3.4 Career guidance and counselling
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Ireland has a developed career guidance support system across the education and training system including post-primary education, higher education and further education and training.
At a central government level, there are several Divisions within the Department of Education which have some involvement with career guidance. However, Indecon Review of Career Guidance (2019) states there is no explicit structural organisational mechanism which exists to co-ordinate the different areas involved in career guidance.
Career guidance policy within the Department of Education is supported by the National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE). The NCGE develops guidance policies and practice in education on behalf of the Department.
The Adult Educational Guidance and Information Service was also adopted by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in Ireland. This is a service that is available to everyone over 18 years of age and to those over 16 years who are not in full time education. The Service prioritizes those who are currently not in employment but is available to all. The Service supports people in exploring their further education and training options while developing a personal progression plan.
The Service offers
- One-to-one educational guidance
- Information on local and national courses
- Help with college applications
- Information on funding sources.
The Education Act, 1998 (section 9c) requires that schools ‘use its available resources to’ provide students with ‘access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices’.
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is the statutory planning and policy development body for higher education in Ireland, including policy for career guidance within the sector. With support from the HEA, the Universities and the Institutes of Technology directly provide career guidance supports for students.
SOLAS is responsible for funding FET Adult Guidance Services. Career guidance in Post Leaving Certificate colleges is delivered through the post primary guidance allocation model. Some participants in FET will also have had engagement on careers issues and options with DEASP’s Intreo service.
Guidance counselling in Ireland is practiced in a holistic and integrative way, and encompasses the areas of
- social/personal counselling
- vocational guidance counselling
- educational guidance counselling.
The Adult Education Guidance Initiative (AEGI) through local AEGS offices offers impartial one-to-one guidance and group guidance.
The Local Employment Service (LES) are a part of the public employment service Intreo. LES provides a local gateway, or access point, to the full range of services and facilities that are available to help jobseekers to enter or return to employment. This may include the provision of intensive personalized guidance leading to development of a personal progression plan, and career counselling.
In Ireland, measures to support youth employment involve a mix of initial assessment, career guidance and planning, education and training or work experience, aimed at increasing the capacity of the young people to access employment.
The main users of career guidance and counselling services in Ireland are:
- secondary school students
- third level students
Career guidance and counselling provided in Post Primary Schools and in Further Education and Training are the Department of Education and Skills.
The Irish Department of Social Protection funds guidance services provided in Intreo offices and by EmployAbility and local employment and job placements services.
The National Skills Strategy 2025 proposed a review of guidance services, tools, and careers information.
Indecon Review of Career Guidance, a Report of Independent Review of Career Guidance Tools and Information, was launched on the 24 April 2019. The recommendations emphasize the need for evidence-based reform and the involvement of all stakeholders. It is discussed in Chapter 3.11 Current debates and reforms.