It is critical to the smooth transitions of people as they make choices about education and training and to mobility within the labour market. In December 2019, six international organisations came together to publish a first booklet on the importance of investing in career guidance. The joint effort reflected the fact that the need for guidance had increased sharply with people staying in education and training longer and pressure growing on people to upskill and reskill. Today’s labour market is still more turbulent. Covid-19 has deeply disrupted demand for workers and accelerated patterns of automation and digital transformation that are radically changing the character of work and increasing risks of joblessness and precarious employment. What’s more, globalisation, demographic trends and growing efforts to create greener economies are changing the character of demand for skills in labour markets around the world. Career guidance has an essential part to play in recovery plans and in helping people of all ages and backgrounds to navigate such disruption. Evidence reviews give policy makers confidence that investment in guidance can be expected to provide positive economic, educational and social returns to both individuals and society. International data shows, however, that in too many countries access to guidance is insufficient, particularly for those who are in greatest need.
Employer engagement activities give learners direct exposure to the world of work. These include:
- inviting volunteers into schools to bring learning to life;
- career talks and job fairs to broaden, raise and inform career aspirations;
- mock interviews, CV workshops and other activities focused on recruitment skills;
- job shadowing and workplace visits and exploring the world of work;
- work placements to gain first hand experiences of workplaces mentoring to develop confidence and preparation for work;
- enterprise competitions to develop entrepreneurial capacities and interpersonal skills;
the promotion of job vacancies for education leavers;
- outreach to promote upskilling and reskilling at work; and
- regular career reviews accompanying performance evaluations to steer workers towards relevant training and internal career opportunities.
Effective employer engagement is authentic, frequent, personalised, varied, embedded in careers education and begun in primary school. It can be especially effective in challenging gendered assumptions and other forms of stereotyping about occupations. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic however, in many countries comparatively few young people took part in one of the easiest and most effective forms of employer engagement: the job fair.
In workplaces, trade unions can play an important role in facilitating access or directly providing career guidance to their members. They can also cooperate with schools and training providers to enable access to professionals from different fields who can operate as role models or mentors. Trade unions can play a key role together with employers in sectoral councils or other coordination units that raise the profile of career development activities in training policies and human resources development.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Investing in career guidance | Cedefop