3.4 Career guidance and counselling
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Career guidance and counselling services
Article 24 of the Labour Market Regulation Act (Zakon o urejanju trga dela) states that ‘lifelong career orientation services shall be provided for preventive purposes to pupils, secondary-school students, university students and their parents supporting the career orientation programme of schools and faculties’. Lifelong career orientation services include activities leading to insights about the labour market.
One of the measures of the YG is lifelong guidance. The aim of the measure is to increase the availability of information about careers, future employment opportunities and career management skills. For these purposes, the following actions are anticipated:
- Career centres for youth (Karierni centri za mlade): The organisations responsible for this measure are the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (MDDSZ) and the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS). Implementation started in September 2016.
- Open, responsive, high-quality system of higher education - Further development and implementation of career centres in higher education 2015–2020 (Odprt, odziven in kakovosten sistem visokega šolstva - Nadaljnji razvoj in izvajanje dejavnosti kariernih centrov v visokem šolstvu 2015–2020): The organisation responsible for this measure is the the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (MIZŠ). A tender was published in June 2016.
Since the implementation of the YG in 2014, youths are offered more information and counselling within the first four months after registering as unemployed than other unemployed groups. At least two counselling sessions, short group presentations and online communication are offered to each unemployed young person to help them achieve their career goals and find appropriate opportunities.
Progress has been made in terms of professionalizing lifelong career guidance in Slovenia. In 2015, postgraduate training was provided to professionals who offer guidance services, including advisers employed by the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS), schools and Human resource management firms (HRM). Quality guidelines have been written and accepted by all stakeholders. The ESS continuously attempts to reach out to young not in employment, education or training (NEETs) through workshops organised by school counsellors. Such cooperation has been established on the national and regional levels.
According to the MDDSZ (2016), one of the objectives of the ongoing project ‘Service development of Lifelong career guidance’ is to develop tools for career counselling, especially aimed at young people. Career centres that operate within the ESS allow everyone to use LM information and other career support services. In this way, students are informed and advised regarding why, how and where to obtain ESS services and register as unemployed job seekers when they leave school. The ESS is updating web services, such as its Facebook page, with information about guidance, the labour market and opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
The ESS provides information on the labour market for unemployed, help with individual career management, basic career counselling, in-depth career counselling and career management skill training. Lifelong career guidance for young people is offered by specially trained counsellors and advisors at career centres. Career counselling is offered by the ESS and school counsellors. The ESS’s career counsellors also conduct workshops such as ‘Different’, ‘Job as an Advantage’, ‘Collective Forms of Counselling – SOS’ and ‘After Studying in Employment’.
The Commerce Chamber of Slovenia, ESS and National Education Institute are running the project ‘Career Day’ (Karierni dan) in order to promote most promising future professions to pupils and their parents. Pupils and their parents are invited to visit different organisations and learn about the occupations. The project was piloted at the end of 2014. After good feedback and major organisational improvements to the online platform, it is being adopted as the part of the guidance system for students choosing their future career.
According to the National report for Slovenia, one of the priorities on youth employment & entrepreneurship was to develop career guidance and counselling services. ‘Within the active employment policy framework, the Employment Service of Slovenia is also engaged in activities targeting education policy. These activities include information and vocational counselling centres, vocational orientation and the programme “Drugače o poklicih” (On professions — in a different way). The Employment Service cooperates with primary schools, offers them lectures on labour market and provides assistance in identifying and counselling to pupils having difficulties in choosing their careers’.
There have also been career centres (Karierni centri) at Slovenian universities for the past several years. They were ‘established with purpose to facilitate the transition from education to labour market’ (see the National report for Slovenia). In addition, there is the Career Centre (Karierno središče), previously known as the Centre for Informing and Vocational Counselling (Center za informiranje in poklicno svetovanje) at the ESS.
Other providers of counselling include the following:
- The trade union for students, pupils and employed youth, Mladi Plus (Sindikat Mladi plus), offers career counselling to its members. Career counsellors help individuals set career goals, examine their competencies and the needs of the labour market and improve their job applications and CVs.
- In December 2016, the Nefiks Institute created the course 'Training for Youth Career Counsellors’ (Usposabljanje za mladinske karierne svetovalce), which was intended for young people and youth workers who want to provide support to young people regarding career development. The project is co-financed by the MIZŠ and the European Social Fund.
- Since 2016, the Nefiks Institute has been organizing ‘Nefiks Career Day’ (Nefiksov karierni dan) each year. The purpose of the event is to present career opportunities for young people in connection to the EU to high-school students. The honorary patron of the project is President Borut Pahor and the event is taking place in the Presidential Palace.
The target group of these measures are young people who are still in the education system or are transitioning from the education system to the labour market.
According to the MDDSZ (2016), (national and European) funds allotted to the YG from 2014–2020 amount to more than 90 million EUR. Most of these funds was spend on different programmes mentioned in the YG Implementation Plan.
Young people are generally not excluded from measures related to unemployment and can be targeted through counselling and job-seeking assistance. Young people who are registered as unemployed with the ESS can be involved in various programs regarding active labour market policy (ALMP) as a priority target group. The data from the MDDSZ suggests that youths are in fact big beneficiaries of ALMP measures in Slovenia; in 2014, more than 15,000 young people aged 15–29 years were enrolled in ALMP, which increased their employability or led directly to employment. This number amounts to 40% of all those enrolled in ALMP. In 2015, there were around 9,500 of young people enrolled in ALMP, in 2016 around 6,300 and in 2017 around 7,000. In 2018, the number of young people enrolled in ALMP was around 9,800 (which was 31% of all those enrolled in ALMP) and in 2019 it was around 7,600 (which was 27,5% of all those enrolled in ALMP that year).
The results of a survey on satisfaction of young people related to the YG (Zadovoljstvo mladih z izvajanjem programa Jamstvo za mlade) showed that young people are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the counselling at the ESS. They desired less bureaucracy, shorter procedures, better information, more counselling on appropriate and available measures and more proactivity among counsellors. Other data from the surveys, which are performed annually by the ESS, show that youths’ satisfaction increased after the introduction of the YG. Overall, young people are more satisfied with ESS services than other unemployed groups.
In 2014–15, young people who participated in the YG received 40% more active job mediation services (direct referrals to employers, meetings with employers at ‘speed dating’ events that were organised in the ESS' regional offices) than unemployed individuals over 30 years of age.
The Guidelines for Active Labour Market Policy Measures 2016–2020 were adopted by the government. The Guidelines, which form the basis for the implementation of measures/programmes focus on the most vulnerable groups, namely those suffering from long-term unemployment, older workers, low-skilled workers and unemployed youths. These measures stipulate that these groups must be offered training to increase their employability. The Guidelines also include specific indicators and targets for monitoring the effectiveness of ALMP measures. A short-term assessment of the effectiveness of these measures is presented each year in an annual report, ‘Measures of the Labour Market’. It includes all relevant information regarding the implementation of all ALMP measures and a short analysis of their effectiveness. The ESS also examines the effect of some measures using a control group. For all measures financed by European Social Fund (ESF), a firm reporting and monitoring structure was established (indicators and targets for evaluation are part of Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the period 2014 – 2020).