To become a guidance practitioner in the education sector (schools, and guidance and research centres) – MoNE, Ministry of National Education – a bachelor degree diploma in psychological guidance and counselling is required. Students choose these programmes upon entry to the university. To become a job and employment counsellor, a bachelor degree diploma and a vocational qualification certificate are required.
Guidance practitioners must have at least a bachelor’s degree in guidance and psychological counselling or in psychology. Courses in guidance and psychological counselling are offered by universities; they include some attention to career guidance but focus, mainly, on psychological counselling. In recent years, graduates of other branches of educational sciences have also been appointed as guidance counsellors after taking courses available in the initial guidance programme. The professional organisations argue that practitioners require at least an undergraduate degree to become competent in the field.
Guidance counsellors can decide whether or not to pursue graduate education. Those who have completed graduate studies are preferred for some special projects, depending on the nature of the activity (Euroguidance, 2019). For example, if specialised in parent counselling, they work with parents in guidance and research centres; if they acquired skills in ICT tools, they may work in the development of such tools. All public and private universities in Türkiye offer undergraduate programmes in guidance and counselling. Additionally, almost all universities offer master’s degree programmes, coordinated by the Higher Education Council. Occupational standards and qualifications have been developed for job and employment counsellors and their competences are validated and certified: https://portal.tyc.gov.tr/yeterlilik/is-ve-meslek-danismani-seviye-6-myk-mesleki-yeterlilik-belgesi-TR00102422.html). In MoNE, national occupational standards for school counsellors at level 7 of the Turkish qualifications framework, have also been developed, publicised and put into practice. The standards have been prepared by the Counselling and Guidance Association. (https://www.myk.gov.tr/index.php/tr/haberler/53-hukuk-mueavirlii/2940-5-yeni-ulusal-meslek-standard-yaymland).
In MoNE, guidance practitioners receive training in the secondary and higher education examination systems, career counselling, test anxiety and stress management. MoNE offers continuous training programmes for guidance practitioners. Further, as part of the Education vision 2023, class teachers in school will be able to become guidance practitioners through the certification process when the validation procedures are finalised.
The job and employment counsellors in İSKUR (the Turkish Employment Agency) are trained and empowered to work more effectively with migrants and refugees. They have training programmes as part of the Supporting labour migration management in Türkiye phase II project. (https://www.facebook.com/IOMTurkey/posts/well-managed-labour-migration-has-far-reaching-potential-for-migrants-their-comm/1983880468541560/) with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to develop their micro counselling skills, their knowledge on legal aspects and validation in relation to the Labour Market integration of migrants and refugees.
İSKUR envisages improving the quality and effectiveness of its services by implementing a target-focused intervention. This target-focused intervention could support individuals for better self-awareness and opportunity awareness to make more effective and realistic decisions that support their future aspirations, goals, values and competences. Due to their heavy workload, job and employment counsellors have constraints in developing individual action plans for jobseekers. Based on demographics, their education background, previous work experience, motivation and specific interests, they have focused on specific areas and target groups. The job and employment counsellors have been trained intensively for this new model and, based on a comprehensive needs analysis, new training programmes have been designed to empower them. All the standards and modelling of this new system were completed in 2020.
Counsellors in Türkiye belong to professional organisations. One such organisation is the Turkish Psychological Counselling and Guidance Association (Türk Psikolojik Danışma ve Rehberlik Derneği, PDR-DER). The association was established in 1989 with the aim of setting up communication and coordination among its members, to develop the profession in the country, to support its scientific work and to support their professional rights.
At İŞKUR, the job and employment counsellors also have continuous training on topics related to assessment, job mediation and career guidance; recently, they have undertaken training to become more empowered in working with refugees and migrants. The professionals working in the Turkish Employment Agency, Vocational Qualifications Authority, DG of Migrant Management and municipalities are able to join a training course for 5 days to develop new strategies, improve networking and to promote further co-co-co (coordination, cooperation and communication) of the related stakeholders. (See also the Coordination and cooperation section). There were three training sessions of 5 days between 2018-2020 to empower the skills and understanding of the professionals on working with migrants to support their knowledge and understanding on assessment, job mediation and career guidance The occupational standards and qualifications of the job and employment counsellors are defined as part of the Turkish qualification framework.
In MoNE, the national occupational standards for school counsellors at level 7 of the Turkish qualifications framework have been developed, publicised and put into practice. The standards have been prepared by the Counselling and Guidance Association. (https://www.myk.gov.tr/index.php/tr/haberler/53-hukuk-mueavirlii/2940-5-yeni-ulusal-meslek-standard-yaymland ).
The Vocational Qualifications Authority (myk.gov.tr) and the Turkish Psychological Counselling and Guidance Association together with the professionals in the field and academics, are in the process of developing a protocol for the occupational standards for career counsellors. The process will be finalised soon.
Online training has been developed by MONE and academics in the field for the new career education programmes for professionals. The training was conducted by academics from various universities in November 2021. 260 professionals participated in the training. The training consisted of providing information on the new approach and programme and reviewing the activities. Training will continue for school counsellors, school administrators and the class guidance teachers.
MoNE, with the support of UNICEF, also prepared a guidebook/manual (https://odsgm.meb.gov.tr/meb_iys_dosyalar/2020_08/26145750_PDR.pdf) for school counsellors at all levels (K-12) to support them in career guidance interventions with the students. This manual discusses the interventions and techniques for the career planning skills, how to support the students to improve awareness of themselves, their potentialities opportunities and for better decision-making. This guide also has some assessment forms for the counselee and self-assessment forms for the counsellor. This was prepared in 2020 as a joint venture of MoNE and UNICEF.
Further, counsellors in the Science and Art Centres (BİLSEM) had a 40-hour training course on individual and group career guidance and counselling skills. The content of the training consisted of counselling skills, career development theories, techniques, and tools. Monitoring and evaluation was also discussed. The programme also included activities and interactive dimensions. This activity took place in 2021.