CONCEPT, DEFINITION AND ACTIVITIES OF CAREER GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING

Ivan Prelovský

Abstract
This documents aims to clarify the concept and activities of career guidance and counselling. Career
guidance plays a key role in helping labour markets work and education systems meet their goals.
Social mobility relies on wider acquisition not just of knowledge and skills, but of an understanding about
how to use them. In this context, the mission of career guidance is widening, to become part of lifelong
learning.

Key words
lifelong learning, lifelong guidance, career guidance and counselling

Concept and Definition of Career Guidance and Counselling

The concept of career guidance has been widely used since the early seventies, although only
lately it has been insisted on a comprehensive approach of managing career during the entire lifetime.
Professional orientation and career guidance represent an organized system of social and professional
work on providing continuing help to the individual for the entire duration of his career development, in
free choice of direction and orientation, in education and professional activity, with the goal of achieving
a professional identity, in accordance with personal traits and the labour market demand for specific
occupations.
Professional orientation is a concept that has been used since the twenties, when first
counselling centres were established. During the seventies, the term career guidance and counselling
started to emerge and be used simultaneously. The wider, non-professional public understood the
concept of professional orientation narrowly as “helping the individual make decisions about the choice
of occupation and educational paths”. In its original expert layout, this concept covers the individual’s
lifetime cycle and all kinds of professional support and activities that he needs for making well-founded
decisions about his career and activities that contribute to his personal development and the society in
which he lives and thrives. In countries with a tradition of professional orientation, the term “educational
and professional guidance and counselling” is also used for “an organized activity that helps the
individual realize his competencies and trains him to plan the appropriate steps to develop essential
skills that will lead to personal, educational, economic, and social advancement for the individual, family,

in training institutions. of any age and at any point throughout their live. Such services may be found in schools. in the workplace. training and finding adequate job position. ƒ providing help to educational institutions in motivating individuals to take responsibility for their own education and work. training and occupational choices and to manage their career. and emphasizes not only the benefit for the individual. and mental health. and not a onetime intervention. The EU Council of Ministers’ Resolution on Lifelong Learning from 2004. and other areas where they might gain and apply abilities and competencies. the goal of which is to avoid or shorten periods of unemployment. universities and colleges. regional. The activities may take place on an individual or group basis. flexible professional development. and contribute to the wider and sustainable economic development. create equal possibilities for all. is regarded as systematic social and professional support to the development of human resources. to make educational. 2001). and national economy through the labour force development. competencies and interests. at any moment of their lives. job and leisure. It more directly leads towards the goals of this systematic activity. work. in the voluntary or community sector and in the private sector. ƒ contributing to the development of local. as well as professional promotion. to identify their own abilities. The definition of career guidance by OECD and the World Bank: “Career guidance refers to services and activities intended to assist individuals. training and work. defines career guidance as a series of activities that train individuals of any age. in countries where it is institutionally well established. Professional orientation. The concept of career guidance and counselling surpasses the initial choice of school and profession. in public employment services. ƒ providing help to companies and organizations in motivating their employees for further education. career management. Career guidance is worldly recognized as: ƒ training individuals to plan their education. to make decisions that affect their education.society and nation” (International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance. but also its strong social component. in accordance with the developmental policy and plans of the country. . and includes the matching of the individual’s professional and private roles. The same declaration emphasizes that it is a continuing process.

competencies. career education promotes understanding of the world of work through school programmes. values. That is. qualifications and abilities. trends. and to connect them to available training and employment options. achieving. career education programmes (to help individuals develop their self-awareness. skills. work and life. the activities of career guidance and counselling can be classified in six categories: 1) career information is all information necessary for planning. educational programmes and options. it includes the presumption that individuals can receive professional help in defining areas in which they can realize their aspirations. taster programmes (to sample option before choosing them). 2) career education is received in educational institutions. and situation at the labour market. and maintaining employment and volunteering. This information is regarded as the foundation of career guidance. Those can be different forms of career informing and career counselling that are directly integrated into subject areas by teachers. Activities that include career informing and career counselling can be integrated into subject and teaching areas in school or they can be realized as special group activities for students. In accordance with this definition of career guidance and counselling. That can be realized in different forms within the teaching process. or acquiring specific skills needed . career education promotes understanding of the world of work through school curricula. Activities of Career Guidance and Counselling The definition of career guidance and counselling includes the creation of information on labour market. and in different forms. job perspectives. interests. and it also teaches them how to plan their career and prepare for work. counselling interviews. government and non- governmental programmes and services. and psychologists. and the way in which they can contribute to the society they live in.” (OECD. opportunity awareness and career management skills). and transition services. non-formal). Also. It also includes information on occupations. They include tools. as well as employment options and their accessibility for the interested parties. It gives them the knowledge of the labour market. educational institutions (of all kinds – formal.and may be face-to-face or at a distance (including help lines and web-based services). pedagogues. 2004). career pathways (pathways in career realization). skills that enable them to make choices in the field of education. at any moment. personal traits. Unlike career counselling. This education helps individuals understand their motives. educational options. work search programmes. and it is administered by professors.

. monitoring individual’s progress. development of initial CV or professional resume. that is also included into the school curriculum. 6) career guidance and counselling for employees represent providing them with help and support with the goal of enabling them to advance in their career. helps them make informed decisions. transfer from school to work. 3) career guidance (as a specialized expert activity) helps individuals understand their own goals and aspirations. helping connect learning in school with learning within the very work process. connecting students. 4) counselling for employment helps individuals define immediate employment goals. Special employment skills can include the skills of career management. Work- based learning includes direct on-job training and recognized work experience. Some secondary schools and faculties organize this kind of activities for their students (job fairs). learning based on the work process. understand and engage in job training and gaining the needed skills and competencies. parents. It can be organized through public institutions or private initiative. Initial career planning includes initial interests and competencies assessment.for employment. organized as a special segment of the educational work. and these are initial career planning. commit to activities. 5) job placement (mediation in employment) is organizing or placing individuals in vacant job positions. employers and employment services. as well as the number and types of barriers that need to be overcome in order to find the right employment or develop career. and development of initial employment plan. These school activities support the goals of career guidance and counselling. It also represents providing support for employers in the process of professional education of employees when it is required by the work process and organization. The forms of career counselling are often themselves conditioned by the need for employment. introducing students to work options and conditions. participation in career and work experience research. on-job mentoring work. etc. and acquire the skills needed for job searching and maintaining it. maintain their job and move through the labour market. and networking activities. Three levels of activity within career management are commonly distinguished. Networking activities include actions that encourage employers and workers’ unions to participate in career counselling activities. their own identity. and manage changes in their career whether they are planned or not. a wide area of training for different fields of work. providing help for graduates in finding adequate job or additional training within the work process.

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