Digital competences are essential for both exercising full citizenship and to aid employability by meeting the needs of an increasing digitisation of the labour market; a more skilled working population gives rise to more new jobs, as well as innovative markets and products lead to more competitive and robust economic activities. Digital competences are also very important for the development of a critical and multifaceted awareness and to promote social well-being and inclusion (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, n.d.).
To address identified challenges, the Portugal INCoDe.2030 initiative has proposed a wide range of measures involving the various government areas. Digital technology is changing the way people work, interact and learn. Education must therefore support all students to learn with, through and about digital technologies, developing skills that go beyond their simple use. This involves developing scientific reasoning, collaborative work and design capabilities, and even, in many cases, computing skills, fostering students’ skills profile by the end of compulsory schooling. It is essential that the new generation is equipped with these skills through permanent and coordinated education and vocational training systems. The need for ICT skills in the labour market has been growing sharply and, despite the high unemployment levels, particularly among the young, the response to these needs has been insufficient. The disparity between the needs of the labour market and the availability of qualified professionals requires a multi-dimensional intervention to reinforce ICT training (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, n.d.). In this context both Ministry of Education and Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, IEFP, (the Portuguese PES) developed a wide range of initiatives and tools with the aim of supporting practitioners and widening the access to guidance interventions.
One of them is Vi@s Portal, developed by PES; it is accessible to all, both with the assistance of counsellors and autonomously. The portal is addressed to a wide range of target groups and the main goals include:
- widen access to guidance services to all individuals;
- support all types of life transition (educational, work related, age related) by raising citizen autonomy in developing career management skills;
- widen access to VET and job market information to all citizens and practitioners;
- explore the complementarity of self-service and regular service in the supply of counselling/guidance;
- support the guidance activity of practitioners, parents, teachers and other professionals.
Vi@s portal includes career development activities, assessment exercises, LMI and e-portfolio templates. It allows users to access information and exercises on career management themes, through the four Paths (work competences; exploration; professional network; entrepreneurship). Users may save the exercises in the My portfolio area, keep track of their career activities and assessment exercises and send them by email to PES staff and employers, among others. Technicians can also access contents in the Multimedia centre, to support their self-training and professional practice (orientation games, training podcast, employment measures). The multimedia centre has two different profiles: users with a technical profile and users without a technical profile. A contact form allows users to submit questions and receive feedback from a technician and send exercises to email.
A calendar of events and a satisfaction survey is also available. Access is free of charge, but registration is compulsory. When job seekers register as unemployed on the PES platform, they are directed to Vi@s portal, so that they assess their skills and design a draft personal employment plan. This plan is sent online to a job expert from PES.
- the Path work competences enables individuals to identify their work competences and to develop: relational, creative, information management, time management, decision-making and learning competences.
- the Path exploration has three fields: know yourself (personality, interests, values, abilities, and competences); know professions; and know opportunities (labour market, education, training and employment opportunities at national and community level).
- the Path professional network helps individuals learn how to answer a job vacancy, how to do a job application on its own initiative, and to prepare the job interview.
- the Path entrepreneurship encourages individuals to discover entrepreneurship potential and knowing more about how to create and develop an enterprise.
The portfolio is an area in which it is possible to save and view the exercises. It is also possible to download the exercises and upload documents.
Still within the scope of PES there are different online tools with information and other services. IEFP online is an online portal for recruiters and job seekers that offers a wide range of interactive employment services. The aim is to increase celerity, diversity, accessibility and quality in PES provision channels, by adjusting them to the different customers' needs and expectations. It supports enhancement of the penetration rate (percentage of job placings achieved by PES), namely through the capturing of more qualified job vacancies and jobseekers with higher skills, improving job-matching efficiency.
The Netforce is a computer application, made available and managed by IEFP, IP, which contains the information system for training and certification of trainers. Netforce is also the portal for access to various information contained in the IEFP, IP sites: the e-learning platform, the e-learning portal; the virtual Centros de Recursos em Conhecimento (CRC) library and SkillsPortugal, the portal of the championships of the professions with information on conditions of participation, professions in the contest, phases and results.
Virtual CRC (CRC Virtual) is the collaborative platform of the network of knowledge resource centres (Centros de Recursos em Conhecimento). The portal, managed by IEFP, supports users in exploring their diversity and potentialities; find the nearest CRC; using the Library to access to thousands of bibliographical references of monographs, periodicals and hundreds of documents in full text, in free access; access the news and events to find the main activities of the network; and much more.
EURES, the European Jobs Network, aims to facilitate workers mobility within the countries of the European Economic Area. A EURES link along with one-page content are integrated in the IEFP website.
The IEFP e-learning platform aims to support courses to be carried out within the scope of the vocational training centres of direct and participative management. The courses and actions are developed by the National Centre for Qualification of Trainers (Centro Nacional de Qualificação de Formadores, CNQF).
World skills Portugal, also integrated into the IEFP, is also responsible for organising and holding the championships of professions at national level and assuming Portuguese representation in the international championships. These competitions are aimed at young people between the ages of 17 and 25 who have completed or are following a qualification course in education and vocational training They are aimed at demonstrating the individual level of competence, rigor and mastery of techniques and tools for the exercise of each profession by means of practical tests. Participants are evaluated according to demanding criteria and in accordance with technical prescriptions established internationally by juries-highly qualified experts (trainers, professionals, businessmen).
Youth guarantee (Garantia Jovem) helps young people to find job opportunities, internships, education or training in Portugal. The Youth Guarantee aims to offer individuals the opportunity to focus on their qualifications and to be in contact with the labour market in order to combat youth inactivity and unemployment.
In the scope of Ministry of Education there is a set of guidance online tools addressed to children and students from age five until fifteen. A short description of each follows.
Discovery (Vou à Descoberta): the aim of this tool is to support self-knowledge. The student can choose from a checklist the word that reflects him or her. It is mainly addressed to students from disadvantaged groups but can be also utilised by students from primary school. It is mainly used by counsellors, but parents or teachers can support students in this game.
Climbing of qualifications (Escalada das Qualificações): the aim of this tool is to support students to make decisions and define school and vocational paths. The students have to answer questions about school and the VET system. For each question correctly answered, an alpinist climbs one more step until the top of the mountain is reached. It is mainly addressed to students aged 13/14.
Occupations odyssey (Odisseia das Profissões): the aim is to raise awareness of professions (content of the activity, tools used, place of work, health and safety in work). With different levels of difficulty, children have to identify and put in the right place features related to the profession. At the end they can hear and read a small description. It is addressed to students from 7 to 10 years.
Occupations chest (O Baú das Profissões): the aim is to raise awareness of professions with two levels of difficulty. Children are invited to choose an occupation and to complete a puzzle. At the end they can hear a small description about the occupation they have chosen. It is addressed to children in pre-school education stages and is mainly used with the support of teachers.
Support mobility (Apoio à Mobilidade): mainly addressed to students from schools and VET. The aim is to prepare students for successful mobility experiences. The game is composed of different types of quizzes.
An online approach was created, by Directorate General of Education, where the guidance tools could be uploaded and downloaded. The aim was to improve the communication among counsellors and to foster exchange of tools, practices and experiences. Every year Euroguidance Centre offers online courses.
Info Escolas provides statistical information on the network of primary and secondary schools and higher education. Furthermore, the portal of the training offer (Portal da Oferta Formativa) aims to make available information on training offers at different levels, cycles and modalities of education and training.
As part of Qualifica programme, the Qualifica passport was created as an electronic tool where qualifications and skills acquired are recorded. It is an important lifelong guidance tool for the upskilling of adults, so it provides guidance to pathways aiming to complete or to obtain a new qualification, taking into account the training already attained and the skills acquired. It offers:
- information about education and training paths obtained previously with the indication of the correspondent credit points;
- simulation of other education and training paths to be completed in order to acquire new qualifications, taking into account the information recorded and the goals and expectations of the user;
- information about existing education and training opportunities and providers.
The passport can be updated and printed at any time, as a tool that accompanies the adult throughout his/her active life.
The platform design the future was developed by civil society aiming at creating new features that ease the access to vocational exploration in order to increase young persons’ knowledge on the present labour market; it also aims at overcoming the gap between the information that is provided by universities on courses and curricula, and the information that young people are seeking to make a decision on their academic future. Another goal of the platform is to stimulate self-knowledge through a vocational exploration engine which aims to help young people develop knowledge of themselves by exploring professions related to their interests and preferences. The platform integrates approximately 200 videos of three to five minutes, containing interviews with representatives of different occupations, and indicates the necessary training for each profession, offering information on more than 3750 courses of 1222 institutions across the country. Target groups are students of secondary education and higher education, career guidance practitioners, psychologists, teachers and parents.
Early Warning System for School Failure - EWS-SF (or SAPIE – Sistema de Alerta Precoce para o Insucesso Escolar) has been developed to fight school failure and prevent dropout. This is an innovative digital tool that flags students at risk of school failure and early leaving, monitors students’ progress in risk indicators and examines the over-time impact of inclusive intervention.
As a universal screening device, the SAPIE-EB uses readily-available data imported from student management systems, making predictions with no extra work. Predictions are scientifically grounded on the A-B-C model of risk (Balfanz, 2007), expanded to health and career domains. As an intervention management system, supports are codified according to the multilevel model advocated by the National Board of Education. At-risk students are suggested for domain-specific interventions based on the dimensions of risk and ranked for intervention from innovative algorithms based on student actual status, the level of risk, and on over-time progress in risk. Intervention is monitored for both intrapersonal and interpersonal domains, from indicators of student progress and analysis across time, class, course and schools, making it possible to measure the impact of interventions in redirecting the trajectories of school (and career) failure across time. The data stay available across different levels of education, making it useful for further interventions. Advantages of the SAPIE-EB include the ability for decision-makers and educators to gain a deeper and broader perspective on student ‘success’, bridging teacher and support systems within schools; making data operational to support political and educational decision-making brings schools and communities closer. Other advantages include focus on intervention, reversing bureaucratisation of processes and optimisation of direct intervention time. Results in the US are promising. A recent longitudinal study, showed that schools monitored with similar systems, when compared to those with conventional screening procedures, significantly lowered the rates of absentees and failure in isolated courses, which suggests that SAPIE will make a decisive contribution to lowering the rates of school failure and drop-out, while providing critical inputs to increasing students’ success.
Study and Research in Portugal and Higher Education Courses are two portals under the responsibility of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior, MCTES). They offer information about courses and institutions, access requirements, recognition of degrees and internationalisation.
There is no explicit legal framework for the integration of Labour Market Information (LMI) in career guidance. Nevertheless, Decree Law No. 396/2007 from 31st of December, that establishes the national qualifications system and defines the structures that ensure its operation, states that in the scope of information and guidance for qualification and employment, specific information relevant to the decision by the agencies and individuals must be made available in order to satisfy their needs, in particular on the provision of vocational training and employment.
This information and guidance should be developed by the public employment service, by the psychology and guidance services of the Ministry of Education and by the Qualifica centres (centres that work with individuals seeking a qualification, aged 18 or more and, exceptionally, with young NEET by referring them to vocational education and training offers and to the development of recognition, validation and certification of competences).
The National Reference Point for Vocational Qualifications (NRP) is a contact point in Portugal where one can find information on the education, training and skill certification systems. It facilitates the mobility of citizens around Europe. In addition to active vocational education and learning measures, Portugal has developed a new tool SANQ (Sistema de identificação de necessidades de qualificações) for predicting the qualifications and skills needs of the country’s economy, and which aims to improve the speed and efficiency of adaptation of VET to the labour market.
Apoio à Mobilidade (Support mobility). http://euroguidance.gov.pt/alunos.php
Associação para o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Locais (ADCL) (n.d.). Centro de Recursos em Conhecimento. http://www.adcl.org.pt/adcl2/content.php?idConteudo=19
Balfanz, R., Herzog, L., & Iver, D. (2007). Preventing Student Disengagement and Keeping Students on the Graduation Path in Urban Middle-Grades Schools: Early Identification and Effective Interventions. Educational Psychologist, 42(4), 223-235. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520701621079
Centro Nacional de Qualificação de Formadores-CNQF (National Centre for Qualification of Trainers). https://netforce.iefp.pt/pt-PT/WPG/Home/AtivCNQF
Design the future. https://www.designthefuture.pt/
Direção-Geral do Ensino Superior - DGES (Directorate General of Higher Education) (n.d.). Courses and Higher Education Institutions. https://www.dges.gov.pt/en/pesquisa_cursos_instituicoes
Escalada das Qualificações (Climbing of qualifications). http://www.wonderdesign.net/clientes/apc/jeq.html
EURES. European Jobs Network. https://ec.europa.eu/eures/public
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) (n.d.). Portugal INCoDe.2030 initiative. https://www.incode2030.gov.pt/en/initiative
Garantia Jovem (Youth guarantee). https://www.garantiajovem.pt/
IEFP e-learning platform. https://elearning.iefp.pt/
Info Escolas. http://infoescolas.mec.pt/
Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional - IEFP (Institute of Employment and Vocational Training). https://www.iefp.pt/
Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional - IEFP (Institute of Employment and Vocational Training) (n.d.). Serviços online (Online services). https://www.iefp.pt/servicos-online
Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional - IEFP (Institute of Employment and Vocational Training) (n.d.). Netforce. https://netforce.iefp.pt/
Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior - MCTES (Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education). https://www.portugal.gov.pt/pt/gc21/area-de-governo/ciencia-tecnologia-e-ensino-superior
Ministério da Educação (Ministry of Education). https://www.portugal.gov.pt/pt/gc21/area-de-governo/educacao
Ministério do Trabalho e da Solidariedade Social (2007). Decreto-Lei No. 396/2007 de 31 de Dezembro. https://dre.pt/pesquisa/-/search/628017/details/maximized
National Reference Point for Vocational Qualifications (NRP). https://pnrq.iefp.pt/what-is-the-nrp/
O Baú das Profissões (Occupations chest). http://www.wonderdesign.net/clientes/apc/arca/
Odisseia das Profissões (Occupations odyssey). http://www.wonderdesign.net/clientes/apc/odisseia/
Portal da Oferta Formativa. https://www.ofertaformativa.gov.pt/#/home
Qualifica centres. https://www.qualifica.gov.pt/#/
Qualifica passaporte. https://www.passaportequalifica.gov.pt/cicLogin.xhtml
Qualifica programme. https://www.qualifica.gov.pt/#/
Serviços de Psicologia e Orientação - SPO (Educational and Guidance Psychology Services). https://www.dge.mec.pt/psicologia-e-orientacao-em-contexto-escolar
Sistema de identificação de necessidades de qualificações. http://sanq.anqep.gov.pt/
Study and research in Portugal. https://www.study-research.pt/
Vou à Descoberta (Discovery). http://www.wonderdesign.net/clientes/apc/descoberta/descoberta.html
World skills Portugal. https://worldskillsportugal.iefp.pt/