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Youth Guidance Centres

Good practice


Danish Youth Guidance Centres organise guidance at lower secondary schools in collaboration with school principals, in order to provide an extra guidance resource to teachers. There are three general models are in play:

  • Interdisciplinary networking meetings on concrete cases.

In this model different kind of professionals in the municipality have a meeting regarding a certain case and the meeting is held in random intervals with no regular schedule to follow. It is the youths case worker who decides when the meeting will be held.

  • Transversal team with fixed meeting intervals.

In this model different kind of professionals work with a special target group and have meetings with strict intervals. There are the same people who meets every time. Each co-worker is responsible for reporting to their department. 

  • Unified organization. (One stop shop)

By a unified organization, different kind of professionals are gathered based on their competences and thus employees in a special team or entity that gets to task of co-operating on a coherent youth effort. In this case, one will typically separate the economy and give a special unit a separate budget.

Financing for a unit is considered and goes from the administrations / departments from which you move the responsibilities. The challenge is to determine how many funds to be moved to the new organizational unit.


As of 2015, the focus will be on the 20% weakest at risk students (under 25 years old) in Form 7, 8, 9 and 10 (optional) in lower secondary school, and in particular those in transition between lower and upper secondary school.


Type of policy/initiative



Level of implementation / Scope


Stage of implementation


Aims of policy/initiative

The aim of the Youth Guidance Centres is to create easily accessible and transparent guidance which supports students in continuing Education and Training.

Features and types of activities implemented

Youth Guidance Centres organise guidance at lower secondary schools in collaboration with school principals, in order to provide an extra guidance resource to teachers.

From Form 6 students develop an educational logbook either on their own or together with a Youth Guidance counsellor, depending on the municipality. The goal of the logbook is to enable the student to make decisions about his/her future education and career.

In Form 8 and 9 the logbook should include information on the planned transition to upper secondary education. The lower secondary school teacher will conduct an assessment of the “study preparedness” of each student to decide whether the student is in the target group for guidance. If a student is assessed not to be ready for upper secondary education, he/she will take part in bridge building activities.

In Form 9 the logbook is completed with an individual transition plan that describes objectives and plans after compulsory school (Form 9 is the last year of compulsory school).

As of 2008, upper secondary schools must give notice to the Youth Guidance Centres about students who drop out in order to ensure that these people are offered support. The purpose of this is to ensure that the student discusses a potential reselection of education, and avoids dropping out completely.


Youth Guidance Centres are funded by municipalities with support from the state.

The VET reform will introduce financial cut-downs on guidance, and the annual expenditure on guidance will decrease from 173 million DKK in 2014 to 29 million DKK in 2017 [1].

[1] The Danish Government (2014). Aftale om Bedre og mere attraktive erhvervsuddannelser, p. 52

Evaluation of the measure

An external evaluation was conducted in 2007 by the Danish Evaluation Institute as required by the Act on Guidance (2003). The aim was to assess the extent to which the measure had lived up to its goals. 9 of the selected centres took part in self-evaluation surveys and seminars. 3 interviews were carried out with the centres and their partners.

A quantitative survey based on self-evaluation reports was conducted among the centres and among students in Forms 9 and 10 (in 2014) to assess how much students had benefited from the measure. Focus group interviews were carried out with the centre’s counsellors and their stakeholders.

The Ministry of Education also provided a report in 2014 based on a qualitative survey regarding the measure’s impact on the learners (e.g. how the activities have supported the respondent in his/her choice of education).

Evidence of effectiveness of the measure

According to the 2007 report, 41% of students who rated themselves as very engaged also said that the counsellor had had some or a lot of impact on their plans after completion of the school year (compared to 36% and 24% for students with low or medium engagement).

The 2014 annual user survey showed very high participation rates in the guidance scheme and also reported high levels of readiness to choose an education pathway (90%).

Success factors

The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed for the Cedefop study:

  1. Good personal relations and dialogue between counsellor and student: good relations between the counsellor and the young person is the most important aspect of successful guidance. Several stories about education and non-related issues with young people came up during the visit under the Cedefop study (e.g. issues with young people’s use of social media where bullying becomes easier).
  2. Coherence in guidance: it is important to ensure coherent and coordinated guidance activities to ensure continuity and progression for the individual:
    • The initiatives to support the young person have to support each other, both as certain points of intervention, as well as over time.
    • Coherent guidance requires that the aim and complementarity of various guidance initiatives have been clearly defined.
    • Coherence in the guidance can also be supported by exchange of knowledge regarding the individual students between the institutions. This ensures that the student can receive the appropriate support at an early date.
  3. Involvement of parents: during the case study visit it was highlighted that many Danish children today are “curling children”; i.e. parents have been cleaning the pathway in front of them. Many young people are not independent and mature enough to make choices about the future, for this reason it is important to include parents in the educational process.

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