Celebrating only its fifth year of existence in November 2019, the ZRPK has triggered, in partnership with Euroguidance Slovakia, an increase in career guidance and counselling activities. In mid-September 2019, Bratislava hosted the 43rd annual conference Career guidance for inclusive society of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG). More than 500 participants had the opportunity for experience-sharing; they also adopted the 2019 IAEVG communiqué on inclusive societies investing in their people.
The international conference on career guidance and counselling
The international conference on career guidance and counselling was held in Bratislava on 24 October 2019. Originally initiated by Euroguidance Slovakia and Euroguidance Czech Republic in 2009, it has been expanded to Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Serbia. In Slovakia it is now jointly organised by Euroguidance and ZRPK in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport and the European Commission Representation in Slovakia. Awarded initiatives offer a unique opportunity to career counsellors to discover good ideas and learn from experience.
Five winners identified by the expert panel were given awards by the education minister; they covered a variety of initiatives and significant improvement in career guidance and counselling compared to the past:
- the civic association Mareena, for a career counselling programme for foreigners willing to assert themselves in the labour market in Slovakia;
- the grammar school Námestovo, for the development of students’ career management skills and social competences;
- a university counselling centre at P.J. Šafárik University, for a unique e-learning course aiming to develop individual career plans;
- two Teach for Slovakia volunteers, Zuzana Nichtová and Rebecca Murray, for a project aimed at organising meetings with successful practitioners for lower secondary learners to help them better understand diverse professions;
- Soňa Mertová from Hotel Academy Košice, for the development of a course and a variety of tools and learning materials aimed at developing career management skills of students.
A special prize was offered by the ZRPK to the organisation People at risk, for supporting young Roma at risk of social exclusion in seeking employment.
2019 National Career Guidance Award winners
In December 2019, Career week was initiated by Euroguidance Slovakia and ZRPK with over 100 events in 40 cities. It concluded with a stakeholder meeting on 9 December 2019, aimed at re-establishing the National forum for career guidance and counselling. Representatives of Euroguidance Slovakia, ZRPK, the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, the State Institute of Vocational Education and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family discussed with experts a draft chapter on career guidance and counselling prepared for the national lifelong learning strategy to be adopted in 2020.
After years of passivity, resulting in abolishing the National Lifelong Learning Institute, this remarkable 2019 autumn brought the first signs of spring for guidance and counselling.