The festival of occupations is an example of good practice in vocational guidance. With this innovative event the regional government of the Malopolska region supports students in their education and career choices and enriches their knowledge about occupations. The event is organised by the regional department of education and lifelong learning. Activities are divided into two stages, first, preparing students to participate in the festival and second, organising the festival itself.

The preparation phase includes organisation of workshops, individual consultations and counsellor meetings with parents of lower secondary students. During workshops and consultations students learn how to choose the right upper secondary school and what they should take into account when making a decision, for example, their interests, personality, competences, etc. Students are made aware of concepts such as lifelong learning, mobility, skills and competences and learn about labour market trends and skill demand. Workshops also provide knowledge about Polish education reform and available educational opportunities.

The festival of occupations is an educational fair organised in Krakow and usually lasts three days. Participants have an opportunity to see, try and touch professional tools, materials, machinery, equipment, software, technology and  products directly. Presentations are enriched by regional entrepreneurs who speak about employment opportunities in various occupations.

Over the years, the festival has attracted growing numbers of interested schools. In 2014, workshops and consultations were attended by 4 464 students from 160 lower secondary schools of Małopolska region. Festival organisers confirmed participation of more than 17 000 students, and 53 vocational schools presented their programmes.

The festival of occupations is a good practice worth transferring to other regions. The initiative not only raises young people’s knowledge about occupations but also increases their awareness of the importance of educational and vocational decisions. This results in graduates better prepared for the labour market and who search for employment opportunities which match their skills, wishes and needs.

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