There are several guidance services, public or private, paid or free of charge.
Mandatory education (from the age of six until 18)
Teachers are responsible for guidance according to an official mission statement published in 1997. Article 8 clearly states that ‘each school (mandatory education) integrates guidance within the educational process, by encouraging the discovery of professions and informing pupils about education and training possibilities’.
Article 22 of the same decree further specifies that the conseil de classe (class council, teachers’ meeting in charge of continuous assessment) is responsible for guidance. Each pupil is guided in the development of a school and professional project. Each school elaborates a plan de pilotage (control plan) which includes the strategy for pupil guidance and the promotion of guidance tools along the school path. Teachers and psycho-medical-social centres work in collaboration to offer guidance activities to pupils throughout their schooling.
The Centres Psycho-médico-sociaux (CPMS, psycho-medical-social services) are independent free services within the education system, linked to each school. They have the following three missions: (decree 14.07.2006 https://www.gallilex.cfwb.be/document/pdf/31007_000.pdf):
- promote the psychological, medical and social conditions which offer the pupils the best chances to develop harmoniously their personalities and to prepare them to assume their roles of autonomous and responsible citizens and to take their place in the social, cultural and economic life;
- contribute to the educational of pupils, throughout their school career, by supporting the implementation of the means which will enable them to progress continuously, with a view to ensuring equal opportunities of access to social, civic and personal emancipation. In this respect, the centres will mobilize, inter alia, the available resources of the family, social and school environment of the pupils;
- from a lifelong guidance perspective, support pupils in the positive construction of their personal, school and career projects, and of their socio-professional insertion
Ambitious reform (Pacte pour un Enseignement d’excellence) aims to improve the education system through better support to school pathways, greater empowerment of education professionals, improvement of skills and knowledge, and improvement of governance in education. This reform includes improving guidance in schools and reform the psycho-medico-social centres. Diversified guidance activities are to be set throughout the compulsory schooling to develop career management skills.
A portal dedicated to guidance is being developed within the school system.
Links are also to be strengthened between the school guidance system and access to information in specialised structures such as Cités des Métiers (Cities of trades). A counsellor, financed by the education sector (French-speaking Community) participates in each of the four Cités des Métiers to encourage those links and contribute to setting up guidance activities in secondary schools.
Higher education (post-secondary level)
Each higher education provider offers a guidance service (offering information provision, guidance and reorientation) coordinated by the academic Pôles . An academic Pole is a geographic grouping of high schools and is a place of consultation and dialogue between higher education institutions, located in the same geographic area. Its main mission is to promote and support all forms of collaboration among its members and to encourage them to work together to provide quality services to students.
There are partnerships, within the Cité des Métiers, between guidance professionals and academic experts:
The academic Pôle of Brussels, for instance, also participates in the Brussels Cités des Métiers, offering first line counselling about post-secondary studies, initiating reflection on study choice and then passing on to the guidance services of each higher education provider, considered as ‘second line’.
In Wallonia, DIORES is a multi-partnership project, jointly financed by the European Social Fund Agency (ESF), which aims to promote access to full-scale higher education or social promotion, throughout life. Its objective is threefold: to support citizens in the construction of their project; make information about higher education available in the Walloon Trades Cities and CEFOs; and to encourage links between guidance professionals, academic or professional integration experts
Vocational guidance is provided by several organisations in charge of vocational training and by the public employment service (PES). Regional services oversee guidance for adults. There are ‘mirror’ services developed in the two regions of Wallonia and Brussels.
FOREM (Formation Emploi – Office wallon de la formation professionnelle et de l’emploi) is the public service for employment and vocational training in Wallonia. It is the main service for the implementation of employment and training policy in the Wallonia Region. One of its main missions is to offer career guidance and counselling to every job seeker in Wallonia. FOREM provides jobseekers with personalised advice services, career planning and information designed to help them in their search for work or their professional development. FOREM also offers essais métiers (profession testing) which enable jobseekers to gain job experience in one or several professions (for one or two weeks) before engaging in a training session. Different partners complete this offer.
Another project developed by FOREM is the MISIP (stage de mise en situation professionnelle) which allows the jobseeker to gain experience in an enterprise for three up to 15 days. The offers for jobseekers are diversified and in geographic proximity to individual needs.
FOREM counsellors and decentralised Maisons de l'Emploi offer a first level of guidance for jobseekers: information on training offers or interregional mobility. Their mission is to define the needs of the public and to propose job seeking or training pathways, skills assessment, screening or connection to another service. Maisons de l'Emploi are local structures, in partnership with towns and communes. They can offer jobseekers personalised support in collaboration with local socioeconomic actors. They also collaborate with local actors: agences locales pour l’emploi (ALE), agences de développement local (ADL), non-governmental associations working in training and professional integration, adult education, and Missions regionals pour l’emploi (MIRE). Workshops and information sessions are organised in collaboration with partners. Jobseekers can also have personal meetings with a counsellor.
CEFO (Carrefours emploi formation orientation) offers specialised guidance with individual or collective advice for professional project setting. They are supported by a Convention Cadre as from July 2013 as a guidance multipartenarial service. They form a structural partnership with:
- FOREM (PES Wallonia service);
- the Agence pour une vie de qualité (AVIQ, agency for a quality life, counselling for insertion of the people with disabilities);
- several professional integration services;
- adult education;
- dual training operators (IFAPME, Institut wallon de Formation en alternance et des Indépendants et des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises);
- local missions for employment (MIRE, missions regionals pour l’emploi).
The CEFO served as a base for the development of Cités des Métiers (one-stop multipartenarial services in current development). Their mission is guidance, finding a training opportunity or creating their own activity. CEFO are considered as local relays of the Cités des Métiers set in three towns in Wallonia (Namur, Liège and Charleroi).
For the Brussels-Capital Region, ACTIRIS is the public service that oversees employment and training. Some of the services of ACTIRIS include:
- Bruxelles Carrefour Formation (training opportunities for job seekers);
- EFPME: https://www.efp.be/ dual education service offering information about training opportunities they organise;
- Missions locales pour l’emploi: https://be.brussels/travailler-et-entreprendre/travailler/un-emploi-a-bruxelles/missions-locales-dinsertion-socio-professionnel linked with municipalities carry out activities of information, guidance and orientation for low qualified jobseekers.
For both regions
Four Cités des Métiers (Cities of Trades) (Brussels, Charleroi, Namur and Liege) are currently being developed in Brussels and Wallonia. They organise institutional collaboration between education, vocational training, and employment sectors to offer counselling and guidance services. They are a shared space between actors in training, employment and teaching at the service of any public in search of information, advice and guidance on trades and professional life. Their mission is to guide users to all means of developing and achieving professional objectives and to accompany them in their choices. The public benefits from interviews with professionals from institutions in the fields of orientation and professional self-service documentation on employment, trades and training, and information days, seminars and meetings organised by partners or jointly produced with external partners.
The Brussels Cité des Métiers is one of the career counselling services set up by the Brussels-Capital Region PES to provide free career guidance to all citizens in one central location. It includes a new 1100 square metre interactive space - the biggest in Europe - for accessing counselling and guidance. The initiative presents significant challenges as it is the first project to bring together all the guidance, employment, training and education stakeholders (both French- and Dutch-speaking) in the Brussels Region. Since the institutional context in Brussels involves many stakeholders, the aim is to provide local residents with a single point of contact, so they can be sure which stakeholder to contact.
The Brussels Cité des Métiers has a single purpose for primary school pupils, jobseekers, those wishing to retrain and recent graduates: to provide better lifelong guidance and counselling. The service offers people who are looking for information or advice, the resources they need to develop their professional career; it is open to all, anonymous and free of charge. Visitors receive guidance on how to draw up an education or career plan and can take advantage of ultramodern ICT equipment, individual consultations and a wide range of group activities (such as information sessions, CV workshops and job days). The project is organised jointly by:
- Bruxelles Formation: the public body responsible for vocational training for French-speaking jobseekers and workers in Brussels;
- Actiris: the public employment service (PES) in Brussels;
- VDAB (Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding Brussel): the public body responsible for vocational training for Flemish-speaking jobseekers and workers in Brussels.
These three institutions have pooled their resources to provide the people of Brussels with expert advice in the following five main areas:
Cité des Métiers forms part of the Brussels Regional government’s 2025 Strategy and 2020 Training plan, which specifically recommends the creation of a shared space for providing more personalised advice and the establishment of a one-stop information shop. The Cité des métiers of Charleroi http://www.cdmcharleroi.be/ is already creating activities to discover the world of work and tools to encourage positive training choices. They also develop online services and offer various guidance activities:
- self-knowledge workshops aimed at the school public (end of secondary upper school) as well as to adults wishing to redefine their work project: the mission of these workshops is to help participants to know themselves better, in order to help them to define and implement their projects.
- individual face to face meetings;
- activities such as ‘real life, real challenges’ where young secondary schools pupils are put in the shoes of a young adult, based on 39 trades listings. These activities help tackle prejudice, gender and labour market issues;
- information sessions on various topics;
- a new application ‘videobox’, allows exploration of trades and skills that lead to them.
The Cités des Métiers of Liège https://www.cdmliege.be/fr and of Namur https://www.cdmnamur.be/ have been developed on the same model and provide various guidance services on site or online.
Agence pour une vie de qualité (AVIQ) https://www.aviq.be/
Bruxelles Formation. https://www.bruxellesformation.brussels/
Carrefours Emploi Formation Orientation. https://www.leforem.be/contact/carrefours-emploi-formation-orientation.html
Cité des métiers Brussels. https://www.citedesmetiers.brussels/
Cité des Métiers de Charleroi. http://www.cdmcharleroi.be/
Cité des Métiers de Liège https://www.cdmliege.be/fr
Cité des Métiers de Namur https://www.cdmnamur.be/
Découvrir un métier - Essais métiers. https://www.leforem.be/particuliers/tester-metier-essais-metiers.html
Décret définissant les missions prioritaires de l'enseignement fondamental et de l'enseignement secondaire et organisant les structures propres à les atteindre. https://www.gallilex.cfwb.be/document/pdf/21557_039.pdf
Le FOREM https://www.leforem.be/what-can-le-forem-do-for-you.htm
Institut wallon de formation en alternance et des indépendants et petites et moyennes entreprises (IFAPME). https://www.wallonie.be/fr/acteurs-et-institutions/wallonie/autres-acteurs-publics-de-la-region-wallonne/institut-wallon-de-formation-en-alternance-et-des-independants-et-petites-et-moyennes-entreprises
Les Agences de développement local. https://emploi.wallonie.be/home/developpement-local/agences-de-developpement-local.html
Les Agences Locales pour l'emploi. https://emploi.wallonie.be/home/creation-demploi/agences-locales-pour-lemploi.html
Maisons de l'Emploi. https://www.leforem.be/contact/maisons-de-l-emploi.html
Mise en situation professionnelle (MISIP). https://www.leforem.be/particuliers/tester-metier-mise-en-situation-professionnelle.html
Missions régionales pour l’emploi (MIRE). http://www.missionsregionales-emploi.be/
Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding Brussel (VDAB). https://www.vdab.be