3.4 Career guidance and counselling
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The National Employment Agency functioning under the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, offers career guidance and counselling services for each unemployed person, including for young people.
These counselling services targeting unemployed young people have been included in the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan, and therefore there are closely monitored, being reinforced by this plan and supplementary monitoring.
Career guidance and counselling services are also provided for young people in education and training.
Public career guidance and counselling services targeting young people take place:
- within the premises of local offices of the National Employment Agency, for young unemployed people through providing information regarding the available schemes: Youth Guarantee, career counselling, internship opportunities.
- within the formal education institutions. The counsellor is an education specialist who plans and carries out counselling individual or group education aimed at adapting the pupil to specific problems in school environment; implements career education programs for the purpose of training competencies in the fields covered by the curricular area ‘Counselling and guidance’; organises programs extracurricular of vocational orientation; promotes and implements education programs for health care aimed at training and developing students' lifestyle management skills.
- within the information and counselling centres organised by the youth centres, formally subordinated to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and currently under the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities, if qualified staff is employed by these county offices for counselling youth on career.
The law on employment and unemployment provides that: local offices of the National Employment Agency have to provide tailored counselling services for young NEETs and marginalised young people. Moreover, funding for these activities is accessible for the National Employment Agency, the Ministry in charge of the youth field, their subordinated county or local offices, NGOs and private providers of employment services and training.
Funding for career guiding and counselling provided by the public employment services is ensured by a special budgetary fund of social insurance. The value of funding for the career guiding and counselling for young people cannot be determined in the total budget of the National Employment Agency for active employment measures.
According to the National Employment Agency reports for 2018, the total amount allocated for employment measures have been over 8 629 000 lei in 2018, with 77,22% expenditures actually made. The amount grew from 178 million lei (up to 40 million Euro) used in 2012 for the same measures, according to the 2012 annual report of the NEA to 273 million lei (about 60 million Euro) in 2016 and over 238 milion lei (about 51 million Euro) in 2017, according to the annual report, but was reduced to less than 2 million Euro in 2018.
This budget reduction can be compensated by the European Social Fund projects supported by the Operational Programme Human Capital:
- in 2018, the project ACTIMOB 1 suported registration and support for young NEETs with a budget of 2 112 246 lei (about 470 000 Euro)
- in 2018-2021, the project ACTIMOB 2 supports suported registration and support for young NEETs with a budget of 227 783 035 lei (over 49 500 000 Euro)
- in 2017-2019, the project ACTIMOB NEETs supported registration and support for young NEETs with a budget of 40 866 509 Euro
- in 2019-2021, the project ACTIMOB 3 supported registration and support for young NEETs with a budget of 57 126 603 Euro Euro.
Due to the form of budgets of public institutions in Romania, it is not possible to determine the amount allocated only for career guidance and counselling services for young people in schools, universities and the information and counselling centres.
In schools and universities, the costs for these services are included in staff wages.
In the information and counselling centres, these costs have been included in the total subsidy from the Ministry of youth and Sports, and in the staff wages of the county offices for sport and youth. These subsidies reached 200 000 Euro in 2016 but decreased to less than 40 000 Euro (180 000 lei) in 2018 and less than 32 000 Euro (150 000 lei) in 2019, according to the budget for 2018 and 2019. The budget allocated in 2020 and 2021 to the centres was about 100 000 Euro (500 000 Euro).
The quality assurance mechanisms used by the National Employment Agency or by the schools in providing career counselling, if any, are not publicly available. The National Employment Agency monitors and can inspect its local offices, but this monitoring process is not focused on services for young people and the outcome of the monitoring is not systematically centralised.
For the information and counselling centres organised by the youth centres, the Ministry responsible in the field of youth monitors and can inspect the centres. The outcome of this monitoring process has been centralised and made publicly available by the Ministry of Youth and Sports only in 2016. The monitoring resulted in a set of general recommendations for the centres regarding their infrastructure and the need to employ qualified youth workers and counsellors.