3.4 Career guidance and counselling
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The basis of the current education policy in the German-speaking Community, which was introduced during the 2004-2009 legislative period and further developed by the Regional Development Concept (Regionales Entwicklungskonzept, REK) and the government statement of 15 September 2009 (Gemeinschaftspolitische Erklärung der Regierung der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft), is the overall education policy concept, whose core areas, with regard to outcome-based and practical education/training, promote quality development in schools, increase fair access to education and create opportunities to learn professional skills. The aim of the overall education policy concept, with regard to the individual school pupil, can be summed up as follows: the young person should be provided with a basis for lifelong learning and personal, social and professional development. Various projects and sub-projects serve to implement the overall concept. In the field of employment, the German-speaking Community is also responsible for supporting and finding jobs for unemployed people, as well as careers information and advice, job creation schemes (including professional retraining and further training) and work permits. Due to the fact that powers relating to employment and youth fall within the responsibility of a single minister in the current government, employment and youth policy measures can be even better coordinated for the benefit of young people.
In particular, the policy aims to train as many young people as possible and ensure they are even better equipped to choose the right career. It also aims to recruit low-skilled or inappropriately qualified job-seekers for shortage occupations and find employment more rapidly for qualified job-seekers. A particular attention is therefore given to counselling and guidance where both, schools and the employment office are involved. But also the youth sector plays an important role in counselling and guidance - in particular the youth information centres which give also information on employment topics. Moreover, they carry out “future projects” in schools. These projects have the aim to raise consciousness at young people for their own “life planning”.
- Vocational guidance department
The vocational guidance department provides a range of services to do with the subject of career choice and career (re)orientation, both for young people and for adults (job-seekers, workers, etc.). Here the spectrum goes from the provision of career-related materials via information event for pupils and young people up to individual consultations. Also the self-information zone and the activities dealing with application training have been allocated to the department. The range of advisory services is supplemented by medical and psychological consultations for adults that are not least for determining the suitability of a person for certain professions.
- draws up, updates and publishes information on careers and training paths (more than 110 career information packs, brochures such as “Training for pupils and young people in the German-speaking Community”, etc.)
- provides assistance in the career choice preparation in collaboration with the PMS centres, schools, parents and other people involved: Organisation of the BIZ mobile weeks for pupils in St.Vith and Eupen, class activities in the schools, lectures and attendance at events etc.
The aim is to provide young people and adults with information so that they can independently make a choice of career that is in keeping with their inclinations and abilities. If possible this information also contains the realities of the labour market.
- Career and training advice
The individual career advice pursues the aim of promoting the permanent integration of the person seeking advice into the labour market.
The career advice contains guidance for persons seeking advice so that they can make a realistic choice of training and career starting from their interests, abilities and knowledge and with the help of the available information and instruments.
Psychological and medical services
If need be, the psychologist at the job centre advises and supports job-seekers in their career guidance and socio-professional integration taking particular account of the medical, social and psychological aspects.
By means of psychological examinations the suitability of job-seekers for a training course or of applicants for a particular job is assessed.
Application & coaching
The staff of this service offer consultations and training activities to support job-seekers in searching for jobs independently by giving them the required information, knowledge and abilities.
The interAktiv meeting point (“TIAK” for short) was designed as a self-service zone that enables job-seekers to carry out their job search individually and independently. The display of the current Job Centre job vacancies, situations vacant from the press, free internet access, information on careers, helpful information leaflets and employer documentation as well as free use of the whole infrastructure (phone, fax, copier, PC etc.) is available to those attending. The TIAK staff are responsible for updating the documentation available, explain the use of the self-service zone to the job-seekers and help with practical problems. In addition, they advise users on request about writing CVs, application letters etc.
The job of Kaleido Ostbelgien is to provide support to schoolchildren in their intellectual, mental, physical and social development. They also provide sex counselling as part of their activity.
The staff are psychologists, nurses, doctors and social workers who work together in a team and thus ensure an integrated approach. In the German-speaking Community there are four hubs in Büllingen, Kelmis, Eupen and Sankt Vith.
Kaleido Ostbelgien offers schoolchildren, parents and teachers various services:
- Readiness for school examinations and consultations on the transition from nursery into school Year 1
- Information and advice on the transition from primary school to secondary school
- Group activities in consultation with the school to promote the personal development of the pupils and living together in the class group
- Support in the development of a learning technique as well as in the choice of degree course or career.
- Preventive healthcare: preventive examinations, health education (dental prophylaxis and healthy nutrition, sex education and aids prevention, safety in the workplace and in the playground etc.)
Department for Self-determined Living
For people with physical or mental disabilities there is a specific range of advice services. The corresponding requests are made as a rule via the Department for Self-determined Living (Dienststelle für Selbstbestimmtes Leben, DSL).
ReferNet - The Belgian network of reference and expertise in the area of vocational education
The careers advice of the Job Centre of the German-speaking Community is part of the ReferNet Belgium network. ReferNet is a structured, devolved, networked system for recording and disseminating information. ReferNet was set up by Cedefop to meet the growing demand for information enabling comparisons between the developments and political procedures in the member states. It supplies high quality information on a wide spectrum of developments in the area of vocational education and learning in the European Union by bringing together the specialist knowledge of important organisations.
ReferNet includes one national consortium in each member state composed of organisations that representatively reflect the institutions there in the area of vocational education. The network brings together organisations that have a common interest in promoting vocational education and learning. It stimulates the reciprocal exchange of information and promotes the forming of partnerships. It offers the members of the consortium the opportunity to expand their contacts to other international organisations in Europe and also outside Europe.
Each consortium is led by a national coordinator that is responsible for setting up the consortium and ensures that the tasks with which the network is entrusted are satisfactorily carried out. In Belgium the consortium is led by Bruxelles Formation.
The tasks of the network are divided into three areas:
- Documentation and dissemination
- Gathering and analysing information
Euroguidance is the European network for careers advice and since 1992 has supported professional and educational mobility within the European Union. In each member state of the EU and of the EEA and in Turkey and Switzerland there are one or several Euroguidance centres available which are promoted by the European Commission as part of the Lifelong Learning Programme. In Belgium the career guidance department of the Job Centre is a Euroguidance Centre.
The Euroguidance network pursues in particular the following aims:
- promoting mobility in Europe by creating and disseminating information material and for advising people interested in a degree course or further training abroad.
- the development of a European dimension in the system of education and career information and advice by exchange and further training with the aim of reinforcing the skills of the advisers in this area and of supporting innovative advice approaches.
Institute for Training and Further Education of Medium-Sized Businesses (Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes, IAWM)
The apprentice secretaries of the IAWM give information among other things on skilled trades, admission requirements, on specialist and general teaching in the Centre for Training and Further Education od Medium-Sized Businesses (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes, ZAWM) or via vacant apprenticeship places.
In addition, the IAWM is responsible for the starting and internship bonus and for the target group reduction for tutors.
- Starting and internship bonus
The so-called starting bonus is a premium paid to a young person who successfully completes a dual training course during part-time compulsory education. Apprentice are entitled to this bonus. The internship bonus is a premium that the employer receives if he employs a young person on an apprentice contract. The legal basis is the Royal Edict on the starting and internship bonus of 01 September 2006 (Königlicher Erlass über den Start- und den Praktikumsbonus vom 01. September 2006).
- Target group reduction for tutors:
The employer who enables a young person to have professional training or a placement may apply for a reduction of the employer contributions to the social security (LSS reduction) for the “tutor” (trainer).
- Exemption rules (states on what conditions the unemployed may start a training/degree course and at the same time be paid unemployment benefit)
The youth information centres
Alongside the facilities already mentioned, of course the youth information centres also provide information on vocational guidance. Anyone who would like to change careers by further training can obtain advice from the German-speaking Community further training service.
Also the School and Business study group (Studienkreis Schule und Wirtschaft) keeps offering children and young people the opportunity to get to know the world of work better.
In 2021, 25,796,000 euros have been earmarked in the budget of the German-speaking Community for the area of employment and solidarity economy.
Of those 25,796,000 euros, the Job Centre has incurred expenditure of 7,375,000 euros in 2021 for exercising its tasks.
No specific quality assurance systems exixst for career guidance and counselling in the German-speaking Community.