3.4 Career guidance and counselling
Career guidance and counselling services
As defined in the Strategy for Career Guidance and Counselling in the Republic of Serbia the objective of the career guidance and counselling services is to provide to each individual:
- personal development in order to be able to understand themselves and influence their own decisions and initiatives in the field of education and professional development;
- to explore opportunities for learning and employment, or for work;
- to plan and manage changes in the area of his / her learning and work, or to manage his / her career.
Three ministries are responsible authorities for the career guidance and counselling in Serbia:
- the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development (Ministarstvo prosvete, nauke i tehnološkog razvoja)
- the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Ministarstvo omladine i sporta),
- the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy (Ministarstvo za rad, zapošljavanje, boračka i socijalna prava).
Besides the ministries, important role in career guidance has also the National Employment Service (Nacionalna služba za zapošljavanje). The National Employment Service plans and coordinates the work of 34 offices in Serbia. Additionally, 13 Centres for information and professional guidance (CIPS) have been established in major cities. Furthermore, counsellors working in the National Employment Service also provide services related to professional orientation to school-aged children.
Strategy for Career Guidance and Counselling in the Republic of Serbia (Strategija karijernog vođenja i savetovanja) was adopted in 2010 with Action Plan for the period 2011-2014. New Action Plan has not been adopted yet. The Strategy defines the role of ministries, service providers and stakeholders.
National Youth Strategy (2015-2025) (Nacionalna strategija za mlade) includes one specific aim which relates to the development of a functioning and sustainable system of career guidance and counselling.
The Strategy for Education Development (2012) (Strategija za razvoj obrazovanja), recognizes that career guidance in education should be improved, and states that until 2020 a system of career guidance and counselling should be developed and implemented at all educational levels, including adult education. This Strategy was followed by a set of changes of educational laws in 2013 that specified the role of career guidance in education.
The National Employment Strategy (2011-2020) (Nacionalna strategija zapošljavanja) recognizes the importance of career guidance, especially in relation to reducing the mismatch between the skills supply and demand in the labour market. It is complemented by annual Action plans which define the aims and priorities of the employment policies.
Besides the above listed strategies, following policies regulate career guidance and counselling in three sectors:
- Educational policies
The Law on the Foundation of Education System (2013) (Zakon o osnovama Sistema obrazovanja i vaspitanja) (and the following amendment in 2017) introduced a provision that special attention should be given to career guidance and education of teachers, students and adults.
To implement career guidance programme in schools changes in different educational laws were introduced:
- the Law on Primary Education (2013) (Zakon o osnovnom obrazovanju i vaspitanju),
- the Law on Secondary Education (2013) (Zakon o srednjem obrazovanju i vaspitanju),
- and the Law on Adult Education (2013) (Zakon o obrazovanju odraslih).
The latest Law on dual education (2017) (Zakon o dualnom obrazovanju) also recognizes the importance of career management skills and student employability, as well as the role of schools’ teams in career guidance of students.
2. Employment policies
The Labour Law (2017) (Zakon o radu) prescribes the rights to education, professional training and development, giving career guidance an important role in its implementation.
The Law on Employment and Insurance in Case of Unemployment (2017) (Zakon o zapošljavanju i osiguranju za slučaj nezaposlenosti) specifies the role and the activities of professional orientation and counselling in choosing profession through employment policy, measures of active employment policy, as well as concrete services provided to clients.
3. Youth policies
The Law on Youth (2011) (Zakon o mladima) emphasizes the importance of career guidance for young people and defines aims and activities.
Career guidance and counselling services are provided by different institutions in three sectors:
- primary school level - focused on professional orientation and making choices regarding the secondary school
- secondary school level – organized school teams for guidance and developing annual plans. The career guidance and counselling are being implemented by psychologists and pedagogues, within the educational and pedagogic services organized in secondary schools by subject teachers. Their activities include a broad spectrum of activities that include counselling, providing information and guidance. The programme and the activities of the pedagogic-psychological service fall within the competence of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.
- higher education level – university career centres provide career information and organize educational activities related to career management such as workshops, lectures and training courses to university students.
As the principal users of career guidance and counselling services, the Strategy of Career Guidance and Counselling recognizes:
- the unemployed,
- and employers.
It also pays special attention to the members of vulnerable groups, the young ones as well as those older than 45. In the field of employment (in employment services and agencies), the job seekers are the service users, while the end users of career guidance and counselling service are the employers themselves.
Besides the career centres formed in formal educational institutions and in National Employment Agency, there are also career centres or services within institutions and organizations that provide non-formal education, career centres within youth offices, different types of services for career guidance and counselling of adults - employed and unemployed, etc.
Regardless the area in which a career centre is established (education or employment), its work is planned to be founded on common standards. The Standards for Career Guidance and Counselling Services (Pravilnik o standardima usluga karijernog vođenja i savetovanja), adopted in June 2019, aims to establish an efficient and sustainable career guidance and counselling system.
Funds for financing the activities of the Strategy of Career Guidance and Counselling were secured through the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy 2010-2014 for the ministries and organizations involved in the implementation of this strategy.
No data about further funding in recent years is available. However, as the career guidance centres are now part of the institutions, they maintain their functioning.
Quality assurance system was officially established in June 2019 by adoption of Standards for Career Guidance and Counselling Services (Pravilnik o standardima usluga karijernog vođenja i savetovanja) which defines quality standards in 4 areas:
- Career Management Skills,
- Guidance Practitioners Competencies,
- Organisational Standards,
- Standards of Career Guidance Programs.
These Standards are aiming to provide guidelines to providers of services in all sectors for improvement of the quality of guidance services.