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How can you integrate LMI in your guidance activities?

The role of the practitioner is essential in making labour market information effective for career guidance purposes.  The integration of LMI into guidance includes the following elements:

  • Select the LMI appropriate for working with a particular client - or a group of clients at a particular time;
  • Mediate the LMI effectively with the client(s) during their guidance activities with clients
  • Treat and respond to questions that reach the practitioners through by email, telephone, the internet, social media or other digital communication platforms.
  • Make the client more independent in working with LMI
  • Making use of outreach strategies to promote the use of LMI

The table below focuses on the different types of labour market information that can be useful during the career planning process.

Step in the career information processing cycle[2]

Description

Labour market information

Communication

External demand: a need is detected, a career decision will be required

Internal state or reaction: how a person feels, behaves, acts in response to the need[3]

 

Analysis

Enhance self-knowledge obtained from experience, assessment, counselling, exercises: values, interests, skills, employment preferences

Enhance occupational knowledge

Capacity to process this information and meta-cognitions (what kind of information do I need)

Providing information on occupations, education, training programmes and the link between education and training and occupations. LMI presented in a range of formats to address client/customer needs and learning styles

Providing information on the world of work (structure, institutions, sectors, labour law, policies, demand...)

Matching skills and employment preferences with possible occupations and labour market demand

Synthesis[4]

Identify and select alternatives and narrow down to 3 to 5 options for occupation, study, programme

Matching skills and employment preferences with possible occupations and labour market demand (continued, refined)

Valuing

Asses cost and benefits of alternatives

Prioritize and make tentative choice

Detailed information on alternatives (testimonials, video, web resources, company visit...)

Information on requirements for being accepted as a candidate for a study or a job

Execution

Planning and implementing the choice

Practical information e.g. application procedures, cv

Communication

 

Review external demand and internal state.  Is there satisfaction with the choice? Can I implement the choice?

 

Source: adapted from the description of the CASVE cycle in Peterson, et al. 2003

 

Cedefop has developed a reference list of career guidance activities that is presented in the box. Labour market information is relevant in many of the guidance activities.

Reference guide for guidance activities (Cedefop)

Informative activities

Signposting – Ensuring that people have accurate information about all the relevant agencies and the guidance services they provide and are therefore able to select the most adequate sources to their needs. Signposting is evidently an important issue in what concerns access to guidance services and can be culturally adapted, for example, by responding to linguistic limitations and by concentrating relevant information in immigrant specific services. Informing – Providing (labour market) information about opportunities concerning work, education, training or other, without discussing the merits or relevance of each option. Advising – Helping individuals and groups to interpret information and choose the most appropriate options.

Developing career management skills

Counselling – Working with individuals to help them discover, clarify, assess and understand their own experience and to explore the different alternatives available as well as strategies for implementation. Mentoring – Offering individuals and groups support to help them overcome personal barriers and realise their potential. Mentoring activities are highly influenced by the skills, value, systems and personality of the mentor, as well as his/her ability to act as role models. Assessing – Helping individuals to obtain an organised and structured understanding of their personal, educational and vocational development in order to allow for informed judgments concerning the relevance of opportunities presented (in work, training, etc). There is an array of assessment methods, such as psychological tests (e.g. GATB and BTPAC batteries) and skills portfolios. Teaching – Planned and systematic progression of learning experiences to enable learners to acquire knowledge, skills and competences. In guidance, teaching is very much aimed at promoting the acquisition of career managing skills, recurring to methodologies such as CV and presentation letters elaboration, job search methods, time management techniques, interpersonal communication techniques. Sampling – Providing work experience, work trials, learning tasters and other experiences that enable individuals to gain direct experience thus clarifying their decisions.

Direct support and capacity building

Enabling – Supporting individuals and groups in dealing with organisations providing or influencing employment and learning opportunities. Advocating – Negotiating directly with organisations on behalf of individuals or groups for whom there may be additional barriers to access. Advocating is a step further than enabling and can be of high importance for immigrants. Networking – Establishing links with individuals and organisations to support and enhance guidance provision.

Managing critical information and assuring quality

Following up – Keeping in touch with individuals after guidance interventions, to assess if further guidance is needed and of what type, direct outcomes from sessions, the career progress of individuals’ opinion about services. Feeding back – Gathering and collating information on the needs of individuals and groups and encouraging providers opportunities to respond by adapting their provision. Managing – Creating and implementing coherent guidance programmes, ensuring its stability and development, while assuring the relevance of its provision and the quality of its material, knowledge and human resources, with regular and structured assessment. Management highly benefits from a solid QA system based in effective follow-up and feedback mechanisms. Innovating/Systems change – Supporting the development of activities and underlying methodologies as well as management practices to improve the quality of provision. Innovation requires the establishment of QA systems with common criteria and is strongly related to regional and national level initiative. The concern for target group specificity should exist to allow, for example, for successful peer-learning between providers/systems.

Many practitioners would like to have a ‘single point of entry’ when it comes to labour market information, a central place where all labour market information is brought together. However, this does often not exist. Practitioners can benefit from creating a personal portfolio of key labour market information instruments they consider to be the most useful for their work. This list or portfolio can be a combination of external sources (manuals, databases, websites) and internal sources (presentations, educational games, lessons, questionnaires/quizzes) created by the practitioner or the organization he/she works for.

Many initiatives provide guidance and information for several user groups, some initiatives focus on a specific user group. Below we provide some interesting examples.

 
INITIATIVES FOR SEVERAL USER GROUPS:

An advanced tool integrating LMI and guidance: eGuidance (Denmark) www.ug.dk/evejledning
A tool targeting multiple user groups namely young persons, adults and jobseekers is the career development portal of the Latvian State Employment Agency http://www.nva.gov.lv/karjera/

Tip: use translation mode of webpages if you want to read the website. There is also an ‘easy language’ version.

 
INITIATIVES FOR SPECIFIC USER GROUPS:

School pupils:  the initiative Het Beroepenhuis (Belgium-Flanders) is specialized in education and career guidance for the age group of 11-14 years of age. Moreover, they offer guidance adapted to students with special needs (lower cognitive abilities) and students with a migration background. www.beroepenhuis.be.
VET students: the tool TET-tori assists students in their final year of basic education (15y-16y) in benefiting the most of their “introduction-to-work-life” period. This period of work experience is a key aspect of their career guidance and training.  http://peda.net/veraja/tori

Employed/Older adults: career information centres BIZ of the public employment service (Germany) developed a guidance approach for adult clients in addition to their original target groups (school pupils,…) eg for persons returning to the labour market after some years of absence.

How can ICT and LMI support lifelong guidance

The advent of ICT has opened the possibility to create and implement a numerous amount of tools that can be used for counselling and lifelong guidance.

 

  • There are information tools including different types of useful labour market information such as occupational databases, skills and labour market forecasts, vacancy databases, databases on educational opportunities, …
  • There are communication tools such as video-cv’s, e-portfolio’s, career matching software, chats, social-media etc. can all be used for lifelong guidance.

 

Counsellors and organizations that provide career guidance can combine different types of ICT-tools or either choose for a selection of tools to provide their guidance services.

 

  • However, that does not necessarily mean that counsellors which are specialised and good on a specific mode should also have specialised skills in all other tools.
  • Multichannel does not necessarily imply that the same information is provided       through different channels, but might also imply that each channel has its specific purpose and that there is complementarity between different channels.
  • For example,  It might be that chat services are used to communicate with clients after they have already had a face-to-face interview or that social media tools are used to focus on youngsters and education choices.

 

In many cases guidance practitioners are well trained and equipped to use ICT for the specific purposes required in their own role. So in this toolkit the aim is not to “teach” ICT skills but to allow practitioners to reflect on the implications of new technologies in LMI and make informed decisions on how it is best used in their services.

 

Key elements for career practitioners to reflect upon are the following:

 

  • Increase their understanding of the ICT which may be available to help them support anyone seeking LMI for career planning
  • Consider how online guidance can be used as more governments move to a digital government and encourage citizens to communicate/interact with them online
  • Recognise new ways of working which are more efficient, less time consuming
  • Being able to assess your client's readiness in using LMI and ICT tools
  • Assist the client to become more self-managing and confident
  • Engage in group work discussions and make suggestions to managers in order to resolve an identified concern
  • Self-awareness about own ICT and LMI-skills
 
Examples:
  • Outreaching: There are some nice examples from different countries how social media can be used in outreach strategies. In Belgium, Le Forem uses Facebook to communicate with young people to promote PES services. This Facebook page has more than 10.000 followers. Additionally, YouTube is used to share video’s about PES services and Twitter is used to highlight new training opportunities. In Italy, the Youth Guarantee Communications Plan 2014-2015 uses specific web- and mobile campaigns to share information to specific target groups.
  • E-portfolio: A condition for effective e-portfolio’s as a solution for labour market imperfections is that it should be part of a general platform.  A recent project in the Netherlands, Let’s Connect has shown that the tool is not feasible in isolated contexts. It is essential that the e-portfolios serve as a link between different organizations or environments. This can only be achieved through some degree of standardization with respect to the information being exchanged. This exchange is contingent on a common and shared understanding of the information (for example on competences, representing “high bandwidth” information) by different parties. (Lievens, 2015)

 

  • Are you involved in training of career guidance professionals? The training manual for manager and practitioners on ICT and LMI can be found here.
  • Are you interested to read the handbook on management issues in the field of LMI, ICT and lifelong guidance? You can find it here.
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