The programme for developing a lifelong guidance system in Hungary is part of the Social Renewal Operational Programme (TÁMOP, Measure 2.2.2). The overall objective is to further develop career guidance and information tools available for all parties concerned and, as a result, to increase the labour market efficiency of the population of working age.
The programme rests on four major capacity-building pillars, carrying significant individual and social consequences for all labour market participants:
- a core network of lifelong guidance professionals,
- a wider lifelong guidance delivery network on different delivery levels,
- increase of the number of career guidance professionals, and
- development of career information tools.
These components provide the basis for development in that they improve both the career and self-knowledge of individuals who are seeking career guidance and their ability to make adequate career and training choices. In addition, they also contribute to the development of life and career path building competences. These changes will most certainly have a positive impact on the efficiency of the education system as well as on the success rate of individual clients trying to secure employment for themselves. On a socio-economic level that will contribute to a decrease in labour-market mismatches which, in turn, will increase the economy’s competitiveness, leading to higher employment figures and a reduction in social benefit expenditure.
1. The core network of lifelong guidance services
To provide lifelong guidance delivery for those who would like to seek professional advice prior to making career-related decisions, a new complimentary network has been established with 50 professional career counsellors, based in 24 cities and towns. Career guidance services are free of charge for the public. To ensure a uniform standard of operation, a set of unified guidelines has been developed. The guidelines cover all major aspects of the career counsellor’s work, including individual and group counselling, outreach programmes or the organisation of work visits. These services are available both in person or in the form of distance counselling (by phone, email).
2. The wider network of lifelong guidance delivery
Networks in all the seven regions of the country have been set up to cover all professionals working in guidance-related roles with potential users of a lifelong guidance service. More than 3 500 of such people have been contacted, out of which 600 work as trained career guidance providers and have some sort of lifelong guidance qualification. One of the main objectives is to encourage people working in different sectors (employment, public culture, education, social services, labour administration or entrepreneurial human resources) to develop a common identity as lifelong guidance professionals who belong to the same professional community. Participation at regional professional workshops organised on a regular basis constitutes the first step in that direction.
3. Increasing the number of career guidance professionals
Within the programme, special emphasis is laid on the training of professionals working in the field of career guidance or related areas. The long-term goal is to establish a professional community that is capable of providing high-standard career guidance services for people of all ages, educational backgrounds, circumstances and career ambitions. To this end, more than 1 900 teachers, social workers and other professionals in human services have participated in short, 30-hour training courses designed to train them in basic career guidance skills. In addition, as part of the TÁMOP 2.2.2 programme, support is being provided for two master’s level programmes in career guidance in cooperation with two universities.
4. Development of career information tools
Substantial developments have taken place in the development of career information tools, too. In accordance with the new occupation classification (based on ISCO-08) effective as of January 1, 2011, thematic films and file folders have been updated and new ones produced. The setting up of the National Lifelong Guidance Portal has also been started. Its Beta version is already accessible,, with new functions and tools continuously being added to it. While still under construction, the new portal will have several innovative components. These include, for example, a wide range of self-assessment questionnaires addressed to different target groups as well as databases, covering all sectors of education, training and employment opportunities. In addition, a Virtual Community of Career Guidance Professionals will also be set up to help professionals to get and keep in touch with one another.