Labour market information (LMI) should be properly integrated into a guidance or career learning process that promotes the development of reflexive career identities and autonomous exploration of career information. LMI is not a stand-alone tool for the citizen but requires integration in learning processes which enable citizens to use it to identify career and learning opportunities. Career management skills development programmes in education/training and in employment services should be associated with LMI.
Examination of case studies and practices across Europe for a Cedefop study has helped identify and analyse the role of labour market information in career guidance and career education. It focused on:
(a) comparison and analysis of diverse strategies supporting the integration of LMI in lifelong guidance, including critical success factors, potential gaps and obstacles;
(b) competences, methodologies and tools for effective LMI management, service design and delivery by guidance counsellors and teachers/ trainers;
(c) identification of levers that can aid access to LMI for individuals throughout their lifetime;
(d) outline of the potential transferability of successful practices in applying LMI in lifelong guidance policies and practices.
LMI INTEGRATION IN GUIDANCE AND CAREER EDUCATION
When labour market information is offered by separate services, coordination and cooperation among stakeholders is vital. When it is gathered and provided by different ministries, separate databases and information collection tools are developed. Each of these databases provides partial coverage of the available information; frequently, they are created in ways which make consolidation dif cult, preventing users making the best possible sense of labour market contexts and opportunities. Coordination among different LMI providers is required to avoid duplication and achieve successful data consolidation. Social partner collaboration with relevant agencies and ministerial departments engaged in LMI provision improves LMI user impact and the ef ciency of career guidance services.
The multiplication of online tools generates an over ow of distinct sources and of information itself. Mapping user group needs and individual needs assessments are good practice, along with management of available LMI appropriate to each of the different groups. For example, the long-term unemployed or inexperienced young people tend to require more intensive support in LMI exploration and use, compared to employed highly quali ed professionals.
USING TECHNOLOGY EFFECTIVELY
The ‘e-challenge’ can be addressed by setting up good-quality, well-targeted single access points which can operate as virtual one-stop shops. This type of initiative tends to have scale economies and positive spillover, with measures under the European e-government action plan aiming at cross-border e-government services for citizens and businesses.
Defragmenting LMI by integrating diverse but complementary sources of intelligence is essential, adding value to careers information services. All data gathered can be treated and can be presented in single access point; this type of portal can also offer dedicated tools to support the work of career guidance practitioners and teachers/trainers.