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Professionalising Careers Guidance?

There is a clear consensus in Europe that high quality guidance and counselling services play a key...

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Jenny Bimrose
13 May 2010


There is a clear consensus in Europe that high quality guidance and counselling services play a key role in supporting lifelong learning, career management and achievement of personal goals. The shift to lifelong guidance in the Member States can best be supported through European cooperation and by means of partnerships between national and regional authorities, social partners, guidance practitioners in education and employment, and young, adult and senior citizens as service users.
Establishing a coherent and holistic guidance system that is accessible over the whole
human lifespan has clear implications for the competences, qualifications and continuous professional development of guidance practitioners.

The issues of improving the professional profile and standards of guidance practitioners, and promoting their competences and skills, have been addressed in this report. Appropriate initial and further training of guidance counsellors is crucial as they have a central position in guidance service delivery and development.
Guidance and counselling is undergoing gradual change, resulting from the complex
demands placed by the society on career guidance practitioners, their working environments, and client groups becoming more diverse. In the coming years, we may expect career guidance practitioners to become more deeply involved in new areas such as validation of non-formal and informal learning, accreditation of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Moreover, guidance practitioners should become well acquainted with European VET policy initiatives, especially with the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF), and the European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET). All these new responsibilities will call for continuing professional development as well as continuous demonstration of relevant competences from individual guidance practitioners in the Member States.

The core message of this report is that there is a huge variation across Europe in terms of professional training available, competences and qualifications acquired through such training, roles and functions carried out by guidance practitioners and settings in which guidance services are offered. The report is a valuable reference source, especially for policy- and decision-makers as well as trainers of guidance practitioners in education and employment.

We hope that this report will stimulate future action in the Member States on developing
competences and qualifications for career guidance practitioners, as well as reinforcing their role in assuring high quality in service delivery.

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