Aims for, and access to, career development

John McCarthy, Bors Pecze


Career guidance is viewed as a policy instrument to support the achievement of a broad range of social policy goals for different segments of the population by most of the 33 countries taking part in this International Symposium. For young people, such goals include preparation for work and successful transitions to education, training, and employment.  For adults, they concern upskilling and reskilling, employment and employability, and managing multiple work transitions. For employers, they concern addressing skills shortages and workforce adaptability. For education systems, they are seen as a way to improve their efficiency and effectiveness - the retention, performance, and progression of students. For vulnerable groups in society, they concern social mobility through education and workforce participation. However, despite these high expectations, in many countries, access to career guidance services is limited in the education sector and exists mainly for the unemployed in the employment sector. Employers, people living in rural areas and disadvantaged adults in general have the most difficulties in accessing services. Policy expectations for career guidance, especially in the employment sector, are not matched by the quantity and quality of resources provided by government for such services and programmes. The public is rarely consulted in the development of policies for career guidance provision and in the design of services, despite the personal nature of such services. The use of customer feedback on career guidance provision is greatly underdeveloped in many countries, again despite the personal nature of such services, but some good examples of service and product codesigning are emerging. Ethical codes for career practitioners exist in countries with long-established career guidance systems but few provide advice to practitioners on how to deal with dilemmas arising from active labour market policies at the customers’ level. The general status and standing of the codes themselves are questionable.

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