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.