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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.4 Career guidance and counselling

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Career guidance and counselling services
  2. Funding
  3. Quality assurance

Career guidance and counselling services


Career guidance and counselling services 

Education and career guidance services for pupils and career counselling for students and adults are provided by several institutions. In the education sector, support for pupils, students or students in the choice of further education or vocational path is provided by: schools (school career counsellors), psychological and pedagogical counselling centres, centres of practical training/further education, vocational training institutions, academic career offices. The institutions of the public administration sector offering support in choosing a professional path or further education are: employment offices, Voluntary Labour Corps (OHP), social welfare centres. Career counselling services are also provided by: non-governmental organisations, private career counselling centres and career counsellors running business, private employment agencies.  

The basic legal act necessitating the organization and support of vocational guidance by public authorities is the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April 1997. (Dz.U. 1997, No. 78, item. 483, as amended). Individual ministries issue legal acts that regulate the guidance services in their subordinate institutions. 

Career guidance in schools 

Career guidance in schools is available for all pupils.  

As of 1 September 2019, educational institutions (excluding art schools) are statutorily obliged to carry out activities in the field of career guidance at all stages of school education.   


In primary and secondary schools, career counselling is carried out during compulsory classes in general education and classes related to the choice of education and profession conducted as part of psychological and pedagogical assistance. In schools providing vocational education this is also provided during compulsory classes in vocational education, and starting from grade 7 of primary general school – there are additional classes in career counselling. 


Each educational institution is obliged to prepare an annual programme of implementation of tasks in the field of career guidance. The programme should take into account the in-house system of career counselling. The above-mentioned regulation defines the tasks of career counsellors at school and the curriculum content for different stages of education, which are focused on four areas: 

- getting to know oneself/ one's own resources; 

- the world of professions and the labour market; 

- educational market and lifelong learning; 

- planning own development and making educational and career decisions. 

The career guidance staff within the education system are provided with support from the Centre for Education Development (Center for the Development of Education - ORE)  (until 1 July 2016, the National Centre for the Promotion of Vocational and Continuing Education - National Center for Supporting Professional and Continuing Education KOWEZiU)

The Centre for Education Development is a central public institution for teacher training with nationwide coverage. The body responsible for the Centre is the Minister of National Education. ORE is carrying out a project under the Knowledge Development Education Operational Programme (Program Operacyjny Wiedza Edukacja Rozwój 2014-2020 (PO WER) The project is called “Effective Educational and Vocational Guidance for Children, Adolescents and Adults” (Efektywne doradztwo edukacyjno-zawodowe dla dzieci, młodzieży i dorosłych). 

The main goal of the project is: to create a framework for the effective functioning of educational and vocational guidance in the education system. 

Psychological and pedagogical counselling centres for school youth 

The activities of schools in the field of educational and vocational guidance are supported by public psychological and pedagogical counselling centres, including specialist counselling clinics. 

According to data from the Educational Information System (System Informacji Oświatowej) as of 30 September 2015 there were 949 psychological and pedagogical counselling centres in Poland (of which 561 were public), including 48 specialist counselling clinics (of which 19 were public). In 2018, there were 1052 psychological-pedagogical and specialised counselling centres. 

The operation of public psychological and pedagogical counselling centres falls under the remit of the educational tasks of districts. There is at least one public psychological and pedagogical counselling centre in each district in Poland, which provides free psychological and pedagogical assistance. 

Those counselling centres provide support to children and adolescents who require psychological and pedagogical help or assistance in choosing the direction of their education and their occupation, and in planning their education and career. This assistance is particularly important for students with special educational needs, particularly those with disabilities and illnesses. Help is provided in the form of advice and consultations, workshops, lectures and speeches. 

Public psychological and pedagogical counselling centres also provide support to schools, teachers and other professionals in the planning and implementation of educational and vocational guidance (by organising workshops, meetings with teachers, participating in consultations and sitting on teachers’ councils). 

In addition, the counselling centres provide information and training services regarding educational and vocational guidance aimed at students, parents and teachers

Career guidance at Voluntary Labour Corps (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy

Voluntary Labour Corps (OHP) are government-financed entities supervised by the Minister of Family and Social Policy. 

The target audience of the actions undertaken by OHP are: 

  • Minors (aged 15 to 17) from educationally malfunctioning backgrounds who are not fulfilling their schooling and educational obligations, have problems with graduating, and need to acquire vocational qualifications. 

  • Persons aged 18 to 25, including those who are looking for a job or want to be retrained, unemployed, school graduates, and students. 

OHP, as labour market institutions, provide free services to young people, including job placement and career guidance and information services; conduct workshops on active job searching; organise training; and implement labour market schemes (e.g. under the Youth Guarantee Initiative). 

Career guidance at OHP is generally provided to people aged 15 to 25, but is also available to those older if they contact OHP. 

Career counsellors provide in-house counselling at Youth Career Centres and mobile counselling by visiting the interested institutions (e.g. schools) with Mobile Career Information Centres. 

Career counsellors help choose a future career, plan one’s career and education, as well as offer assistance with changing jobs, self-employment or job seeking. 

They take into account local employment opportunities as well as the individual professional and personal predispositions of the young person. Their task is also to familiarise their clients with the local labour market and how to look for work. 

Student Career Centres (Akademickie Biura Karier

Student Career Centres are entities whose mission is the professional activation of students and graduates of higher education, run by a higher education institution or a student organisation, whose duties include: 

  1. providing students and graduates with information on the labour market and opportunities for improving professional qualifications, 

  1. collection, classification and dissemination of job, internship and work placement offers, 

  1. maintaining a database of students and higher education institution graduates interested in finding a job, 

  1. assisting employers in obtaining suitable candidates for job vacancies and internships, 

  1. helping with active job seeking. 

In 2014, it was estimated that 346 Student Career Centres were in operation at 442 Polish higher education institutions. However, it should be emphasised that this is an indicative figure only. 

Career guidance at public Employment Offices (Urzędy Pracy

Career guidance is a labour market service provided by Public Employment Services (district Employment Offices at district level, and career information and planning centres at provincial level). 

Career guidance consists of an employee of the Employment Office providing assistance in the form of face to face contact with the person in need of assistance, or via telephone or the Internet. 

As part of the career guidance service, Employment Office workers also conduct group meetings in the form of workshops with the people in need of aid. 

Career guidance services include assistance with: 

  • choosing or changing one’s profession, 

  • career planning, 

  • supplementing professional qualifications, 

  • defining one’s competences and interests, 

  • planning of professional development. 

Career guidance at district Employment Offices and at career information and planning centres is free of charge and is provided in accordance with the following principles: 

  • accessibility, 

  • voluntariness, 

  • equality regardless of sex, age, disability, race, ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religious affiliation or trade union membership, 

  • freedom to choose one’s profession and place of employment, 

  • date confidentiality and protection.  

Career guidance provided by non-governmental organisations 

NGOs specialise in educational and/or vocational guidance for selected categories of beneficiaries, such as disabled people (e.g. The Fuga Mundi Foundation in Lublin), children and adults with autism (The Synapsis Foundation), young homeless people requiring various forms of support (The Monar Association), and young people leaving orphanages or foster families (The Robinson Crusoe Foundation). 

NGOs are complementary to public sector services. Their activities are funded by public, private and European funds. 


Educational and vocational counselling for pupils, and career guidance for students and adults are free of charge and are financed from public funds. In non-public institutions, career guidance services may be fee-based.  

Quality assurance


Poland has an institutional support system for pupils in the field of educational and vocational counselling as well as institutions providing career guidance services for students and adults. There is, however, no reliable system for assessing the quality of their performance and evaluation. This results in a particularly vulnerable position of disabled young people who have problems in accessing professional career guidance. 

Work is ongoing on developing best practice solutions for the functioning of in-school educational and vocational counselling systems at different stages of education in the reformed school system: primary school, lower and upper secondary trade school, upper secondary technical school, general secondary school, and post-secondary school. 

The works are carried out under the project Effective Educational and Vocational Guidance for Children, Adolescents and Adults within the framework of the 2014-2020 Knowledge Education Development Operational Programme. 

In 2020 the Ministry of Education and Science completed the Integrated Skills Strategy 2030 -a policy for skills development in line with lifelong learning. Its aim is to design a coherent and coordinated policy for skills formation and development, ensuring equal access to information on skills supply and demand, career guidance and training offers related to skills formation and development.