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What kind of LMI skills do you need?

The expertise needed by career practitioners to work with labour market information has to do with finding LMI, assessing its quality, integrating it into guidance activities and contributing to the improvement of LMI tools for lifelong guidance.

A practitioner should be able to have the following knowledge and perform the following tasks:

  • Being familiar with the concept of LMI for lifelong guidance
  • Being familiar with different working environments: public sector, private sector, entrepreneurship.
  • Searching and finding LMI
  • Validation of LMI sources: what are reliable and good quality sources
  • Creating a single point of entry, a portfolio of key LMI sources supporting your daily work
  • Selecting the appropriate labour market information for different client groups
  • Understanding and interpreting LMI
  • Referring individuals to good quality sources and tools
  • Teaching individuals how to use LMI more independently
  • Advising clients based on LMI (select LMI and manipulate effectively for their clients)
  • ICT skills: digital literacy and new communication habits, …understanding how the users integrate new technologies into their lives and how to adjust the dissemination of LMI accordingly
  • Working with new ways of communication, working with new technologies

How can you acquire these skills? There are different ways that help you to learn and to stay up to date, such as:

  • Basic insight into LMI for guidance can be gained by using this toolkit and the training material referred to in the toolkit
  • You can follow workshops, seminars on labour market topics. They can be organized by sector federations, HR companies, PES, etc. You can follow additional training inside or outside your organization. Professional networks for career practitioners provide additional activities. It is interesting to share experiences among career practitioners inside and outside your organization.
  • Previous experience as an employment counsellors or in another kind of job may be very useful
  • Networking: engaging with local employers and employer networks is another way to feel the pulse of the labour market in the region and to expand the labour market information network of the career practitioner. Engage in local employment partnerships, work with sector federations, work with public and private employment agencies, additional training, share experiences with other practitioners, company visits, etc. 
  • Another element that contributes to developing skills is self-evaluation. Try to know what works well in your counselling practice in terms of integrating labour market information. What does not? Why? This insight can help to improve the use of LMI in lifelong guidance.
  • When the level of expertise regarding LMI is not sufficient in your organisation, make management aware of the importance to invest in skills and competences related to the use and integration of labour market information.
 
INITIATIVES INCLUDING LMI SUPPORT FOR CAREER PRACTITIONERS
 
LIFELONG GUIDANCE INITIATIVES WITH STRONG LOCAL STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT

Labour market information should be mentioned as a key task or skill in the occupational profiles and job descriptions of career practitioners. The occupational profile developed by Cedefop can be found in the document referred to here. Labour market information is also a key element in the European lifelong guidance guidelines.

What is the theoretical underpinning of lifelong guidance, ICT and LMI?

Practitioner approaches to lifelong guidance reflect theoretical approaches. It is valuable to learn more about the origins of these approaches and situate yourself in this field. Moreover, new research can bring new insights. If you are interested, you can follow the work different experts in the field through publications, conferences, blogs, …

You can check out some interesting insights from academic experts below.

Typology of ICT - based sources for lifelong guidance

The existing European ICT-based resources in the field of careers information and guidance has been classified by Offer in relation to the type DOTS model developed by Law & Watts (1977).

Offer, M., 1997, A Review of the Use of Computer-Assisted Guidance and the Internet in Europe, National Centre for Guidance in Education, Dublin.

OECD, Watts, A.G, 2001. The Role Of Information And Communication Technologies In An Integrated Career Information And Guidance System

 
TYPOLOGY OF ICT - BASED SOURCES FOR LIFELONG GUIDANCE

Decision learning

Resources concerned with decision learning include matching systems which enable users to relate their personal profiles to relevant learning or work opportunities. The outcome is a list of the opportunities which match the profile most closely. Also included here are content-free decision-making resources designed to help users to explore options in a systematic way, balancing the desirability of particular options against the perceived probability of achieving them.

Opportunity awareness

Resources concerned with opportunity awareness include databases of learning and/or work opportunities, with a menu of search criteria which enable users to find data relevant to their needs. The databases may cover: education/training institutions or courses; occupations, employers, or job vacancies; voluntary-work opportunities; and information on how to become self-employed. Some include relevant labour market information on supply and demand. There are also some examples of work simulations which enable users to explore particular occupational areas in an experiential way.

Self-awareness

Resources concerned with self-awareness are designed to help users to assess themselves and to develop a profile which can be matched to eligible learning and work opportunities. These resources range from simple self-assessment questionnaires to psychometric tests; they also include more open-ended “brainstorming” approaches.

Transition learning

Finally, resources concerned with transition learning help users to implement their decisions. These may include support in developing action plans, preparing curricula vitae, completing application forms, and preparing for selection interviews; it may also include help in securing funding for learning opportunities or for becoming self-employed.

Single point of entry

According to a recent study of Manipal City & guilds that discusses the process of creating a more robust and usable LMI system in India, all information/data flows coming from multiple sources should be integrated in a common information system. This common information system should be accessible from a single interface that is easily accessible and user friendly (web-portal for example).

 
Example in which a large range of data sources are collected on a common information system

http://www.lmiforall.org.uk/

Manipal city & guilds (2013). Towards a More Effective Labour Market Information System in India. ILO DWT for South Asia & Country Office for India.

Towards co-development (co-careering)

Social media can be used in lifelong guidance for several purposes and has multiple functions which affect the service that is delivered, as shown in Kettunen et al. (2015). This study identifies 4 different functions for social media in career guidance. First, social media can be used in career guidance simply for delivering information. Second, and one step further, social media is viewed as a medium for one-to-one communication. Third, social media can be seen as an interactive working space. Lastly, social media is seen as a way for co-careering where shared expertise and meaningful co-constructions on career issues takes place among different community members.

Kettunen, J. Sampson, J., Vuorinen, R. (2015). Career practitioners’ conceptions of competency for social media in career services. University of Jyväskylä

Digital divide

Another important aspect that often comes to the fore in the literature on ICT in lifelong guidance in general and social media and guidance in particular is the digital divide (see Bimrose et. al (2010), Sampson et. al. (2015)). The first order digital divide refers to the fact that there is a gap between different population groups according to their access to computers and the internet. The continuous expansion of information and communication technologies has revealed new disparities, this time in the manner in which ICT are used. Many authors have called this “the second order digital divide”. This concept assumes a gradual shift of inequality, from ICT access to ICT use.

Bimrose, J., Barnes, S. (2010). Labour Market Information (LMI), Information Communications and Technologies (ICT) and Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG): The way forward? Wath-upon-Dearne: UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

Bimrose, J., Barnes, S.-A., & Atwell, G. (2010). An investigation into the skills needed by Connexions personal advisers to develop internet-based guidance. Reading: CfBT Education Trust.

Kettunen, J. Sampson, J., Vuorinen, R. (2015). Career practitioners’ conceptions of competency for social media in career services. University of Jyväskylä

Social media in outreach activities

Outreach in the labour market can be seen as all kind of actions that identify and support non-traditional ‘clients’ such as the inactives, unregistered youth, migrants, disabled, etc. There are a lot of outreach methods that can be used. Hall, et.al. (2015) identified seven different methods of outreach, depending on the intensity of intervention.

Social networks can provide an accessible and powerful toolkit to promote and highlight specific services such as career guidance. Outreach workers frequently report using social media as one of the most important communication channels with unregistered youth as it tends to be one of the ‘constant’ features in their lives (Hall et. Al, 2015). Additionally, social media can be used for organising events and it has several operational advantages too. Social media can be quickly updated and tailored to the specific target group in terms of content and language. Due to the cost effectiveness of this method, a large number of people can be reached. Despite these advantages, practitioners need to take into account that not all individuals have sufficient IT literacy skills in order to use these services.

Hall, AM., Metcalfe, H., Irving, P. (2015) PES practices for the outreach and activation of NEETs. European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Brussels.

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