The concept of career management skills is used in the same context as career learning and career competences.
Education and Work (see section Evidence, monitoring and assessment)
‘Education and work’ is a mandatory integrated topic in Danish schools from grade 0 to grade 9 (compulsory education) (Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education], 2019a, para. 7), whereby career-related themes are intended for inclusion in all subjects. Teachers have the autonomy to decide how they will integrate these themes. The objectives for students are stated as ‘gaining the necessary competences to make career choices based on their own preferences and abilities, understanding the importance of lifelong learning and comprehensive knowledge regarding educational and vocational options’. Students should ‘gain knowledge and skills preparing them to make educational and vocational choices and to understand these choices as a process involving both the individual’s preferences and abilities and the educational and vocational options. By incorporating the societal context, students should become acquainted with different conditions and forms of life and learn about circumstances and conditions tied to education, career and the labour market in a global world […] The topic of education and work should challenge students’ own educational choices and enhance their readiness for upper secondary education. Students should gain a broad knowledge of society and an understanding of the labour market. Furthermore, students should gain knowledge about the different upper secondary programmes and which jobs and career opportunities they can lead to’ (Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education], n.d.-a).
Schools are responsible for the topic of education and work, with lessons planned in cooperation with the municipal youth guidance units (den kommunale ungeindsats) (Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education], 2020a, para. 7). Teaching should be integrated within the school and its subjects. There are no stipulations regarding the amount of teaching. In addition, the guidance provided by the municipal youth guidance units is supposed to build on the knowledge and skills students have acquired within the topic (Undervisningsministeriet, 2019f, para. 3). Last but not least, experience-based guidance activities called taster programmes are mandatory in schools. Here students in the eighth and 10th grade visit upper secondary education (academic or vocational route) to give the students a ‘taste’ of conditions, levels, and requirements of different education programmes before choosing (Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education], 2019e, para. 1).
Career learning in upper secondary education programmes
In 2016, career competence was included as one of the four competences which upper secondary education programmes should focus on. It is highlighted that career learning should be embedded in everyday teaching, when relevant, in relation to the aims of the subject in question and that students should gain insight into the real-world applications of the subjects they encounter at school. Career learning can also occur through internships and partnerships with institutions and enterprises. It should be complemented by improved opportunities for individual guidance with the aim of strengthening students’ understanding of the various educational options and possible career paths open to them (Regeringen et al., 2016, p. 22).
Insights and outlooks: career learning in the final years of compulsory education (Udsyn i udskolingen)
In 2014 Denmark implemented a reform of primary and lower secondary schooling. This reform placed renewed focus on career education and stresses that career education shall be included in the school and in teaching subjects. Teaching subjects shall provide students with the opportunity of difference forms of education and jobs, facilitate experience-based learning, open the school to society and support reflection in relation to career development (see the description of education and work above) (Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education], 2014). With the reform, teachers were given a new task, which many – generally speaking – did not have the educational or practical background to implement. In consequence, a research and development project ‘Insights and outlooks: career learning in the final years of compulsory education’, was established. The aim of the project was to contribute to the development of methods and frameworks that allow all pupils in the final years of compulsory education (from 7 to 9) to encounter and experience upper secondary education and the world of work, understand and sort through these experiences (Poulsen, Thomsen, Buhl, & Hagmayer, 2016).
Young people in practice (Unge i praksis)
‘Young people in practice’ (Unge i praksis, n.d.) is a research and development project on career learning and career education. The target group for the project is students in the 7th grade. The project aims at developing and evaluate the way to do educational visits at the vocational schools and create work experiences for 7th grade students. The students participate in activities at a vocational school and are in an internship in a company or institution. A priority here is to create coherence between the activities and to support the students' reflections. This didactic design is developed and tested for the students in order to expand the students' experiences with and reflection on education and work and increase their awareness of possibilities in relation to this. The project Young people in practice is developed and implemented by the unit for education and vocational guidance in the municipalities (EUK) in collaboration with five Municipal Youth guidance units and schools in Allerød, Roskilde, Slagelse, Fredericia, Odder and Skanderborg municipalities and a number of vocational schools.
Training to teach Education and work
The Teachers Education's Leadership Network took the initiative to develop a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Education and work. The Education and work MOOC are a free online courses available for anyone to enrol providing a flexible way to develop skills on how to teach Education and work through all grades in compulsory school. The target group of the MOOC are teachers and teacher students but all who are interested in career learning and career education can sign up and participate free of charge. The Education and work MOOC has of workload corresponding to 5 ects. The first round of the MOOC is spring 2021 and the second is autumn 2021. People who have completed the Education and work course receive a diploma.
There are several ongoing local projects to enhance teachers’ competences to teach the topic of education and work; an example is in the Silkeborg municipality, where teachers are introduced to career learning, develop training sessions for students, and share their experiences with colleagues and others.
Career competences and career learning in upper secondary education programmes
The Act on improved upper secondary education programmes, where the focus on career competences and career learning in upper secondary education programmes is introduced (Regeringen et al., 2016, p. 22), is relatively new and schools are in the initial phase of finding out how to include these perspectives in schools and subjects. However, it must be noted that several institutions have trialled approaches integrating career learning in upper secondary education programmes (Katznelson, Lundby, & Møller Hansen, 2016).
Career focus in and after upper secondary education programmes
The project ‘Career focus in and after upper secondary education programmes’ (Karrierefokus i og efter gymnasiet) is a collaboration between the Regional Guidance Centre Copenhagen (Studievalg København), 17 upper secondary education programmes and three higher education programmes. The objective is to prevent young people becoming ‘unskilled students’ who do not complete an education or training programme after obtaining their general upper secondary diploma. It is suggested that there is a need to begin working purposefully with young people’s career competences at the upper secondary level, both through guidance provision and as part of the teaching (Karrierefokus i og efter gymnasiet, 2016).
Among other projects, there are two development projects exploring how career learning can be incorporated within higher preparatory examination programmes (HF) and within higher general examination programmes (STX), higher commercial examination programmes (HHX), and higher technical examination programmes (HTX). In the first mentioned project ‘Mind the gap’ on career learning in higher preparatory examination programmes an inspirational material was developed (Skovhus & Klindt Poulsen, 2020). The second of the above mentioned projects, among other things offered insight into how upper secondary teachers interpret ’career learning’ as a new educational concept, and how their understanding refers to a wish to maintain a meaningful educational practice (Skovhus & Felby, 2020).
Implementing a student-centred learning (SCL) approach to career management competence (CMC)
Though the past 10 years Danish policies have recognised the urgent need to support graduate transition into work, there is very little knowledge about how to achieve this aim effectively. The University of Southern Denmark’s (SDU) careers service development project ‘Job creation and entrepreneurship’ intends to overcome this deficiency (SDU RIO, n.d.). With a focus on students as future jobholders and job creators, the project has three components (Rott, 2015, p.76):
- a credit point (ECTS) carrying CMC course for all disciplines.
- an elective study module focusing on competence awareness, job seeking, job creation;
- measures supporting a change of attitude towards CMC among the academic staff.
The project relates to the overall SDU programme design which focuses on engaging students actively in their learning processes. Discarding the initial idea of a CMC course for all faculties, CMC courses (component 1) are now embedded in the content and adopt an interactive teaching/learning methodology of the disciplines. Content, teaching methods and assessment are tailored to each module. Experience has shown that the focus on student-centred learning goes well with the CMC focus, and that the structural reforms and political focus create a momentum for the career services to develop CMC activities. Simultaneously this approach has contributed to a change in attitudes among teaching staff (component 3).
The courses begin with student expectations, inputs from research on graduate labour market transition, career development theory, networking theories, and exercises. A range of learning activities are applied, with exercises varying from reflective writing in class, mapping of personal learning goals in relation to CMC, interviews with managers, CVs, job search and structured group discussions, feedback and further activities such as in-company training, product development and innovation. Assessment (written report and oral examination) is aligned to the content and methods applied, using, for example, reflexive questions on the learning process during the course. This makes the procedure meaningful from a student perspective. Evaluations have shown positive results and interesting aspects, like the relevance of peer group work. Students have made informative qualitative statements: ‘The course pushed me to think about what I want to do with this education […] because we had to think about who we are, what we can do and how we present ourselves’; ‘(The course) made me conscious of how I co-create my own future’; ‘It was nice to work on concrete and tangible themes in which you see potential and which you can use immediately compared to more abstract teaching’; ‘I have more courage to network in and outside the company. I have learned to initiate things’ (Rott, 2015, p.76).
Karrierefokus i og efter gymnasiet [Career focus in and after upper secondary]. (2016). http://www.karrierefokus-gym.dk/
Katznelson, N.; Lundby, A.; Møller Hansen, N.H. (2016). Karrierelæring i gymnasiet. “De vidste ikke, hvad de ville” [Career learning in upper secondary. 'They didn’t know what they vanted to do']. Aalborg Universitetsforlag.
Poulsen, B.K.; Thomsen, R.; Buhl, R.; Hagmayer, I.A. (2016). Udsyn i udskolingen [Insights and Outlooks – career learning in the final years of compulsory school]. http://vpt.dk/sites/default/files/2016-09/Bog%20om%20Udsyn%20i%20Udskolingen.pdf
Regeringen; Socialdemokraterne; Dansk Folkeparti; Liberal Alliance; Det Radikale Venstre; Socialistisk Folkeparti; Det Konservative Folkeparti (2016). Aftale mellem regeringen, Socialdemokraterne, Dansk Folkeparti, Liberal Alliance, Det Radikale Venstre, Socialistisk Folkeparti og Det Konservative Folkeparti om styrkede gymnasiale uddannelser [Agreement between the government etc. on a strengthened effort in relation to upper secondary].
Rott, G. (2015). Interdependencies in Modern Higher Education: Enhancing Career Management Competence and Student Centred Teaching and Learning. Journal of the European Higher Education Area, (2), 71–89.
Skovhus, R. B., & Felby, L. C. (2020). Gymnasielæreres forståelse af karrierelæring – en Koselleck inspireret begrebshistorisk analyse [How upper secondary teachers understand career learning - a Koselleck-inspired conceptual historical analysis]. Nordisk Tidsskrift i Veiledningspedagogikk [Nordic Journal of Guidance Pedagogy]. http://dx.doi.org/10.15845/ntvp.v5i1.2890
Skovhus, R. B., & Klindt Poulsen, B. (2020). Karrierelæring i HF. Inspirationsmateriale udviklet i Region Midt-projektet “Mind the gap.” [Career learning in HF. Inspirational material developed in the project "Mind the gap"] https://www.ucviden.dk/files/103121900/Karrierel_ring_i_HF_Mind_the_gap_Inspirationsmateriale_2020.pdf
SDU RIO. (n.d.). Sådan arbejder SDU med karrierevejledning [This is how SDU works with career guidance]. https://www.sdu.dk/da/samarbejde/employability/karrierelaering
Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education] (2014). Bekendtgørelse af lov om folkeskolen (Folkeskoleloven) [Consolidation Act on the primary and lower secondary school]. LBK nr 665 of 20/06/2014.
Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education] (2020). Bekendtgørelse af lov om folkeskolen (Folkeskoleloven) [Consolidation Act on the primary and lower secondary school]. LBK nr 1396 af 28/09/2020.
Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education] (2019e). Bekendtgørelse om introduktionskurser og brobygning til ungdomsuddannelserne (Brobygningsbekendtgørelsen) [Consolidation Act on taster courses]. BEK nr 1015 of 04/10/2019.
Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education] (2020f). Bekendtgørelse om vejledning om valg af ungdomsuddannelse og erhverv (Vejledningsbekendtgørelsen) [Consolidation Act on guidance in relation to choice of upper secondary (general or vocational) and vocation]. BEK nr 1152 af 07/07/2020.
Undervisningsministeriet [Ministry of Education]. (n.d.-a). Uddannelse og job - obligatorisk emne. Fagformål for faget uddannelse og job [Education and job - a mandatory subject. The aim for the subject]. https://emu.dk//sites/default/files/2018-11/GSK.%20F%c3%a6lles%20M%c3%a5l.%20Uddannelse%20og%20job..pdf
Unge i praksis [Young people in practice]. https://ungeipraksis.dk/