold diploma and higher diploma level qualifications. This trend is not across the board, however: France and Sweden report a growing group of career guidance staff without formal training in the field. Denmark's PES staff have seen their opportunities for training reduced, and their work roles reorganised to reflect organisational rather than professional inputs.

Table: Increasing guidance training in Greece, Iceland and Romania
In Greece, until a few years ago, SEP - the guidance programme in secondary schools - was implemented by people who, for the most part, lacked any relevant training. However, since 1999 many special training programmes have been organised for SEP officials in universities under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and the Pedagogical Institute with EU support funding. The Ministry also operates a model Centre for Vocational Guidance, which it uses for professional development purposes. The University of Athens and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki both organise annual programmes attended by all vocational guidance managers. At the same time 10 of the country's universities have run in-service training programmes of about 5 months' duration, attended by 450 secondary school teachers. Similar programmes for the training of 78 teachers in information processing have been carried out at the Athens University of Economics and Business and the Athens Technological Education Institute.
In Iceland, the ministerial report on Strengthening the guidance profession issued in 1998 proposed several measures, including extension of the one-year School Counselling Programme at the University of Iceland to two years. The course will now lead to a master's degree. The report also proposed that training should be more competency-based, that staff should become more familiar in the use of guidance tools, and that they should have improved access to computer facilities and databanks.
Romania has invested a great deal in training its guidance staff. It offered a master's degree in guidance and counselling at the University of Bucharest in 1996. Three years later, with World Bank cofunding, the same university offered a master's degree in public policy, with a specialised module in career guidance. Since then, about 900 graduates have followed that option. In 1999, Babes-Bolyai University started offering a master's degree in counselling psychology. Romania also participates in the Academia project - a transnational exchange programme funded by the EU Leonardo da Vinci programme for the training of guidance staff.


1 Lortie (1975) had made the same evaluation of the partial professionalisation of teachers. I owe the term 'truncated profession' to him.

2 This is a point also made by McCarthy (2001) in his review of training in 23 countries. In Denmark, training is so sector-based that the country report refers to as many as 15 different types of courses for guidance workers.

3 Similar sets of competency needs have been identified by Watts (1992) and by Hiebert, McCarthy and Repetto (2001).

090601 - Categories of staff

Please see 0906 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090602 - Number of staff

Please see 0906 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090603 - Education and training of staff

Please see 0906 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090604 - Competencies of different types of workers

Please see 0906 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090605 - Changing of demands for competencies

Please see 0906 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090606 - Update of staff knowledge

Please see 0906 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090607 - Policies to involve other groups

Please see 0906 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0907 - Delivery settings

One of the main settings for the delivery of guidance services is - and has been for a long time - the school, and indeed, that is where young people are most likely to first come across formally-provided guidance. Traditionally, school guidance services were likely to be concentrated at the lower secondary level, targeted at students making choices about subject cluster options that opened up educational tracks which, in turn, led to groups or families of occupations. Given the lack of permeability between pathways in traditional education systems, such decisions were often irrevocable, high-stake ones, and guidance was often delivered on the basis of one-to-one personal interviews at the key points where the educational system branched off into different tracks1. Little, if any, educational or occupational guidance was offered at the primary school level, and at a time when further and higher education had not yet become massified, guidance services at this level also were few and far between. Despite the great variety of guidance systems across Europe, this section will show that most countries have moved away from this traditional model of guidance provision, extending the reach of guidance to the different school levels, and providing the services in a richer variety of ways.

The guidance field across Europe is marked by a sense of dynamism and change, with many countries introducing reforms in the services offered in both the education and the labour market sectors. A key impetus for such developments has been the widely accepted notion that lifelong learning is pivotal to the economic prosperity of individual nations and Europe more globally, and that such a conviction has important implications for the restructuring of educational and training systems. In most countries, learning systems are becoming more open, more flexible, and more closely linked. Young people in compulsory and especially post-compulsory education, as well as adults whether employed or unemployed, now have an increasing range of pathways into learning and training. In many countries, the mix-and-match options for access into further education and training are myriad, offering possibilities of full time and part time learning, delivered on site or at a distance, separate from or in conjunction with work commitments, at times and via pedagogical methods that are most suitable for the client. Most importantly, traditional - and largely arbitrary - obstacles to further education are being eradicated, through such practices as the accreditation of prior learning that recognises experience and real competence. As access to education and training becomes more open and democratised, and as options for engagement multiply and become more complex, so too should young people and adults have ready access to transparent and timely information, supported where appropriate by guidance, so that their choices are sound and beneficial to them.

Many of the European countries involved in the survey of policies for career guidance have embarked on a restructuring of their school-based guidance services to bring them more in line with the requirements of a learning society. Notions of lifelong engagement in education and training as well as lifelong careers (rather than lifelong jobs) logically require forms of guidance services that accompany all citizens throughout life, to be drawn upon when required, depending on the information and advice needs of the user, and the opportunities in the employment and training market. It has been argued that the skills required to manage one's 'life career' in a learning society, as well as the personal stance that needs to be adopted, should be inculcated early on in one's schooling (Sternberg, 1997). Such skills generally include a strong 'meta-cognitive' dimension, i.e. the ability to learn how to learn - a complex set of competences that enable individuals to identify their own learning needs, and to manage their own learning (Walbert and Paik, 2000). The image here is that of persons who take control over their own learning, are knowledgeable about the resources that are around them, and know where to get information and advice in order to transform service offers into opportunities that further their life goals. Such skills are particularly invaluable when it comes to the management of one's own career later on in life2. It is clear that guidance has much to offer in this regard, particularly as school-based providers are often trained to help students overcome learning difficulties, and to coach in study skills.

Few European countries, however, reported the presence of formally established guidance services at the 'primary' school level3. Those that have - such as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain - tend to stress psychological approaches that are curative and remedial in nature. Special help is offered to students experiencing difficulties, rather than as part of an overall proactive strategy to encourage sound lifelong learning habits in all pupils, and the skills to manage their progression in learning and work throughout their lives. An initiative by the Greek Pedagogical Institute seems to be particularly promising in this context, since it has developed guidance materials, addressed to students from the kindergarten level up to Grade 12, which teachers can integrate into their lesson plans. Work on career education in primary schools has also been introduced in some countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Denmark). In the Netherlands, some primary schools have introduced guidance-oriented portfolio systems. In Belgium there has been a shift from an predominantly psychological approach in caring for the child, to one that is more aware of, and responsive to, the effects of social, economic and cultural backgrounds in the individual's progression through learning.

Guidance services tend to be offered most intensively at the lower secondary level, often during the last two or three years of compulsory schooling, which is when choices about subject clusters are normally made in most national systems of education. However, there is a clear trend across the 29 countries reviewed to expand guidance services vertically across all grade levels of the lower and upper secondary school, so that it is no longer concentrated at particular cut-off points, but is developmental in orientation. An illustrative case is Finland where, in 2002, the National Board of Education promulgated new national curriculum guidelines which entitled students to access to guidance services throughout their secondary education, whereas previously guidance was only offered during the last three grades of comprehensive schooling.

In most countries, individual, face-to-face guidance still tends to predominate as a mode of service delivery. Particularly in the ACCs and in some of the other European states (e.g. in the education sector in France, Iceland, Portugal, Luxembourg), this may largely be due to the fact that many guidance staff have a background in psychology, a discipline which tends to privilege therapeutic, one-to-one approaches, often aided by psychometric testing and assessment. Many respondents noted the increasing impossibility of guaranteeing student entitlement to services, given staff resources, if student guidance needs were only handled through personal interviews. In some countries, resource allocation is worked out in terms of guidance staff-to-student ratios. Typically, the staff-to-student ratio is quite high (e.g. in Cyprus, Romania and Sweden it can be as high as 1:800; in Bulgaria, Ireland and Malta it is 1:500; in the Netherlands it is 1:300-400; while in Finland, it is 1:272, with trade unions finding this unacceptable and lobbying to bringing down the ratio to 1:200). In others the measure is the amount of time formally allocated for guidance activities per week, which can be as low as one to three hours (e.g. the Czech Republic). Personal guidance has limitations other than those imposed by counsellor-to-student ratios. While the focus on individual self-fulfilment is positive, with guidance being interpreted as an intervention in the process of constructing one's occupational identity on the basis of individual characteristics and aspirations, there is a danger that such an approach tends to obscure the way social and gender experiences structure desires and trajectories.

Group guidance and career education, delivered in, through, or outside the formal curriculum, facilitates the linkage between the personal and the social in the decision-making process, besides ensuring wider access to services. Such an approach is facilitated when, as in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent in Hungary and Malta, a room especially dedicated to guidance activities, furnished with open display units and equipped with relevant information available in print and electronic formats, is available in schools or in guidance centres that are contracted to service schools, as is the case in Flemish-speaking Belgium. Increasingly, the emergent model for career guidance provision is one where face-to-face assistance by guidance counsellors is only one element in a programmed approach to career development and decision-making that also includes group guidance organised around specific themes and issues, career education curriculum delivery, ICT-based assistance, experiential learning in work places and communities, and extensive use of community members such as parents, employers, trade union organisations, and alumni.

Guidance services and career education programmes are delivered in schools in one of three ways. They can be wholly school-based, with one or more guidance counsellors working on their own or with a team of professionals that could include psychologists, social workers, and other professionals. Alternatively, they can be provided by an agency based outside the school, which can either be public or private. Finally, there can be a partnership in service provision, which includes both school-based and external input. It appears that the third model is the one that is proving to be most attractive in several European countries.

Those systems which are closer to the wholly school-based models (e.g. Malta) run the risk of having tenuous links with the labour market, and tend to privilege personal and educational rather than career guidance. On the other hand, there were several examples of school guidance systems that call on external agencies to provide the career guidance element. Latvia, for instance, refers students to Professional Career Counselling Centres; in Lithuania, guidance is delivered to students by Labour Market Training and Counselling personnel; students in the Czech Republic, Germany and Luxembourg tend to get guidance service support from the public employment service; in the United Kingdom, strong external support is provided by the Careers Service (or in England by Connexions), a service that helps students in the transition to work process. Such external support from providers who tend to be more knowledgeable about the labour market may help students develop a truer picture of the opportunities and constraints in the world of work. They are also more likely to focus on the provision of occupational guidance. But there may be shortcomings with this model. Providers may tend to emphasise realism at the expense of encouraging aspirations. They may also inadvertently give the message that career guidance is a 'frill', a mere addendum to the more serious business of schooling, and unconnected to core curricular concerns. These risks are reduced if the external agencies are seen as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, school-based provision.

Practically all country reports noted the trend to reinforce school-based guidance provision by involving external partners. In-house partners include form/class teachers and regular subject teachers who teach aspects of the embedded career education curriculum. In some cases (e.g. Latvia) the deputy director in charge of extra-curricular activities has responsibilities for guidance as well. External stakeholder input generally involves employers and representatives of employer organisations, and (less often) of trade unions. They provide information - which they may present in person, or through materials that are print-based or accessible by electronic means and on the web - about different aspects of the world of work during seminars, career fairs, and other curricular and extracurricular activities. Fairs, in particular, have, across most European countries, become an especially important manifestation of such partnerships, and are events that give high visibility to guidance in the community. Employers are also involved in offering students work experience/shadowing placements. Other forms of input are made by the community, including parents, alumni, and members of non-governmental organisations, all of whom may be asked to speak about their own occupational experiences, as well as to focus on specific aspects they have knowledge of in the world of work. Some countries have been particularly successful in forging such partnerships (e.g. Austria, French-speaking Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom). In many others, however, the involvement of external partners tends to be sporadic and dependent on the personal initiatives of individuals, rather than part of any institutionalised mechanism for coordination, delivery and policy-making.


1 If we accept Boudon's (197--4) elegant model to explain how social inequalities are created through educational systems, which according to him are exacerbated the more cut-off points there are, then guidance provided at such junctures is of great significance to reinforce-or to challenge-institutionalised reproduction forces.

2 Indeed, recent work on human capital (OECD, 2002) suggests that such career management skills may play an important role in economic growth. The OECD study suggests that less than half of earnings variation in OECD countries can be accounted for by educational qualifications and readily measurable skills. A significant part of the remainder may be explained by people's ability to build, and to manage, their skills, including career planning, job-search and other career-management skills.

3 Different national education systems have different ways of defining 'primary' education-for Denmark and Slovenia, for instance, the primary education cycle lasts up to the age of 15.

090701 - Separate career lessons as part of school curricula

Please see 0907 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090702 - Integration into other subjects

The introduction or reinforcement of career education in or across the curriculum to supplement personal interviews was one of the most-often reported developments in the guidance survey1. The 'school-to-work' or 'transition' curriculum, as it has sometimes been referred to [though this is a limited model: many career education programmes start long before the school-leaving stage], may entail a number of elements, often including teaching about work and about further education and training routes, self-awareness, and such transition 'lifeskills' as decision making, self presentation in curriculum vitae and selection interviews, and so on (van Esbroeck, 1997; Sultana, 1997). For reasons noted earlier, most systems target the career education curriculum to students in the last two to three years of lower secondary, though increasingly this is questionable given the increasingly high rates of students moving into further education, and the evidence of the early formation of key attitudes relating to self and the world of work (suggesting the need for early intervention). As noted earlier, guidance services for younger students tend to focus on helping them manage the transition from the primary school and to adapt to the different institutional culture and work demands of secondary schooling (e.g. Cyprus, Italy, Malta, Portugal, the United Kingdom). In stratified education systems which offer different pathways to students according to their academic achievement, those streamed in vocationally oriented tracks are more likely to experience a career education programme than others, who might get less in terms of overall exposure, or in terms of the percentage of time dedicated to occupational, as against educational, decision making (e.g. Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands). There are instances, however, where students in VET are considered to be less needy of career education and guidance since their occupational destinations are considered to be tightly linked to the skills or trades area they have already chosen (e.g. Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia).

Four models of curriculum-based career education delivery can be discerned from the country responses, with some countries adopting more than one model simultaneously. First is the option of offering career education as a separate subject in the curriculum, i.e. by formally allocating the area space in the weekly or semestrial timetable (e.g. Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Romania and Spain). Another option involves embedding career education within a more broadly-based subject, often social studies or personal and social education (e.g. Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland). A third option is for aspects of career education to appear in most or all the subjects of the curriculum (e.g. Denmark, Greece). A fourth option is to have the career programme delivered through seminars and workshops (e.g. France, Malta, Poland), that may be addressed to same-age groups of students, or which may be theme-based and open to students from across several grades. Naturally, in decentralised education systems it is not uncommon for schools in the same country to choose different models for delivering the career education programme (e.g. Austria, Flemish-speaking Belgium, the Czech Republic, Spain, the United Kingdom), or for the same school to use more than one of the four approaches referred to above. Career education may or may not be compulsory, often depending on the policy of the school and the extent to which management values the area. Increasingly, however, national curriculum guidelines mandate career education programmes, occasionally leaving it up to the school to work out the details of provision. This is the case with Flemish-speaking Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. Other countries do not impose an obligation on schools (e.g. Ireland, Luxembourg).

In cases where the career education programme is offered across the curriculum, countries exhibit a range of modalities in which the area is directed and managed. In some cases, regular teachers are simply invited to include career-related themes in their subject, and the decision as to the extent to which they do so, and how, is left entirely up to them. Guidance survey responses suggest clearly that often the outcomes are far from satisfactory, with teachers failing to help students see connections between the different elements of the programme that are dealt with in separate subjects (e.g. Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden). Other countries have a much tighter context for such provision, with specialist guidance staff offering guidelines as well as resources to their colleagues, so that the career education programme is delivered in a more integrated manner (Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom). In Flemish-speaking Belgium, the Centre for Educational Guidance (CLB) can provide assistance to schools in the implementation of cross curricular themes related to educational guidance.

Cross-departmental delivery strategies require a tradition of collegial, school-based curriculum development that is generally still missing in the ACCs, most of which are accustomed to centralised curriculum planning. Few of the ACCs adopt a 'whole-school approach' to guidance. In other European countries, the best practice seems to come from contexts where students are encouraged or required to keep portfolios where they record their career-related learning and experiences (e.g. the 'job passport' in Austria, the 'education log' in Denmark, or the 'career choice passport' in Germany). This encourages students to connect what may initially appear to be disparate inputs by different teachers, and to reflect upon them. The case of Luxembourg highlights the fact that, even in countries where guidance services are still relatively weak, specific innovative projects in one or more schools, within the context of school development planning, can lead to articulation of a whole-school approach that sees guidance at the heart of the school's raison d'etre. In Flemish-speaking Belgium, the cross-curricular approach to guidance is underpinned and followed-up in several ways: not only is curricular co-ordination in relation to guidance mandated by educational law, but it also serves as a quality criteria when inspectors are evaluating schools. It has indeed become so central to the definition of guidance that schools strive to ensure that it is operationalised and in some cases it has become the focus of school-based curriculum development projects and research.


1 This stands in contrast to trends in the USA, for instance, where, according to Grubb (2002, p. 14), a renewed stress on academic subjects and on high-stakes accountability measures, as well as the decline of traditional forms of VET have led to a diminishing priority being given to career education in the formal curriculum.

090703 - Work-place experience

Table: Teaching for entrepreneurship in Malta
The Malta Cooperatives in Schools (Scoops) initiative sets out to teach secondary school students about the world of work in an experiential manner, complementing other aspects of work education provided across the curriculum in such subjects as social studies, religion, home economics, and personal and social education. It provides students with an opportunity to organise themselves into cooperative units to run, manage and market their own creative projects, and to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will help them to identify their occupational strengths and their potential contribution to the local labour market, and to create for themselves a viable self-employment option. They are supported by a team of mentors, specially trained in the setting up and running of cooperatives. The curricular goals for the Scoops project are the following:
Knowledge: about the meaning and value of work; about the duties and the rights of the worker; about safety regulations; on the global economy and its effect on the local economy; on social and political history concerning the Maltese worker; about workers unions and movements; on the Maltese Cooperative Movement; on social benefits of different categories of employees; about the taxation system; about the range of job vacancies available and their requirements; about finding a vacancy; on subsidies and financial schemes; and on work ethics.
Skills: Working in groups and self control in critical times; planning and organisation; developing one's own potential; discussing issues and negotiating deadlocks; time management; project management; evaluation of one's activities; presenting of projects or business plans; finding solutions to problems encountered during work; concentration; detecting dangers and concern for safety at work; interpreting regulations, instructions, orders and directives; choice of one's career; handling an interview; writing of a curriculum vitae and presenting one's portfolio; financial management of one's earnings; keeping up to date with one's field of work; preparation for temporary unemployment; awareness and experience of information technology; literacy, numeracy and operacy.
Attitudes: appreciate that business requires long-term planning; appreciate that motivation in education is important for one's future career; generate respect for all trades and professions; appreciate the need of workers to join groups; appreciate the importance of accountability and initiative; appreciate lifelong education.

Many countries provide 'work shadowing', 'work experience', 'work visits' and forms of work simulation in order to connect their career education programmes more directly and experientially to the world of work. Of course, many secondary level students are already involved in the 'twilight economy' of after-school, weekend and holiday labour, but the jobs they hold, while helping to develop various skills, serve more the purpose of 'earning' than of 'learning'. Structured experiences provided by the school, when well planned and followed up, hold great potential in helping young people understand some of the occupational implications of the educational choices they make, and aspects of working life more generally (Miller, Watts and Jamieson, 1991). Several countries reported that students have between one to two week supervised work placements or 'work tasters' prior to making their choice of subjects. This is the case in Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany (see Table: Work experience programmes in Germany), Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Other countries, notably Austria, French-speaking Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia have similar, though perhaps less extensive, provision. While in many cases the organisation of such activities is not mandatory, and depends on the initiatives taken by individual guidance staff or schools, there are instances where there are strong central policy leads in this direction. Estonia and Latvia, for instance, organise a 'work shadowing day' at a national level on an annual basis.

There is some evidence that these kinds of activities are on the increase, and not only in vocational school settings. Cyprus, for instance, has introduced a one week placement in work contexts for Grade 11 students, and is planning to introduce summer work placements as well. Lithuania has introduced 15 hours of work experience at Grade 11 and another 15 hours at Grade 12. The Moratti draft law is proposing the introduction of work experience in Italian schools. Other countries have developed school programmes that encourage students to set up businesses, helping them learn entrepreneurial skills experientially under the guidance or mentorship of established members of the business community. Latvia, Estonia and Ireland, for instance, participate in Junior Achievement. Ireland and the United Kingdom have the Young Enterprise scheme, while Malta has also developed the Scoops (Coops in Schools) initiative (see Table: Teaching for entrepreneurship in Malta). Sweden and the United Kingdom use mentoring schemes to match adults with young people for various purposes, including coaching in relation to career plans.

Table: Work experience programmes in Germany
Work place visits and work experience in Germany:
Exploratory visits in enterprises are an integral part of vocational orientation in all Lander, and generally involve an element of work experience. Companies are increasingly appreciating the value of this form of contact between schools and industry, and there is a growing number of partnerships between schools and enterprises. Preparation for workplace visits and work experience generally takes placed during the key vocational lessons, but they also increasingly feature in other subjects, such as chemistry, physics, German or geography. As a rule, practical placements last between one and three weeks, and several Lander have published comprehensive teaching guides and didactic support material on practical placements. There are extensive health and safety provisions for legal and insurance-related reasons. In some cases, practical placements can also be spent in other European countries, with the aim of making pupils familiar with the practical side of vocational training and work in other Member States of the European Union.

090704 - Other career information

Please see 0907 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090705 - Information provided by public employment service

Unemployed adults are the main recipients of career guidance across Europe. Often, the providers are Public Employment Services (PES). While European PES offices share much the same goals and methodologies of similar services worldwide, those in EU member and accession states have tended to adopt common policies in dealing with unemployment, in relation to the targets and priorities established by the European Employment Strategy. Such concerted strategy building is facilitated by the Network of European Public Employment Services. The latter's joint statement on their role in the labour market (2002) promotes guidance as an effective tool for assisting jobseekers. Increasingly the aim following the Luxembourg Summit has been to 'activate' clients who are required to develop a personal action plan with the support of PES staff. Indeed, the European Employment Strategy and the European Employment Guidelines not only have had a major impact on the customer orientation of the PES, but enjoin the latter to provide in-depth guidance to clients. European countries involved in the guidance survey target a whole range of unemployed persons who are considered to need special support, including the long term unemployed, women returnees, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, young people with no formal qualifications and work experience, and (less often) asylum seekers and ex-convicts.

Despite the fact that the overall framework driving PESs in Europe highlights the role that guidance can play in routing clients through training and into jobs, and that clear cultural change is underway in many PES towards a more supportive and facilitative role, with the service becoming a gateway to guidance rather than a gatekeeper, the survey nevertheless suggests that this guidance role is often underdeveloped, and subordinated to other tasks which tend to take precedence in the broad remit of responsibilities that PES staff have to shoulder. Thus, several European countries, and particular those in the process of accession to the EU, report that their PES focus tends to be on training for employability, on information giving, and on job brokerage. They also report that the guidance function in their work often ends up being muted. PES staff are typically overburdened with multiple roles (e.g. Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Slovakia), and the fact that the criterion for evaluation of provision tends to be the rate of successful job placements of clients skews services towards brokerage and networking with potential employers. Staff are also involved in channelling the unemployed towards training and re-training tracks, and in many cases they administer income support schemes for clients.

This multiplicity of roles tends to be exacerbated by the trend of establishing 'one-stop shops' (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom), where clients can more readily have access to the whole range of PES services at the same site. While clients might find this convenient and practical, the multitasking implications for staff lead to potential role conflict, since they have to both encourage clients to take them in their confidence, while at the same time policing the provision of unemployment benefits. It becomes very difficult for guidance staff to find a resolution between the norms of professionalism and of administrative demands.

While some countries are keeping the roles and tasks of PES staff integrated (e.g. Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Spain), others are reforming their services in such a way that different categories of unemployed are better served by specialised provision. The most notable case in point here is Greece, which is privatising its PES (the OAED - the Manpower Employment Organisation) and distributing its different roles to four different companies. One of these companies will focus specifically on information and guidance services. Another country that has retained a separate and highly professionalized career guidance service within its PES is Finland. In the accession countries, Poland (through its Poviat Labour Offices and its 51 Centres for Career Information and Planning in Voivodship Labour Offices), Lithuania (through its Labour Exchanges and its Labour Market Training Authorities) and Slovenia stand out in the extent to which they offer employment counselling over and above the range of information-based services that are common to many PESs.

One of the options that exists for public employment offices that have not separated out the different roles and functions is to organise their service in tiered levels. This can help them to cope with the diverse needs of clients, and to free up time and resources for guidance (see Austria in particular, but also Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom). There are typically three levels or tiers of service. At the first level, PES users have access to information in a self-service mode, through the use of dedicated materials or on-line. A second tier of service provides group-based help, which can include job clubs, sessions that help clients recover self-confidence and motivation, or that teach them basic literacy skills, how to write curriculum vitae, how to sit for interviews, and a range of other employability skills. A third tier of service provides personal guidance to those who are perceived to need it, and/or who feel they can benefit from it. The management of the service in this way not only contributes to more efficient use of resources through screening, but also enables some role differentiation, with semi or para-professional categories catering for basic information and advice needs, while others with more professional training in guidance provide the third-tier services.

Linked to the development of tiered services is the shift to a self-service mode which frees up staff from dealing with information requests that can be more or less easily handled by clients themselves1. A key exemplar of this is Sweden, which has set up several 'Infotheques' to enable open and unaided access to information. Other reports that highlighted this shift to self-help strategies include Flemish-speaking Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France (see Table: Open access and self-service guidance in Flemish-speaking Belgium), the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Most countries report a major investment in the development of websites that not only provide information on job vacancies, labour market trends, and occupations more generally, but also include diagnostic instruments such as interest inventories and self-assessments of work values and skills.

Table: Open access and self-service guidance in Flemish-speaking Belgium
In 2001, the PES in Flemish-speaking Belgium, the VDAB, introduced a system of universal services with the aim of (a) increasing the use of self-assessment and self-direction instruments by people looking for work or interested in changing their employment, and also (b) to increase the independent use of information on the part of employers. MY VDAB is the next step in the evolution of a generation of tools that support client independence and the use of an electronic portfolio. In fact, MY VDAB integrates existing instruments, such as the file manager, information on vacancies, curriculum vitae, training possibilities, and so on, and brings them on line so that people can manage their own profile, and can analyse and compare the information they have about themselves with other data sets. VDAB also has a clientvolgsysteem, which allows the follow-up of clients in the different stages across the pathways they embark on. For others to have access to the files the client must first give their permission to the VDAB. A manual supports the user in the exploitation of the clientvolgsysteem.

Reference has been made to the EU's commitment to LLL as a key strategy in maintaining competitiveness in a global economy. That commitment filters through several areas of public policy within member and accession states. The Joint Statements of the European Public Employment Services on their Role in the Labour Market (European Commission, 2002e for instance, underscores the responsibility of national PESs to support LLL by assisting individuals throughout their working lives in order to promote occupational mobility and flexibility). This survey however shows that career guidance for adults, within the EU and across Europe more generally, tends to remain narrowly focused on the unemployed. Few countries have developed strategies to help working adults to sustain employability by regularly reviewing new opportunities for enhancing their skills. As the Danish survey report notes, PES offices tend to be associated with unemployment queues and the doling out of welfare benefits, serving little to attract employed adults who feel the need for occupational guidance. Some countries (e.g. the Netherlands, Norway) have redesigned their PES offices so as to structure the flow of unemployed away from the main entry, and resourced them in such a way as to also prove inviting to the employed. There are also some signs that a shift towards the career information and guidance needs of employed adults might be happening in some countries, with a growing awareness of the need to ensure that adults who are not job seekers and not students, but who wish to re-engage in learning or to develop their careers, do not fall through the cracks (see Table: Lifelong guidance support in Germany, France and Greece, DI 090508). The potential demand for such services is amply illustrated by Austria, where in 2001 the number of adults accessing services in the 56 regional Career information centres ('BIZ' centres) grew by 15% compared to the previous year, bringing up the percentage of adult 'BIZ' users to 47% of all clients.


1 The greater emphasis on the individual as an active agent rather than as a passive recipient within the guidance process was already noted by Watts, Guichard, Plant and Rodriguez (1994) in their survey of educational and vocational guidance trends in the European Community.

090706 - Guidance at tertiary level

Several countries note that higher education students have, over the past decade or so, greatly increased in number, and have consequently become a much more heterogeneous group than before. They are no longer all the same age, with the same basic abilities and the same orientation to learning, as they tended to be when universities were elite institutions, catering for about 2 % of the population (Halsey, 1991). Increasingly, their age, experience and background vary, and it has become more necessary to provide a much broader range of guidance services to meet the growing diversity of student needs. In a Europe which actively promotes and facilitates student mobility - through such programmes as Socrates and Leonardo, through the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), and through the harmonisation of the degree structure as part of the Bologna process - foreign/exchange students are increasingly present on campuses, and have special guidance needs which also have to be attended to.

In addition, the number of higher education establishments has increased, both in quantity and in type of institution, in order to cater for larger numbers of students who have different expectations from higher learning programmes. Many institutions have also adopted modular structures of course delivery, giving students a great deal of flexibility in designing their own programme of studies, in relation to their own learning needs and occupational goals. Such individualised pathways make the links between courses and the graduate labour market more complex. All this diversity and extended opportunity both create challenges for career guidance, and make it all the more necessary and relevant.

Country responses from across Europe show that guidance services at the tertiary education level have either already been stepped up (e.g. the French SCUIOs - the Joint University Information and Guidance Services), or are in the process of being developed. Germany, for instance, has passed a Framework Act for Higher Education which requires institutions of higher education, including universities and Fachhochschulen, to inform students and applicants on the opportunities and conditions of study and on the content, structure and requirements of study courses, and to assist students by providing subject-oriented advice. Many German institutions of higher learning have established Central Student Counselling Services, while 50 out of about 350 universities have set up their own careers services in order to facilitate the transition between study and the field of graduate employment. Guidance staff in the Nordic countries have established the Nordic Forum for Higher Education Career Services to facilitate their own professional development, while the United Kingdom has an Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, which, among other activities, is supporting the development of certificate and diploma courses in higher education career guidance. Others still have underdeveloped services in this sector, but are in the process of establishing or strengthening them. Austria is a case in point here, as are Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Norway. In Finland and Ireland, recent evidence showing that there is a link between guidance provision in higher education and student retention has proved to be a particularly motivating factor in stimulating investment in guidance services at this level.

Many of these developments are spurred on by client demands. Where the state or the university administration fail to provide services for which there is a felt need, students themselves have sometimes mobilised in order to find alternative ways of accessing guidance. In Finland, for instance, higher student associations train peer tutors both nationally and locally, organise career information fairs with stakeholders, and are represented in key national working groups involved in guidance. The National Union of Students in Austria has set up an advisory voluntary service providing information about university life, housing, finance and other practical issues, as have their Slovene counterparts.

Sometimes, tertiary education institutions develop their guidance and information services because they have to compete with other establishments for students. In their attempt at boosting recruitment, often in contexts where funding follows students (e.g. Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom), institutions of higher learning have become increasingly aware that they have to provide such information as details of courses on offer, learning pathways that can be followed, resources that are available, and career opportunities at the end of a programme of study. This may put guidance staff in an awkward situation, as they may be expected to attract and retain students in their own establishment, even if this is not in the best interests of their clients.

Increasingly, information is provided to prospective students in handbooks and guides that are made available in a range of formats, including print, CD-ROM, and online. Much of the material is produced either by the state (centrally or by the regional administration, as in Spain, to mention just one example), or by the institutions themselves, though increasingly the private sector is playing an active role, either under contract (as in Austria, the Netherlands) or on a commercial basis (as in the United Kingdom). It is uncommon, however, for such material to feature information about student satisfaction with the quality of teaching, and rates of successful placement of graduates, which might render the guidebooks and handbooks more helpful in making choices between different institutions. The only example reported in this regard concerned a government-funded publication in the Netherlands. Some universities do, though, organise and publish the results of tracer studies of graduates in order to be in a better position to guide students regarding likely employment trajectories after finishing a course (e.g. Estonia, Malta); in some cases such studies are carried out on a nationwide basis (the United Kingdom, Ireland).

There is a great deal of disparity in the guidance services offered in institutions of higher learning, both between and within countries. In the first place, their location varies. They are sometimes to be found outside the institution, offered by an external agency that caters for the guidance needs of students, as in the case of Austria's network of Psychological Student Counselling Service. More frequently, guidance is offered inhouse, as with the 'Laboratoire d'Ergologie at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles'. In some cases, services are based in faculties or departments (e.g. Denmark, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden), while in others they are constituted as a separate service offered centrally (e.g. France, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom). Sometimes both modalities are available (e.g. Ireland, Sweden). In this case central services fulfil a broad guidance remit, often including different aspects of student welfare. On their part, faculty-based services - often offered by an untrained member of the academic staff - take on responsibilities which can include induction, study support, and the provision of information about graduate employment opportunities. Sometimes, faculties also develop strong networks with potential employers which facilitate placements for work experience or graduate employment purposes.

Whatever the modality of provision, the guidance survey confirms findings of an earlier study by Watts and van Esbroeck (1998) which indicated that much of the focus in European universities is on educational rather than occupational guidance, largely as a result of the very broad remit they may have to fulfil. Assistance and advice regarding course choices are often integrated with personal counselling, that typically includes guidance on stress management. Increasingly, however, higher education institutions are under pressure to develop a range of career management and student employability skills. This occasionally produces forms of work experience or internship (e.g. Spain, the United Kingdom), and the keeping of portfolios recording learning of work-related competences (e.g. the United Kingdom). Increasingly too we find the development of job brokerage and graduate placement services designed to help students facing tight and competitive graduate labour markets.

090707 - Services provided by private sector

The private sector has a limited but expanding role in offering career guidance services. Increasingly the private sector publishes further education and training guidebooks and handbooks, often on contracts outsourced by government. Apart from this, however, in most European countries the private sector's role tends to be limited to finding, selecting and placing personnel in highly qualified and specialised labour niches. In the CEE countries, such private employment services have started appearing in the last decade (e.g. Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia), and it is really only in Poland that they are established in any significant number. Typically, private-sector services have a job brokerage and head hunting function, and the guidance function is underdeveloped. The private-sector career guidance market is small in Denmark and Ireland, for instance, though it is more extensive in French-speaking Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In general, there does not seem to be much enthusiasm for individuals to pay for career guidance services, and the main way a market or quasi-market has developed has been through the purchase of services by large companies or through the transfer of public funds via outsourcing. This survey clearly shows that there is an information gap on the extent, nature and costs of private sector guidance.

090708 - Public encouragement to private organisations

Several respondents to the survey noted that their governments were increasingly attracted by outsourcing, particularly in relation to the provision of guidance within public employment services (e.g. Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom). Subcontracting can be an attractive policy measure for a number of reasons: it can be a way of recruiting staff at lower costs, without having to extend the usual benefits that have to be given to civil servants; the subcontracted services may not be as bureaucratically tied up by complex civil service regulations, and hence may be more nimble and flexible in their response to new challenges; and community and not-for-profit organisations in particular may be closer to the target clients than government institutions, and hence more likely to be knowledgeable about - and responsive to - their needs.

For these and other reasons, several countries across Europe have adopted quasi-market models in their approach to funding career and information services, outsourcing functions that traditionally had been carried by the PES. Examples from the guidance reports abound, particularly for the older EU Member States. Thus, the Austrian PES (the AMS - i.e. the Federal Employment Office) contracts out some guidance services to a range of for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, which normally cater for six-week orientation courses to improve the employability of 14 to 20 year old youths. It also contracts out the production of career information material, as do its Czech, Finnish, German and Spanish counterparts. In the case of Germany, the Federal Employment Service has outsourced some of the profiling work with unemployed and disadvantaged individuals, plus their training in job-seeking skills. Iceland's Ministry of Social Affairs has subcontracted trade unions to manage projects for enhancing the services for unemployed people. Spain gives great importance to funding community-based organisations to cater for the guidance needs of disadvantaged groups.

In some cases, outsourcing is done indirectly, with the state giving a voucher to clients, who can then buy a service from a provider of their choice. Such schemes have been tried out in Flemish-speaking Belgium (see Table: Learning and guidance cheques (vouchers) in Flemish-speaking Belgium), France, Germany and Italy, for instance. A variation on the voucher model is the contract model that has been trialled in the United Kingdom, and more recently in Estonia and the Netherlands. This involves giving the choice of provider not to the client, but to the official authorities concerned, who are deemed to be more knowledgeable about what will offer best value for money. As in the case of devolution, outsourcing - in all its guises - poses important questions about the role of the state in monitoring the quality of the services it funds, and in ensuring equity in access. A good example of this is provided by the United Kingdom, where all guidance services in receipt of public funding have to meet the 'matrix' quality standards. Estonia too is planning to develop regulations governing service standards that external providers will have to follow.

Table: Learning and guidance cheques (vouchers) in Flemish-speaking Belgium
While Learning cheques or vouchers have been in circulation in Flemish-speaking Belgium for some time, the whole system has recently been reformed, following an agreement between the Flemish government and the social partners, signed in March 2003. Under the new system, all funding for training and learning facilities are brought together and will be used for (a) the development of career guidance and the recognition of prior learning, and (b) financing the learning cheques scheme. The scope of the existing system is being broadened, mainly by (a) adding the possibility of its use in the private sector, (b) targeting the at-risk groups by increasing the number of vouchers they receive, or the value of their cheques, and (c) by setting up a voucher system for employees as well. While previously cheques were delivered to employers, there is now a system that issues cheques to employees, who have complete autonomy in making use of them be it to fund training and learning, to pay for guidance services, or to gain certification for prior learning. Every employee is entitled to a cheque of Euro 250 annually, which an individual is required to supplement according to his or her financial standing.

Several countries also noted that there is a growing private market offering different aspects of guidance, though, this sector is still small. It is also less likely to be found in the new Member States, and tends to be confined largely to the production of career information materials (such as handbooks, guidebooks, CD-ROMS, and websites), to employment agencies (with an overwhelming focus on job brokerage and head hunting), and to outplacement agencies (that offer career counselling). In some cases, a limited market for career guidance services paid for by individuals has also appeared (e.g. in French-speaking Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom - and to a lesser extent in Denmark, Ireland and Sweden). In many cases, these services have found it difficult to survive, largely because individuals do not seem to be willing to pay for guidance at full-cost rates.

Three factors can help explain the growth of the private market in the career guidance field:

  1. first is the fact that government outsourcing and subcontracting has tended to stimulate the market, providing a reliable source of funding which makes investment on the part of private entrepreneurs a feasible option. Governments have also stimulated competition in the provision of employment services by doing away with the monopoly that their PES often used to enjoy - until the legality of such a monopoly was challenged in at the European Court of Justice on the grounds that it was impeding real competition. Private employment services have been legalised in Denmark (in 1990), Sweden (1993), Germany (in 1998), and Norway (in 2000). Greece has gone one step further and has actually recently privatised its PES, with Cyprus soon to follow suit.
  2. a second factor that has contributed to the growth of a private market in the guidance and information field is the increasing readiness of employers to pay private, external providers to meet the careers guidance and development needs of their employees (e.g. French-speaking Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands). Employers may do this for a number of reasons: guidance may be part of a service they offer to their management, in order to ensure continued development of their skills and motivation. It may also be offered to employees who are about to be laid off due to recession or restructuring. In this case, the obligation of paying for such career guidance may have been agreed by employers as part of a collective agreement with unions, and sometimes the state may partially subsidise the costs of the guidance service offered.
  3. >
  4. a third stimulus for private provision of guidance is the increasing demand for services, and the inability of the state to satisfy such demand.

A key factor here is that, despite the increase in private provision, most European countries seem to know little about its extent, and have made few attempts to regulate it. This has serious implications, especially if the premise is that guidance is a public as well as a private good. If this is the case, the state has a responsibility to ensure that services offered through the market are sound, and also to compensate for any market failure as a result of which client entitlement to guidance services may be jeopardised.

090709 - Roles of other organisations

Unemployed adults may have access to career information and guidance in other settings than those provided by the PES. Most often, community-based organisations provide services to specific groups, especially if they are the target of national equity policies. Few of these initiatives were reported for ACCs, where the key provider remains the state. Other European countries (e.g. Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden), however, reported an increasing number of projects which community-based associations organised on their own (either as self-financed initiatives, or more often through outsourcing by the PES), or in collaboration with a public agency (e.g. Luxembourg's Femmes en Detresse project; the Adult Educational Guidance Initiative in Ireland, which targets unemployed adults who wish to take up education and training). Typically, such initiatives cater for unemployed adults who suffer from social or physical disadvantages: community-based organisations that work with them are considered to be closer to the realities of these target groups, and therefore potentially more effective in responding to their needs. Clients might also feel more comfortable with such forms of provision, which tend to be built around personal rather than bureaucratic service cultures (Bezanson and Kellett, 2001).

Adults, whether unemployed or in part-time employment, can also access career guidance services if they are enrolled in higher education institutions or in other forms of adult education and training. Here, some institutions have developed guidance services targeted specifically at mature students, including women who are hoping to return to the labour market after a period of time out for child rearing. Increasingly falling within the remit of guidance services are 'second chance' schemes which try to facilitate the entry of under-educated but highly motivated adults into higher education and training tracks, through the accreditation of prior and experiential learning. In some cases, such accreditation is based on a guidance-oriented dialogue, where individuals are helped to identify and value the knowledge they have acquired informally. Some countries have taken this kind of strategy on board at a national level - England, for instance, has established regional adult, information, advice and guidance partnerships with the intention of encouraging poorly qualified and low-skilled adults to return to education. France, Norway, Portugal, Flemish-speaking Belgium and Greece have also made strides towards the development of systems of assessment of prior learning, or bilan des competences.

Some large enterprises provide career information and guidance services in-house, either through their own personnel in HRD departments or by buying services from specialised external agencies and consultants (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom). This they may do for one of three reasons: (a) to facilitate career development within the company, (b) to guide employees towards training in skills areas that management envisages will become necessary for the company's growth - this may entail training needs assessments, and (c) to support workers who will be made redundant or outplaced, by offering them access to re-training routes and alternative employment. Few of the guidance reports from ACCs and the small nation states in Europe made any reference to such services. Larger countries were more likely to indicate the incidence of such practices, especially where the state supports such initiatives through including career guidance provision within expenditure allowable against training levies (e.g. the Netherlands), through awarding a Quality Mark to enterprises that invest in the development of their own employees (e.g. the Netherlands, the United Kingdom), and through making Public Employment Service guidance staff available to companies, particularly small and medium-sized ones that do not have the capacity to develop guidance services in-house (e.g. Germany).

090710 - Public attempts to increase services

See 090708.



0908 - Delivery methods

Responses obtained from the survey of policies for career guidance clearly indicate that several countries are trying to broaden access to career information and guidance to a wider range of client groups, using diverse and often innovative strategies. Responses also indicate some of the gaps in provision across several European countries, though there are examples of good practice which signal ways in which these gaps can be addressed. The issue of access has been highlighted by the Commission's deliberations on the role of guidance in supporting LLL and the Objectives for Education and Training. The Commission's LLL Communication (2001a) emphasises the need for guidance to be organised as an open service that is continuously and locally accessible for all; as a client-centred service which reaches out to citizens and follows up on their needs rather than waiting for them to come; and as a diversified service offered through such non-formal and informal channels as NGOs and community-based associations so that disadvantaged groups are more effectively reached. Reporting on young people's views on guidance services in the White Paper A New Impetus for European Youth (European Commission, 2002b), the Commission also notes the emphasis young people placed on having access to user-friendly guidance systems that were easily accessible in places where they spent their time.

Access has been improved in several ways. Guidance, for instance, is increasingly acknowledged to be a right to which all citizens are entitled throughout their lives, and not just an ancillary service aimed at those who are in crisis or unemployed. There has been a diversification in terms of the sites in which guidance is offered (not restricted to institutional sites, but also available at leisure sites, in the community, and in the home), in terms of the providers (not just the state, but also community-based and private services), and in terms of modality of provision (not based solely on one-to-one input, but also on group-based, curricular and self-service modes of delivery; not homogeneous but differentiated according to specific client needs).

Underlying all these trends is a change in the way guidance staff perform their work, largely - though not solely - as a consequence of the use of new information and communication technologies. ICT has become increasingly harnessed across most European countries in order to support and complement traditional forms of guidance, such as face-to-face interviews, assessment tools, and printed career information materials. It is used to more widely disseminate information about occupations, and also to support a number of guidance functions via CD-Rom software, career navigation systems, or the Internet.

Typically, ICT applications help clients increase their self-awareness (i.e. by developing knowledge about themselves, which can then be related to learning and work opportunities); to increase their opportunity awareness (i.e. by providing access to databases about learning, training and working); to facilitate decision-making (i.e. by helping clients narrow options by balancing opportunities and feasibility); and to support transition learning (i.e. by assisting clients to implement decisions, on the basis of skills needed to apply for jobs, to sit for interviews, to secure education and training grants, and so on). In the more sophisticated systems, several of these different functions are available to the user, with the software more fully and comprehensively reflecting and supporting the complex nature of career decision-making. At a more basic level, CD-ROMs and especially the Internet are used to make a great deal of information about educational programmes and institutions, as well as about labour markets, available at the touch of a button. Again, the more sophisticated websites have the capacity of linking different databases together to support a multidimensional approach to decision-making (see Watts, 2001; Offer, 1997). Most frequently, however, ICT tools reproduce the traditional matching model of guidance, with the main difference being that it is the client who is responsible for the matching.

ICT can help widen access to guidance in two important and related ways. First of all, it encourages a different approach to service provision, where self-help takes precedence over direct delivery by professionals. Clients can carry out a great deal of initial self and opportunity-related exploration and assessment thanks to ICT, prior to asking for a face-to-face interview if necessary. Many employment services (e.g. in Flemish-speaking Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden), as well as guidance offices and career information libraries in schools and tertiary education where these exist, are good examples of this highly significant shift.

Table: Private-sector ICT-based guidance in Finland
In 1999 Helsingin Sanomat, the newspaper with the widest circulation in Finland, made career services available to all citizens on the Internet. The newspaper's website (http://www.oikotie.fi/) offers those who access it a multitude of career planning and job search tools and services. All services, including online self-assessment exercises, e-mail guidance counselling, a Curriculum Vitae Wizard, and an option to forward applications to employers online, are free of charge.

Secondly, ICT brings information and guidance services to the client. Increasingly, computer terminals - often linked to the Internet - are available in non-institutional sites. As Kress (2000) has noted, the boundaries between spaces dedicated to learning, to working, and to leisure are becoming blurred. Young people and adults can access many guidance-related services in bars and cafes, in youth and community centres, and at home. Several countries (e.g. Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, the United Kingdom) have set up Internet points in leisure and public spaces in the community, with links to sites that offer assistance in discovering aptitudes and interests, and in matching profiles with opportunities for further education and employment. E-mail queries can be quickly sent to a central information bureau, or to the communication offices of educational institutions and enterprises. This has important implications for mainstreaming guidance in the seamless flow of life, helping remove the stigma that it has occasionally had, particularly when it was seen as a peripheral service to be used by those who either could not manage their lives effectively or had become marginalised through unemployment. It also has important implications for overcoming barriers of service delivery to the remoter regions in countries that have scattered populations, particularly when the software used permits several of the functions referred to earlier, including interactive sessions with counsellors, and where Internet connections provide a portal into a broad and flexible network of inter-linked services. Distance career guidance is therefore increasingly on the agenda (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden).

Despite the opportunities that ICT offers, there are nevertheless important issues to consider in attempting a cross-European survey of guidance provision. The first and most obvious one concerns differential access to hardware, to software, and to Internet connection. The digital deficit is particularly serious when one considers the situation in many CEE countries (see Figure 1). But the digital divide is present across Europe in other ways as well, affecting poorer groups, older people (who may feel uncomfortable with new technology), and those living in remote areas (where penetration of telecommunication services is lagging behind the more urbanised zones). In addition, skills in the use of ICT, as well as costs and bandwidth access, differ greatly between, and sometimes even within, countries in Europe, all of which affect the extent to which the opportunities made available by the new technology can be exploited. In some ways too, certain cultural contexts within Europe predispose people to shun the rather impersonal approach to guidance. Others might still prefer to consult information in traditional print format, even though the information is available electronically. This is reported to be the case with Romanian students, and Tricot (2002) reports the same pattern in the case of French students, though there is an assumption that it is a transitory phenomenon.

Click on the link below to see the figure 1: Differential access to ICTs across Europe.

Differential access to ICTs across Europe.

Other technologies that have opened up new opportunities for guidance service delivery are call-centres. While several countries report that call-in services tend to be associated rather more with help-lines and hot-lines providing crisis support (in relation to a range of problems such as domestic violence, child abuse, attempted suicides, rape, substance abuse), they are nevertheless being used to good effect in some career guidance contexts, with clients being able to telephone in queries (e.g. the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Lithuania; see also Table: Providing guidance through call-centre technology in the United Kingdom for details of the United Kingdom's 'learndirect' service). Other countries - including Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway - are planning to develop call-centres, suggesting that this might very well become one of the ways through which guidance services are increasingly delivered at national and local levels.

Table: Providing guidance through call-centre technology in the United Kingdom
The 'learndirect' service in the United Kingdom was launched in 1998, and its core is built around call-centre technology. There are two call-centres in England (in Manchester and Leicester), one for Northern Ireland, and smaller centres in Scotland and Wales. The 'learndirect' initiative is funded through the University for Industry, and aspires to offer free and impartial advice that can assist adults to access further education and training opportunities. Such information could include, for instance, availability of funding for learning, and of childcare facilities to support parents with young children. Call-centre help lines are open all year round till ten in the evening in order to ensure as much accessibility as possible. Over five million people have called 'learndirect' since it was opened. There are three tiers of staff: information advisers handle basic information inquiries; learning advisers handle the inquiries of those who need more than basic information; lifelong learning advisers deal with more complex inquiries and requests for help. All staff levels receive special training, and all have access to an online database of information on some 600 000 education and training courses, at all levels, as well as a wide variety of other printed information. The online database can be accessed directly at: http://www.learndirect.co.uk/, and is updated monthly. An online diagnostic package can be used to assess interests and preferences as part of the web site. There have been over 10 million hits on the site since it opened in 2000.

Other forms of communication have increasingly made guidance services more accessible to a wider range of people. Some of these modes of communication are not innovative in themselves - rather, it is their marshalling in the service of guidance that should be highlighted in this context. Many countries make use of television, mass media, road billboards, and other advertising strategies and outlets, in order to ensure that information related to further education, training and employment opportunities reach the community. This may be part of a regular, on-going strategy, or may be targeted in time and focus with the intention of promoting specific action. A case in point would be the annual initiative in Flemish-speaking Belgium called De grote leerweek (Adults' Learning Week). Here, the mass media networks with a number of partners active at the community level in order to reach specific target groups. In many countries too, several newspapers feature supplements on careers, as well as on education and training courses, besides advertising job vacancies and labour market trends. Particularly interesting is the innovative use of mobile, peripatetic counselling teams to cover communities that are hard to reach, or because there are not enough resources to cover demand (e.g. Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Hungary, Latvia, the United Kingdom). The case of Latvia is particularly instructive as an example of a creative way of still providing a service, despite resource limitations. Thus far, the country has managed to establish Professional Career Counselling Centres in only 19 out of its 26 regions. But its mobile teams cater for the needs of the other seven.

090801 - Influence of government policies

Please see 0908 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090802 - Internet initiatives

Please see 0908 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090803 - Examples of screening tools

Please see 0908 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0909 - Career information

Much of educational and career guidance involves assisting clients in making informed choices. It is the soundness of this information - in terms of the usual criteria of validity and reliability - that should, in principle, distinguish professional guidance services from the information provided to individuals by other, more informal sources, such as family and peer networks. However, the fact that professionally-provided information is more valid, objective, reliable and comprehensive, or to put it more simply, that it corresponds more closely to reality, does not necessarily mean that it is of use to clients. Indeed, research presents us with quite a different picture, alerting us to the fact that informal sources tend to be more influential than formal ones, with young people and adults alike (Arnold, Budd and Miller, 1988; ----NICEC, 1996)1. Theories that focus on the ways human beings process data (inter alia Chapman and Mahlck, 1993) remind us that, like all pedagogical events, the reception and use of information depends on several factors, including (a) the extent to which it connects to the recipient's prior experiences and frameworks of relevance, and (b) the extent to which such information is perceived to be useful in solving or at least addressing present problems or queries, in context. This is particularly true in the information age - or rather, information dump, as Grubb (2002a) refers to it - where people are constantly bombarded by a surfeit of data, much of which is not even requested. Not only that, but, as Tricot (2002) has noted, much of this information is largely provider-driven - i.e. it highlights information that the provider wants to present - rather than consumer-driven - i.e. working from questions which individuals want to ask. The Education and Training Council in French-speaking Belgium is perhaps exemplary in the attention it has given to such matters, carefully defining the nature of information suitable in guidance, distinguishing objective information from information that aims to advertise, pointing out the difference between information and guidance, and promoting the education of citizens so that they have a critical approach to information (Avis 78, 21st June 2002, Guidance and Information on Education, Training and Work).

These and related issues about the nature, quality and intelligent and critical use of information are particularly pertinent when it comes to consider information provided through ICT, which differs from print-based data in one essential manner, namely, that it invites the user to shift from a linear reading of text, to one that is hyper-linked to related data. At the click of a button, readers are deviated from one focus to another, gaining access to associated worlds of facts, images and sounds. Only the most steadfast and those with sharp information management skills are capable of re-routing themselves back on track, making use of unexpected insights that have been vicariously developed in order to make wise decisions. This is an important issue, not only because it reminds us that self-service approaches to information require the back-up of skilled personal support, but also because ICT tends to be rather uncritically touted as the panacea to plug information gaps. There is indeed much that commends the use of ICT in the career information field. Not only does it help widen access, but it also dramatically reduces the production costs associated with print-based alternatives; it permits quick, cheap and regular updating of information; it facilitates linkage to personal assessment tools and other relevant resources; and it has features which permit searching and trawling through a great deal of diverse material, which would be much less accessible in print form. Despite such advantages, it remains a tool that requires both basic skills (e.g. in reading), and more sophisticated ones (e.g. confidence in manipulating the technology, ability to access information in a systematic manner), and therefore raises serious equity issues, particularly if provision is not complemented by skilled support, as well as by alternative sources and channels of information (Offer and Sampson, 1999; Grubb, 2002a).

Other issues come into play in providing information that is valid, reliable, timely, contextual, relevant and useful. Several countries involved in this survey acknowledge the fact that the provision of adequate career and labour market information is a public good, which should be freely available to all for reasons of equity and efficiency. This echoes the European Commission's concern - expressed in its Action Plan for Skills and Mobility (European Commission, 2002c) - about the need for education, training and labour market data to overcome their tendency to be (a) fragmented, and (b) lacking in transparency. As pathways into education, training and work become more diversified and complex, so clients need to have access to clear road maps that help them navigate systems of provision, with full knowledge about which options they open and which they close when embarking on a particular track.

This kind of transparency and complexity cannot be handled by one-dimensional tools, which would be akin to trying to find new destinations with old maps. In contrast are multidimensional, matrix-based management information systems which privilege synergy between different databases, connecting educational and career information with labour market data such as vulnerability to unemployment, current and projected supply and demand, and average earnings compared to minimum salary. Some systems, for instance, those used in Greece, Finland, Hungary, Iceland and Lithuania, also have an experiential component, enabling users to get a feel for the occupation they are investigating, through the possibility of downloading short films and interviews with workers.

Such systems are, however, not very common in the guidance field. In many cases, CD-ROMs and websites end up being nothing more than a replica of print-based materials, giving more importance to cramming information in rather than designing it in ways that render it useful to specific groups of users. This is especially true for the ACCs, although some advanced systems are being developed in Hungary, Poland and Romania, thanks to World Bank aid (see Table: Multidimensional career information systems in Poland). Bulgaria, Cyprus and Slovakia too are making progress, benefiting from EU funding.

Table: Multidimensional career information systems in Poland
Poland has developed a multidimensional career information system - 'Counsellor 2000' - integrating the most recent developments in Artificial Intelligence, stimulating the client's efforts by linking information management with decision-making strategies. Information about educational and training pathways, and the relevant occupations they lead to, is linked to the personal profile of the client using the system, itself developed after accessing self-assessment tools available on the same software. In addition, the system has been adapted so that it can be targeted at particular groups of users, such as persons with disabilities.

Another reason to explain the fragmentation of education and career information provided by guidance-oriented services, other than the technical one referred to above, is the lack of cross-sectoral collaboration. In most countries, much of the formal responsibility for the provision of career and labour market information lies with the state: government agencies collect the information, organise it, and disseminate it. Often, however, different ministries collect different information, creating data sets that cannot always be consolidated in a way that helps users make better sense of options and opportunities. It is not unusual for governments to produce a number of overlapping databases, which together provide only partial coverage of what is available - this is the case with French-speaking Belgium, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, to mention just a few cases. Even more striking is the situation in Germany, where the Federal Employment Service has separate databases on occupations (BerufeNET), on training opportunities (KURS), on apprenticeship and training vacancies (ASIS), and on job vacancies (SIS) - all of them unconnected to available career selection programmes (such as Machs Richtig) and other self-exploration programmes, although they are presently being integrated within a web portal.

The problem is compounded in countries with decentralised federal governments like Belgium, Germany and Spain, where each region might develop its own systems which, while possibly being more relevant to users since they reflect local labour market realities, do not facilitate either student or worker mobility across the whole territory. The challenge for the EU is still greater, in view of the goal of creating a common space for a more efficient and equitable human resource deployment, with the Euroguidance network and ESTIA2 and the Ploteus portal being steps in this direction.

Some countries have started taking measures to combat fragmentation. Different initiatives have involved:

  • The establishment of a platform of common standards and specifications agreed to by different ministries responsible for data collection (e.g. Estonia);
  • The formalisation of agreements, or the promulgation of laws, specifying the nature of the coordination that must exist between different ministries in the delivery of guidance services, and encouraging cooperation between and among institutions at national, regional, district and local levels (e.g. Bulgaria, Slovakia);
  • The setting up of agencies which have the task of comprehensively managing career information systems (e.g. Onisep in France (see Table: Integrating guidance information systems in France); Formabanque in French-speaking Belgium; the Careers and Occupational Information Centre in the United Kingdom; the Foundation for VET Reform in Estonia; the Open Society Fund in Bulgaria). In many cases, such agencies are external and government-funded. Sometimes such agencies are privatised (e.g. the National Career Service Centre in the Netherlands), or their activities are partially or fully outsourced to the private sector (e.g. the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Spain).

Table: Integrating guidance information systems in France
The French IDEO (Information Documentation Edition Onisep) project was launched in 2001, and has as a goal the development of a system of information engineering for publication purposes. The project sets out to systematically and regularly renew databases used in guidance, and to link them to automatic publishing methods. Onisep (Office National d'Information sur les Enseignements et les Professions) is working on a new fast computer-based network with a view to maximising exchanges of information on the Internet, while ensuring that data transfer is fully secure. Onisep works together with CEREQ (Centre d'Etudes de Recherche sur les Qualifications), a public organisation supervised by the public education and employment services, whose task is to develop expertise in such areas as statistics, certification, integration, occupational outlets, training-employment links, and so on.

Not all countries find it feasible to produce their own information. Many accession countries, but also smaller states such as Luxembourg for instance, tend to adapt software and even print-based material from elsewhere. The United Kingdom-produced Adult directions has proved popular with Slovakia and Slovenia, who have adapted it, under licence, to reflect their national realities, integrating it with national educational and employment databases. Romania has translated and adapted Interoptions, a Canadian test of vocational interests, while France has adapted some of its guidance tools from the USA. Luxembourg's Career Information Centres (BIZ) make use of material - including detailed descriptions of occupations - produced in Germany.

In the developing market of career information, the state remains not only the main provider, but often the only one who can play a part in establishing standards for information from the different sources, although professional guidance associations may also make an input (Plant, 2001). Standards such as those defined above - including validity, reliability, accuracy, objectiveness, comprehensiveness, relevance to target group, timeliness, and so on - have been formalised in a number of European countries. Some regulate the quality of information provided through legal measures and instruments (e.g. Estonia's Public Information Act); others have developed strategies to ensure accuracy through systematic comparison of data from different sectors (e.g. Flemish-speaking Belgium, Lithuania); while yet others have developed quality standards and guidelines (e.g. Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Slovenia), with groups of experts monitoring the production of data along set criteria. In some cases (e.g. Poland) clients are asked to comment about the user-friendliness of the information package they have been provided, particularly when this is web-based. More rarely, as with Bulgaria, material is trialled with target groups and evaluated by experts. Several other countries, however, still have to make progress in quality-assuring the large quantities of educational and career-related information that are produced.


1 In addition, there is no guarantee that labour market databases, however sophisticated they may be, capture the complex dynamics of entry to local employment opportunities, especially in contexts where there is a parallel thriving informal job market, which by definition is at least partially hidden.

2 ESTIA is the website of the Euroguidance network in Europe.

090901 - Public sectors role in producing informations

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090902 - Form of information

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090903 - Target client groups

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090904 - Methods of gathering

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090905 - Steps to ensure accurate and timely information

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090906 - Steps to ensure user-friendliness

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090907 - Distribution

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090908 - Roles of private sector

Besides the state, other producers of career-related information include the private sector, and educational institutions. The private sector has not invested much in the information market in the ACCs, with the exception of Romania and, to a lesser extent, Slovakia. More ICT-based initiatives on the part of the private sector were reported by other European countries, though the focus is largely on educational and occupational guides and handbooks, which seem to be the best guarantee for a return on an investment through direct sales, and/or through featuring advertisements-though it may also constrain their comprehensiveness and objectivity. Educational institutions increasingly have websites promoting their establishments. Here, as is to be expected, objectivity tends to suffer since the goal is to commend the school to potential clients. In the best cases, education institution websites have links to other further education and employment-related data.

090909 - Steps to increase this role

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

090910 - Inclusion of labour market data

Please see 0909 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0910 - Financing

While the overview report has indicated several areas of deficit in guidance provision, it has also shown that the tendency has been for the field to expand in extent, reach, and variety of provision, both in the education and the labour market sectors. Such developments require extensive funding, and it is important to see where such resourcing is coming from in the European states under review, and the different models that are most commonly used in providing such resources. Each of these will be examined in turn.

A caveat must however be made from the outset. This is that, in most cases, respondents to this survey found it difficult, if not impossible, to provide even approximate estimates concerning national expenditure on guidance. If the focus is on outlay by the state, then most countries note that the costs of delivering guidance services are included in broader budgets that cannot be readily broken down and are therefore difficult to compute. Often too there is no differentiation in central records between how much is spent on guidance-related activities (e.g. personal counselling), and on career and educational guidance as such.

The picture becomes more complex in contexts where central funds are allocated to regions or institutions that have a degree of autonomy in the way they allocate budgets. Where some statistics were provided in the country responses, they tend to show an increase in government investment in guidance services, even if the general comment made by most was that overall aspirations, in terms of providing more comprehensive guidance services, were hampered by lack of sufficient funding. France's Centres d'information et d'orientation (CIO), for instance, saw an increase in funding of 6.2% between 1998 and 1999, and another 5% in the following year. Similarly, the budget for the Agence National pour l'Emploi (ANPE) was boosted by 9.2% between 1998 and 1999. Of the 29 countries, only Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden signalled significant state cut-backs in funding support for aspects of the guidance services provided. Given the commitment of European governments to LLL, and consequently to lifelong guidance, guidance services need to expand to cover the life-long and life-wide range of needs. Needless to say, the funding of such intensified investment represents a policy challenge for all European governments.

Information about the extent of private investment in guidance is even harder to come by in the country reports. Private companies are offering services for which individuals pay, either directly or indirectly. Other individuals will be paying for guidance as part of a fee which purchases a package of services - as in the case of students attending non-state educational institutions. In very rare cases (e.g. Finland, Iceland, Romania) certain state guidance services (e.g. processing of occupational inventory tests) are provided at a cost to the client, but often such fees are largely symbolic. It is not possible, however, to calculate any of these private investments in guidance on the basis of data provided in the country responses.

While most often, national expenditure on guidance services draws directly on government budgets deriving from tax contributions, this is not the case with all the countries reviewed. In Germany, for instance, the Federal Employment Service is funded through social insurance contributions from individuals and their employers; the role of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is to ensure that the service complies with statutes and legal requirements. A somewhat similar model has been put into place in Greece, where employees and businesses indirectly finance guidance services through national insurance contributions, a percentage of which is earmarked for the Manpower Planning Organisation (OAED). Elsewhere, such contributions play a more limited role. In Cyprus and Poland, some of the state authorities or bodies involved in delivering aspects of the guidance services fund their activities by imposing a levy on the payroll of private and semi-public entities, and some sectors in the Netherlands have developed a number of services based on training levy funds from employers and employees. Austrian employers fund aspects of guidance services through membership fees to the Economic Chamber, to which they are obliged to belong.

Other funding for aspects of guidance services comes through international programmes. EU Member States access such support through participation in the European Social Fund. In addition, and together with the ACCs, they also benefit from a whole platform of Community funding programmes such as Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci. Over and above this, Hungary, Poland and Romania have been able to develop their guidance systems and resources thanks to targeted funding and technical expertise made available by the World Bank. Once again, however, when compared to the investment made by the state, these and other forms of external funding, while often having a substantial impact on service development, represent a tiny fraction of the overall outlay. Also there is a problem of sustainability when the project money dries up.

An analysis of the 29 countries involved in this review suggests that government funds can be directed at a package of services, of which guidance represents only one facet, or alternatively, they can be targeted at guidance activities specifically. In addition, government funds can be channelled to the client via national, regional, or local governing bodies. Irrespective of the way the funding is packaged, and the governing apparatus used to channel it, state funding reaches the guidance service user in one of four main ways. It can: (a) be managed directly by the national, regional, or local government itself; (b) be delegated to a government-controlled agency; (c) be devolved to a range of institutions; or (d) be outsourced or sub-contracted to, for instance, community and other not-for-profit organisations, or private companies. Examples of all four modalities can be identified across Europe. Here, they are discussed in terms of the policy mechanisms which seem to have the most impact on the way funds flow through the system and become converted into services for the user, namely devolution (to regional or local governing apparatuses, and to institutions) and outsourcing.

The current policy climate across Europe tends to encourage devolution to local levels, in the belief that this encourages ownership of challenges and of initiatives to meet them. In the CEE countries, decentralisation tends to be particularly attractive as an antidote to a heritage of tight central control, and as a mechanism to diffuse power that had previously tended to be concentrated in the hands of a few. Moves towards devolution are evident in most of the 29 European countries surveyed - only Finland and Iceland reported a reverse trend.

Several countries that have decentralised their systems also noted, however, that the shift of responsibilities has generated new problems, and that devolution offers no guarantee for the efficient and effective use of resources (e.g. Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Finland, France, Latvia, Poland, Spain, Sweden). Indeed, devolution of responsibilities within a policy vacuum can lead to costly overlap, lack of coordination within and across sectors, a deficit in comparable standards between regions leading to inequitable access to services, and an overall degeneration in standards (Grubb, 2002b). The case of Poland is instructive in this regard. Here, the winding down of the national network of labour offices in favour of local government provision has led to a serious deterioration in the quality of provision. In Latvia, decentralisation became a convenient mechanism to devolve responsibilities to local government without passing on the necessary funding; while in the Czech Republic, the transfer of authority for managing the consulting centres which offered career information and guidance to the regions has led to a dramatic reduction in services. In the absence of central policy leads, the career guidance services in Luxembourg have ended up manifesting a number of gaps. Such central steering is difficult to achieve when, as in France and the United Kingdom, decentralisation leads to too much diversity in service provision on the ground.

These and other experiences across Europe support the view that the best way forward may very well be a judicious mix of centralised and decentralised models, where municipalities develop their own policy in the context of central guidelines reached after wide consultation with stakeholders. Estonia (see Table: State funding of guidance in Estonia), Finland, Portugal and Sweden, among others, seem to have adopted such a model, stipulating contracts between central and regional government, with the centre prescribing the minimum level of guidance services that should be available, thus avoiding undue variability between regions.

Table: State funding of guidance in Estonia
In Estonia, the Ministry of Education and Research signs an annual cooperation contract with each of the country's 15 administrative regions. The county governor of a specific region, in turn, outsources guidance services to a provider, who can be either a non-profit association or a municipal institution. The regions can decide how to use about 95% of the money addressed to youth career counselling by the Ministry of Education. The rest of the funds are earmarked for re-training, for information materials and for the maintenance of the electronic information system. The budget for in-service development of guidance staff is provided by the local government. While there are no mandatory service standards, there are specific guidelines that providers are asked to follow.
In the case of the Ministry of Social Affairs, salaries for workers and for the equipment used in providing career guidance come from the state budget. Supplementary funds - which, according to the national Employment Action Plan, are earmarked for the re-training of career counsellors and of job mediation consultants, for the publication of career information brochures, and for the purchase of career tests and training in their use - come from the proceeds of privatisation. Phare 2000, funds the project Support to the balanced development of labour market services, which involves staff training, and the development of the guidance system and of service standards in guidance. The latter are applicable across the board.

In some cases, funding flows to clients via transfers from the state to the institutions, which provide the services. In some countries (e.g. Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway), there is a direct allocation of funds for 'guidance time' to students, on the basis of a pre-established formula decided by the ministry or after a collective agreement. Often, funds are provided as an overall package, with guidelines indicating, in a more or less detailed manner, how the money should be spent in relation to a range of services. Such guidelines can be mandatory, or can leave much to the discretion of the management of the institution. This funding model is often used in the education sector where, as in Denmark and the United Kingdom, budgets follow students, as it were, with schools benefiting from their ability to attract and retain clients. Student entitlement to career guidance can be difficult to guarantee in this model, because management might have other priorities, and might be tempted to consider guidance services a frill.

091001 - Methods of funding

Please see 0910 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091002 - Individual participation in funding

Please see 0910 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091003 - Description of available information on funding

Please see 0910 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091004 - Estimate of public cost

Please see 0910 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091005 - Salaries of personnel

Please see 0910 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0911 - Assuring quality

Legislation, especially when it is articulated in broad, general terms, needs to be complemented by other mechanisms in order to ensure adequate service provision. One such mechanism that was frequently referred to in the countries involved in the guidance survey concerns the setting of quality standards. These can serve a number of goals related to quality assurance and quality improvement:

  • they can be used to set minimum thresholds for service providers, which must be met if an entity is to be awarded a licence to offer career guidance services (e.g. Bulgaria), or if funding is to be transferred. All adult guidance services offered in England, for instance, have to demonstrate that they have met the 'matrix' standards if they are to secure public funds;
  • they can serve as criteria for establishing performance targets and for organising service evaluation and inspection. Several countries, for instance, have developed occupational descriptions for career guidance staff and for those involved in the production of career-related information in either the education or the labour market sectors, detailing the competences that providers are expected to demonstrate in fulfilling their roles (e.g. Estonia, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain). Performance evaluation on agreed-to standards, as a mechanism for quality control, is sometimes tied to career progression, as in Romania; while in Finland, salaries are tied to outcomes of services through a management-by-results system. In Slovenia, there is a move to tie performance targets to outcomes-based evaluation of career guidance services;
  • particularly in decentralised systems, but also in centralised ones, quality standards can establish some sort of common ground and add coherence to a diversified system. Spain, for instance, has developed a 'European excellence Model' - an adaptation of the European foundation for quality smanagement model - to be used by schools to evaluate themselves on a number of criteria, with guidance services being involved in this self-assessment as part of the overall exercise. Denmark uses a similar approach in its vocational education and training sector, where self-assessment is complemented by external audit processes.

A number of general points can be made following this overview of approaches to quality assurance of guidance services across Europe. First is the fact that, generally speaking, there is little regular and systematic analysis of the quality of guidance across the 29 European countries reviewed. When investigative analysis is carried out, it tends to be quantitative in nature, throwing little light on processes. Second, when there is such evaluation, it tends not to be targeted specifically at guidance, but at guidance as part of an overall range of services, as in Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Spain. As such, much depends on whether the evaluating team has an interest or expertise in guidance. Thirdly, where a quality framework is articulated, it tends to be voluntary rather than mandatory, and operates as a set of guidelines (e.g. Ireland's guidelines for schools on guidance programme planning, issued by the National Centre for Guidance in Education; or the guidelines issued by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research). Quality standards sometimes have checking procedures or sanctions attached to them, but little goes on across Europe in terms of inspection of guidance services, although there are some exceptions to this provided by the United Kingdom, where there is a well established system of school and college inspections. At best, quality is assured through regulating access into the profession, and through improved initial and in-service training. On both these counts, however, the guidance field in Europe still manifests a number of fundamental weaknesses.

Table: Quality assurance in the United Kingdom, Romania and Estonia
Since April 2002, the United Kingdom has put into place the 'matrix' quality standard for information, advice and guidance services, which is administered by the Employment national Training organisation. Accreditation of organisations against the standard is awarded by the Guidance accreditation board.

Romania has developed a set of quality criteria, both quantitative and qualitative, to evaluate the results of the information, guidance and counselling services:
Quantitative indicators include: number of people counselled, tested, guided etc. individually or in groups (school and university students, adults); number of counselled persons who found employment; number of information materials produced (information about professions, brochures, posters, web sites); number of surveys, studies, investigations, scientific papers etc.; additional financial resources attracted; drafting of promotion materials on the image, objectives and services of the different centres providing vocational guidance; teaching credentials and scientific degrees obtained by counsellors.
Qualitative indicators include: client satisfaction; efficient use of available resources (working equipment, psychological equipment, ICT, tests, questionnaires); involvement of other potential sources of counselling and guidance (the community, representatives of administrative authorities, employers, trade unions); networking; vocational self-education; engagement in professional associations in the field.
These criteria are set by the counsellors' community and reflect aspects they regard as relevant for the evaluated activity. Within the boundaries of formally imposed general norms, the expert has a certain degree of autonomy in measuring and evaluating his or her own work. The tools used have a guiding role and provide the expert with feedback.
The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research has issued guidance providers with the following guidelines:
They are to specifically design their services to respond to the needs of young people;
They are to be open to all young people, without the need for an appointment;
They are to provide information on a wide range of subjects, in a variety of forms, prepared both for young people in general and for groups with special needs;
The information provided has to be practical, pluralistic, accurate and regularly updated;
They have to operate in a way which takes into account the personal needs of each user, which respects confidentiality, and which provides a maximum of choice, promoting the client's autonomy;
They are to refer the user to a specialised service when necessary.

091101 - Public steps to ensure quality

Please see 0911 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091102 - Availability of standards for delivery of information

Please see 0911 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091103 - Availability of standards for competencies

Please see 0911 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091104 - Laws and regulations regarding such standards

Please see 0911 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091105 - Availability of guidelines on quality standards

Please see 0911 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091106 - Details of professional counselling groups

Please see 0911 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091107 - Involvement of professionals in development of policy

Please see 0911 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0912 - The evidence base

The strategic auditing of guidance services cannot be done effectively unless the state is supported by an adequate and reliable platform of information. Such data provides policy makers and stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of the overall picture of provision, as well as of the effectiveness of that same provision in meeting public policy objectives. There is a particular lack of relevant data with reference to the financial flows into national guidance systems. The observation made in that regard is also applicable to other aspects of the guidance field, namely that a good understanding and evaluation of the inputs, processes and outputs of the service is seriously hampered by a weak evidence and data base. This is generally true across all European countries, even in those where guidance has been established for a long time. It is even more true of those countries where guidance services have been set up in the last decade or so, and which have not yet developed the capacity to generate the data indicators required to assess the impact of such provision.

Part of the reason for the lack of sound research on the effectiveness of career guidance is that such evaluations are difficult to do well. As many have noted (e.g. Plant, 2001; Maguire and Killeen, 2003; Sweet, 2003), guidance is hard to observe directly, and in any case, there are so many variables that have an impact on career decision-making that causality is difficult to establish, especially when issues of effectiveness are being considered. The outcomes that career guidance tries to achieve are also not often easily subject to measurement1. In addition to this, with some notable exceptions (see Table: Guidance research centres in the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), there are few countries that have set up specialised institutes or centres to carry out systematic research in this area. It is also surprising that few European universities yet have a chair in guidance, which could provide intellectual leadership not just on substantive issues, but as importantly, given the research complexity of the field, on methodological ones.

Table: Guidance research centres in the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom
The Czech Republic set up an Institute of Pedagogical and Psychological counselling (IPPP) which was founded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MSMT) in the year 1994 (see:http://www.ippp.cz/). IPPP carries out a lot of research and training activities, and publishes the periodical Vychovne Poradenstv (Educational Counselling).
In Greece, the EKEP, the National centre for vocational orientation, was established by Law 2525/97. This body is based in Athens and is answerable to both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. One of its main objectives is to cooperate with corresponding European and international centres, universities and research institutes or individual experts to promote better theories, methods, information provision, and counselling and vocational guidance services. Greece has also set up a Transition observatory to monitor the extent to which secondary education graduates are able to join the labour market.
Ireland has a National centre for guidance in education, an agency of the Department of Education and Science within the education portfolio. Its roles include managing national initiatives, developing guidance support materials for practitioners, providing advice on good practice, supporting innovation and pilot projects, disseminating information to practitioners, organising in-service training, carrying out surveys and research on guidance, and advising the Department of education and science on policy development. It also acts as a European national resource centre for guidance under the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
Romania has an Educational and vocational department at the Institute for educational sciences, which has been designated as the methodological authority for the Ministry of Education's guidance and counselling network. It is run by a team of highly qualified scholars with advanced degrees in a variety of areas linked to guidance and counselling, and has led a number of evaluative research projects focusing on human and ICT resources, staff qualifications, tests, career guidance for adults, computerised career guidance programmes, and beneficiaries of guidance services.
The United Kingdom has specialised centres for research and policy analysis in career guidance, including the National institute for careers education and counselling (NICEC) and the Centre for guidance studies at the University of Derby. Several other centres, both within tertiary education and outside it, employ research staff with a specific expertise in career guidance. A proposal for the establishment of a National research forum for career guidance in the United Kingdom, developed at a conference jointly organised by the Guidance council and NICEC in May 2002, has been supported by government.

While recognising such limitations, it is also important to highlight the promising nature of the present conjuncture, where a number of factors have converged to place guidance more centrally on the policy and research agendas in Europe. As already noted, the European Commission's Communication on Lifelong Learning has helped to draw attention to the guidance field, and triggered a healthy debate in national and European forums on the ways lifelong guidance can support LLL. Some of that debate is raising questions to which only systematic research can provide answers. In addition, the OECD's review of policies for career guidance, and its extension to practically all European countries via ETF and Cedefop support, will have - and in some cases is already having - a catalytic and mobilising effect. Several of the survey reports for the ACCs noted, for instance, that the consultation exercise required in order to respond to the questionnaire stimulated deeply engaged discussions across the various stakeholders, and led to a resolve to carry out further research. A number of governments have initiated major reviews of guidance services in recent years. Italy's Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, for instance, commissioned an extensive analysis of its guidance systems in a study carried out between 1997 and 1999 (Malizia, 2000). In 1998, Iceland's Ministry of Education, Science and Culture commissioned a report on guidance from the perspective of lifelong learning. In the United Kingdom., the National foundation for educational research, on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, investigated the delivery of career guidance in schools (Morris, Rickinson and Davies, 2001), while the Department of Education and Employment published a review of career guidance services in higher education (Harris, 2001). The French guidance survey report highlights the boom in research and development in the guidance field, largely thanks to university-based scholars. Other reports noted that different university departments have produced theses or lead research projects on different aspects of guidance, and have showcased recent achievements in research on guidance in their country, confirming that there might indeed be a swing towards a recognition of the need for more evidence-based policy-making in the field.

Despite these promising signs, it would be fair to say that many of the studies referred to tend to be ad hoc, not cumulative in scope, and detached from policy-making. In some cases, too, data is produced but not adequately exploited in policy terms. The unsystematic approach to creating a solid evidence base leads to important gaps in most countries. Specifically, the following input, process and output data were generally weak, or completely missing from the country responses to the guidance survey:

  1. (the number of users of services, including their characteristics (such as age, gender, region, socioeconomic status, educational level and ethnic origin). Such information is both basic and crucial in order to identify patterns in access to the service. Where such data is kept (e.g. Estonia, France, Latvia), the information management system can supply providers and policy-makers alike with important feedback as to whether the services are reaching more or fewer clients over the years. From the point of view of the policy-makers who wish to promote skills upgrading and labour flexibility nation-wide, for instance, it is important to know whether most services are being accessed only by urban school-leavers and young adults (as they are in several of the accession countries);
  2. the diverse needs of different types of clients. There are some examples of good practice in this area - Latvia, for instance, has regularly carried out surveys that provide information regarding the different career guidance-related needs of school students, VET students, and the unemployed. On the whole, however, there is a lack of such data from all European countries. This could be related to the fact that most career guidance services are undifferentiated, with services following a 'one size fits all' approach. Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia stand out among the ACCs for trying to tailor aspects of their careers guidance service to the specific needs of clients with disabilities;
  3. client satisfaction rates, and variation in these rates by client characteristics. Where research on this is carried out (e.g. Estonia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania), the tendency is to focus on quantitative indicators (e.g. how many of the unemployed clients who used the career guidance service found a job or commenced further training). The collection of qualitative indicators (i.e. client satisfaction with the service offered) tends to be rare, though some reports do indicate a trend in this direction (e.g. Belgium).

1 The extent to which guidance is effective in achieving the goals set for it is debatable, and hard evidence is hard to come by given the difficulties of isolating cause from effect. Nevertheless, a review of the relevant literature by the OECD (2003) (see also Maguire and Killeen, 2003) suggests that the case that guidance contributes to improving learning outcomes of knowledge, skills and attitudes is strong. There is also increasing evidence to suggest that participating in guidance activities leads to positive behavioural outcomes in relation to participation in learning and work (Savickas, 2000). Firm evidence of long-term benefits is still inadequate. In terms of the general contribution to public as well as private goods, the overall evidence on the benefits of career guidance is described as limited, but positive.

091201 - How information and services are used

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091202 - The establishment of needs

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091203 - Criteria for judging benefits

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091204 - Recent studies

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091205 - Recent initiatives

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091206 - Specialisation of research centres

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091207 - Usefulness of such centres

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.

091208 - Steps to increase evidence base

Please see 0912 for an integrated analysis on the issue.



0913 - Bibliography and References

A memorandum on lifelong learning. Brussels: European Commission, 2000, 36 p. (SEC (2000) 1832).Available from Internet:
http://www.bologna-berlin2003.de/pdf/MemorandumEng.pdf [cited 20.2.2004].

Active ageing: a policy framework / World Health Organization. Geneva: WHO, 2002.

Aloni, N. Humanistic education. In Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Education, 1999.Available from Internet:
http://www.vusst.hr/ENCYCLOPAEDIA/humanistic_education.htm [cited 20.2.2004].

Altman, J.H. Career development in the context of family experiences. In Farmer, H.S. (ed.). Diversity and women's career development: from adolescence to adulthood. Thousand Oakes: Sage, 1997.

Arnold, J.; Budd, R.J.; Miller, K. Young people's perceptions of the uses and usefulness of different sources of careers help. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 1988, Vol. 16, No 1, p. 83-90.

Beck, U. Risk society: towards a new modernity. London: Sage, 1992.

Bezanson, L.; Kellett, R. Integrating career information and guidance services at a local level. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2001.

Borghans, L.; de Grip, A. (eds). The overeducated worker: the economics of skill utilization. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2000.

Boudon, R. Education, opportunity and social inequality. New York: Wiley, 1974.

Brown, P.; Green, A.; and Lauder, H. (eds). High skills: globalization, competitiveness and skill formation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Career guidance and public policy: bridging the gap. Paris: OECD, 2004.

Casey, C. Critical analysis of organizations: theory, practice, revitalization. London: Sage, 2002.

Chapman, D.W.; Mahlck, L. (eds). From data to action: information systems for educational planning / Unesco/IIEP. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1993.

Chiousse, S.; Werquin, P. Lifelong vocational guidance: European case studies. Luxembourg: Office for Offical Publications of the European Communities, 1999. (Cedefop Panorama, 79).

Cicourel, A.V.; Kitsuse, J.I. The educational decision-makers. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963.

Commission's action plan on skills and mobility. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities: 2002. (Com (2002) 72 final). Available from Internet:http://europa.eu/cgi-bin/eur-lex/udl.pl?REQUEST=Service-Search&LANGUAGE=en&GUILANGUAGE=en&SERVICE=all&COLLECTION=com&DOCID=502PC0072 [cited 20.2.2004].

Company, F.J. Rapport de synthese sur les politiques et les services d'information: orientation et conseil en France, Italie, Portugal, Greece, Suede et Islande. Thessaloniki: Cedefop, 2003.

European Commission white paper: a new impetus for European youth. Luxembourg: Office for Offical Publications of the European Communities, 2001. (COM (2001) 681 final) Available from Internet:http://europa.eu.int/comm/youth/whitepaper/download/whitepaper_en.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

European innovation scoreboard. Brussels: European Commission, 2004.
Available from Internet:
http://www.cordis.lu/innovation-smes/scoreboard/home.html[cited 20.2.2004].

European report on quality indicators for lifelong learning: 15 quality indicators. Brussels: European Commission, 2002. Available from Internet:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/lll/life/report/quality/report_en.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Fretwell, D.H.; Plant, P. Career development policy models: synthesis paper. Paper presented at the Second International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policy, Vancouver, 2001.

Fries Guggenheim, Eric. Agora X: social and vocational guidance: Thessaloniki 19-20th October 2000. Luxembourg : Office for Offical Publications of the European Communities, 2003. (Cedefop Panorama, 74).

Gender statistics website for Europe and North America. Geneva: UNECE/UNDP, 2002. Available from Internet: http://www.unece.org/stats/gender/web/[cited 20.2.2004].

Giddens, A.. Runaway world: how globalization is reshaping our lives. London: Profile Books, 1999.

Grubb, N.W. An occupation in harmony: the roles of markets and governments in career information and career guidance. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2002. Available from Internet:http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/32/37/1954694.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Grubb, N.W. Who am I? The inadequacy of career information in the information age. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2002.
Available from Internet:http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/32/35/1954678.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Guidance and counselling: theory and practice for the 21st century: conference report, Budapest, Hungary, 29-31st March 2002. Turin: ETF, 2000.
Available from Internet: http://www.etf.eu.int/website.nsf/Pages/375C34C72DFC324CC1256B9D004AAACD/$FILE/Budapestconf.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Halsey, A.H. An international comparison of access to higher education. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education, 1991, Vol.1, p. 11-36.

Harris, M. Developing modern higher education careers services. Nottingham: Department for Education and Employment, 2001. Available from Internet:
http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conResults.cfm?consultationId=1118[cited 20.2.2004].

Hiebert, B.; Borgen, W. (eds). Technical and vocational education and training in the 21st century: new roles and challenges for guidance and counselling. Paris: Unesco, 2002.

Hiebert, B.; McCarthy, J.; Repetto, E. Professional training, qualifications and skills. . Paper presented at the Second International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policy, Vancouver, 2001.

How career decisions are made / National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling. Cambridge: NICEC, 1996. (NICEC Briefing).

Increasing labour force participation and promoting active ageing: report requested by Stockholm European Council. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities: 2002. (COM (2002) 9 final). Available from Internet:http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2002/feb/com_2002_9_en.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Investing efficiently in education and training: an imperative for Europe: communication from the Commission. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities: 2002. (COM (2002) 779 final). Available from Internet:http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=179690[cited 20.2.2004].

Joint employment report. Brussels: European Commission, 2003. Available from Internet:http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/employment_strategy/employ_en.htm[cited 20.2.2004].

Joint statements of the European public employment services (PES) on their role in the labour market / European Commission. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities: 2002. (Employment and social affairs). Available from Internet:http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/publications/2001/ke4001400_en.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Kress, G. A curriculum for the future. Cambridge Journal of Education, 2000, Vol.30, No 1, p. 133-145.

Lanzendorf, U.; Teichler, U. Statistics on student mobility within the European Union (SSME): final report to the European Parliament, Directorate-General for Research Division for Social and Legal Affairs. Kassel: Wissenschaftliches Zentrum fur Berufs- und Hochschulforschung, 2002. (Study no IV/2001/13/01).
Available from Internet:http://www.uca.es/[cited 20.2.2004].

Lortie, D. Schoolteacher: a sociological study. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1975.

Maguire, M.; Killeen, J. Outcomes from career information and guidance services. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2003.

Making a European area of lifelong learning a reality: communication from the Commission. Luxembourg : Office for Offical Publications of the European Communities, 2001. (COM (2001) 678). Available from Internet: http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/lll/life/communication/com_en.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Malizia, G. L'orientamento in Italia. Rassegna Cnos, 2000, No3, p. 45-78.

McCarthy, J. (2002) Recent policy developments in lifelong guidance at European Union level. Paper presented at the first meeting of the European Commission's Expert Group on Lifelong Guidance on 13th December 2002

McCarthy, J. The skills, training and qualifications of guidance workers. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2001.
Available from Internet: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/36/24/2698214.pdf[cited 20.2.2004]. Miller, A., Watts, A.G.; Jamieson, I. Rethinking work experience. London: Falmer, 1991.

Morris, M., Rickinson, M. and Davies, D. The delivery of career guidance in schools. Nottingham: Department of Education and Skills, 2001. (Research Report, 296).

OECD review of career guidance policies: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg (English), Luxembourg (French), Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom Overview, Wales. Paris: OECD, 2003.
Available from Internet:
http://www.oecd.org/document/35/0,2340,en_2649_34511_1940323_1_1_1_37455,00.html[cited 20.2.2004].

Offer, M. A review of the use of computer-assisted guidance and the Internet in Europe. Dublin: National Centre for Guidance in Education, 1997.

Offer, M., Sampson, J.P. Jr. Quality in the content and use of information and communications technology in guidance. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 1999, Vol. 27, p. 501-516.

Overdevest, C. The open method of coordination, new governance, and learning: towards a research agenda. Madison: University of Wisconsin. Department of Sociology and Rural Sociology, 2002. (New governance project working paper). Available from Internet: http://wage.wisc.edu/[cited 20.2.2004].

Plant, P. Quality in careers guidance. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2001. Available from Internet:http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/35/47/2698228.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Rethinking human capital. In OECD. Education Policy Analysis 2002, chapter 5, p. 117-130. Paris: OECD, 2003. Available from Internet:http://www.minocw.nl/documenten/brief2k-2002-doc-54624b.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Review of career guidance policies: country reports Bulgaria; Cyprus; Estonia; Hungary; Latvia; Lithuania; Malta; Poland; Romania; Slovenia / European Training Foundation. Turin: ETF, 2002. [Kamburova, N. Nickolova, S. Bulgaria, 2002] [Christodoulides, G. Cyprus, 2002] [Rammo, M. Estonia, 2003] [Zachar, L. et al. Hungary, 2003] [Daija, Z. Latvia, 2003] [Sikorskiene, J. Lithuania, 2002] [Sultana, R.G. Malta, 2002] [Trzeciak, W.; Kreft, W. Poland, 2002] [Jigau, M. Romania, 2002] [Niklanovic, S. Slovenia, 2002].

Review of career guidance policies: country studies on Poland and Romania / World Bank. Washington: World Bank, 2003. [Kref, W.; Watts, A.G. Poland, 2003] [Pasnicu, D.; Fretwell, D. Romania, 2003] Available from Internet:http://www1.worldbank.org/education/lifelong_learning/public_policy_case.asp[cited 20.2.2004].

Review of career guidance policies: country reports from Belgium; France; Greece; Iceland; Italy; Portugal; Sweden. Thessaloniki: Cedefop, 2003. [Vranken, M. Flemish-speaking Belgium, 2003] [Barthel, S.; Bultot, A. French-speaking Belgium, 2003] [Cartier, J.P. et al. France, 2002] [Albani, Z. Greece, 2002] [Arnljtsdttir, H.A. Iceland, 2002] [Consolini, M. Italy, 2002] [Nogueira, A. Portugal, 2002] [Loven, A. Sweden, 2002]. Available from Internet:http://www.trainingvillage.gr/[cited 20.2.2004].

Savickas, M.L. Renovating the psychology careers for the 21st century. In Collin, A.; Young, R. (eds). The future of career. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Sternberg, R.J. (ed.). Intelligence and Lifelong Learning: special issue. American Psychologist, 1997, Vol.52, No 10.

Sultana, R.G. Lifelong guidance and the European challenge: issues for Malta. Malta: Euroguidance, 2003.

Sultana, R.G. Personal and social education: opportunities for work education. In Sultana, R.G; Sammut, J.M. (eds). Careers education and guidance in Malta: issues and challenges. Malta: PEG, 1997.

Sultana, R.G. Review of career guidance policies in 11 acceeding and candidate countries: synthesis report: July 2003. Luxembourg: Office for Offical Publications of the European Communities, 2002. Available from Internet:http://www.etf.eu.int/WebSite.nsf/Pages/C63B14262A11C92CC1256DB100455C70/$FILE/ENL-Career+guidance-0703_EN.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Sweet, R. (2003) Career guidance: new ways forward. In OECD. Education Policy Analysis 2003, chapter 2, p. 40-57. Paris: OECD, 2004. Available from Internet: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/13/34/19975192.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Sweet, R. Career information, guidance and counselling services: policy perspectives. Australian Journal of Career Development, 2001, Vol.10, No 2, p. 11-14.

The concrete future objectives of education and training systems: report from the Education Council to the European Council. Brussels: Council of the European Union, 2001.
Available from Internet: http://register.consilium.eu.int/pdf/en/01/st05/05980en1.pdf[cited 202.2004].

Tricot, A. Improving occupational information. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2002.
Available from Internet:http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/59/26/2485392.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

van Esbroeck, R. A vocational guidance programme for secondary schools. In Sultana, R.G; Sammut, J.M. (eds). Careers education and guidance in Malta: issues and challenges. Malta: PEG, 1997.

Walberg, H.J.; Paik, S.J. Effective educational practices. Geneva: International Academy of Education/International Bureau of Education, 2000. (Educational Practices Series, 3). Available from Internet:http://www.ibe.unesco.org/International/Publications/EducationalPractices/EducationalPracticesSeriesPdf/prac03e.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Watts, A.G. et al. Educational and vocational guidance in the European Community. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1994. (Cedefop report).

Watts, A.G. International perspectives. In Watts, A.G. et al (eds). Rethinking careers education and guidance: theory, policy and practice. London: Routledge, 1996.

Watts, A.G. Occupational profiles of vocational counsellors in the European Community: a synthesis report. Luxembourg : Office for Offical Publications of the European Communities, 1992. (Cedefop report).

Watts, A.G. Sociopolitical ideologies in guidance. In Watts, A.G. et al (eds). Rethinking careers education and guidance: theory, policy and practice. London: Routledge, 1996.

Watts, A.G. The role of information and communication technologies in an integrated career information and guidance system. Paper prepared for the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review, 2001. Available from Internet: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/36/26/2698200.pdf[cited 20.2.2004].

Watts, A.G., Fretwell, D.H. Public policies and career development: a policy framework for the design of career information and guidance systems in developing and transition economies. Washington: World Bank, 2003. (World Bank discussion paper).

Watts, A.G.; Sultana. R.G. (2004) Career guidance policies in 37 countries: contrasts and common themes. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 2004. [forthcoming].

Wolf, A. Does education matter?: Myths about education and economic growth. London: Penguin, 2002.




Back

Cedefop uses cookies on this website. Our cookies policy explains what cookies are and how we use them.
You can disable cookies by modifying the settings in your internet browser’s options.
By closing this message, you consent to our cookies policy.