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How can guidance services make the most of technology and information?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Labour market intelligence (LMI) is being produced in vast amounts across Europe, providing insights on where jobs are, where to find the best training and which are the best opportunities for mobility. Recent developments in information technologies (ICT) allow developing websites and phone apps, which make this information more accessible to the ones who need it. Moving away from traditional face-to-face to distance services comes with challenges however: adequate strategies are necessary to provide the full range of guidance and counselling activities with a new set of online tools. LMI is embedded in all those activities and selectively used.

Careers services significantly benefit from using LMI; but may face great difficulties in making the best of the available information and technology. To be effective, online guidance services need to be adjusted to the needs of target groups which range from school age children to mid-career professionals, migrant workers or long term unemployed. Methods and strategies used in guidance and counselling must adjust to the realities of multi-channelling and new forms of cooperation need to be established: users should be progressively assessed so that they receive a personalised and adjusted combination of support activities over specific channels (online-static or real time, phone, face-to-face). Therefore, making the most of technology and information may carry heavy efforts for career services in up-skilling staff, reorganising services and developing adequate platforms.

Cedefop’s new online resources for guidance practitioners

To support the adoption of new ICT and the successful integration of LMI into guidance services, Cedefop has just published a set of online resources for managers of careers services, practitioners and policy makers working in career development and activation policies. The resources consist on:

  • A handbook for transferability of practices;
  • toolkit on labour market intelligence usage;
  • Training modules on how to use LMI and information technologies in guidance.

 

 

The handbook is aimed at policy makers and managers of careers services who want to introduce LMI and ICT-rich practices in their country or services. Innovating successfully by introducing LMI and ICT may prove trickier than anticipated. Staff needs training, systems need to be updated and maintained, new stakeholders may need to be involved and support strategies may need deep modifications. Cedefop handbook supports such organisational transitions by offering the most successful practices in Europe, allowing for comparisons between practices addressing the same needs; and documenting technical requirements, challenges and success factors in detail. The handbook also offers a decision making tool to help the user select the best options for his/her needs. The decision making tool is available as a printable document and will be also available as an interactive resource in the near future.

Image: The handbook allows for comparisons between practices addressing the same needs. On the right, the introduction to the Italian e-portfolio case-study.

 

The toolkit on LMI offers tips on how to effectively use career relevant information during the guidance process. It also links practitioners to relevant EU and national level resources and data. It can therefore be a valuable tool to support national capacitation and initial training of practitioners in LMI related contents. The toolkit is currently available in English and will be translated to all EU languages. The national resources in the toolkit are currently under development and will object of frequent updates.

 

The training modules offer to both practitioners and careers service managers training on how to successfully integrate LMI contents and new technologies in career support practices. Rather than offering training in specific platforms, software or niches of information, the modules are oriented to develop reflexive attitudes and facilitate critical reasoning in the integration of technology and information rich resources. The modules are ideal to help manage organisational change and prepare staff for innovative processes. The modules are currently available as downloadable pdf’s and will be reworked into an interactive learning platform.

These guidance resources are the first step of a Cedefop effort to provide support to national innovation on career development services. Any interest on behalf of a Member State in adopting an innovative technology, new usage of labour market information or guidance strategy documented in the resources can be communicated to Cedefop. The agency will do its best to enable relevant contacts and provide indications regarding practices. 

 

How were the guidance resources developed?

The resources result from a three-year research on the effective usage of LMI and ICT in career development services across Europe. Many practices were inventoried and the most significant were documented and analysed with great detail. An international expert workshop held in Cedefop in May 2016 discussed strategic options and analysed challenges. The research data and workshop results supported the development of the tools by a team of career development and ICT experts.  The resources were piloted during the first European guidance week in Tallinn, Estonia (September 2017), which gathered representatives of the European guidance community, including practitioners, policy makers and researchers. Cedefop welcomes suggestion regarding the expansion or improvement of the resources.

Any suggestion  should be sent to the project manager, Pedro Moreno da Fonseca.

 

 

 

 

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