Poll on career guidance - Results

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In the 21st century, the traditional career path of progressing up an ordered hierarchy within a profession or an organisation seems to be less and less relevant. Economic change stemming from the globalisation of markets; continuous technological change; and the reform of education systems and societal transformations – all these are shaking up the career options and are making “a job for life” the exception rather than the rule.

Young people leaving school or higher education can expect to enter a constantly changing job market, calling for constantly updated skills. It follows that career guidance needs to adapt to these changing conditions and prepare young people to deal with a constantly shifting environment.

The Council Resolution on better integrating lifelong guidance into lifelong learning strategies addresses these challenges, calling on Member States to strengthen European cooperation on lifelong guidance provision.

Career and education guidance can be taught as a specific topic, embedded as a cross-curricular subject, or as part of extra-curricular activities. Guidance can include information-giving, counselling, competence assessment, work experience, discussions with professionals, job shadowing, career games or taster courses in other types of education.

Research shows that young people who have a career plan are more likely to remain in school and engage more positively in education. Guidance also helps students make informed decisions, acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, plan their future career path, upgrade their existing skills, and acquire new soft skills or work readiness skills.

Teachers play an important role in this process, integrating career and education discussions in their lessons, but nowadays engagement with different stakeholders (e.g. school counsellors, career guidance practitioners, parents and employers) is essential. In this way, effective career education brings learners and teachers closer to the world outside school.

What do you think? How can we help students to choose a suitable education and career path matching their qualifications, personality and interests and commit to lifelong learning?

The poll on career guidance was open on School Education Gateway from 10 August until 1 October and gathered a total of 289 responses.


Results (N=289)

1. How often is career and education guidance provided to students in your school or a school you know?

Poll on career guidance - Results - Graph 1

The majority of the 289 respondents (95.5%) to the survey replied that career and education guidance is provided in their school or a school they know. However, the frequency of such guidance varies significantly between respondents. In most cases (67%), respondents indicated that career guidance is provided irregularly or seldom, from once or twice a term to once or twice a year. The remaining 28% of respondents answered that students in their school or a school they know receive career and education guidance on a monthly or weekly basis.

2. How is career and education guidance provided to learners in your school or a school you know? Tick all that apply.

Poll on career guidance - Results - Graph 2

Replies to this question show that there are various ways to include career and education guidance in schools. The most frequently cited approach is as an extra-curricular activity (44%), followed by career and educational guidance as a cross-curricular topic (35%). In 30% of responses, an external specialist provides education and career guidance on request. It seems that career guidance is rarely a compulsory subject for all classes and that it is rarely provided as an optional subject. 13% of respondents replied that it is not provided at all.

3. Who is involved in career and education guidance in your school or a school you know? Tick all that apply.

Poll on career guidance - Results - Graph 3

Multiple actors are involved in providing career guidance in schools, most frequently non-specialist teachers of subjects other than career and education guidance (47%) or a dedicated counsellor in the school (46%). External guidance providers are also involved: career and education counsellors (29%), representatives of tertiary education (universities and colleges and vocational education and training institutions, 25% and 22% respectively) and professionals from industry and potential employers (22%). Parents and carers advise in 17% of responses.

4. In your opinion, at what age should career and education counselling begin?

Poll on career guidance - Results - Graph 4

Opinions are divided regarding the age at which career and education counselling should begin. More than half of the respondents (59%) believe that career and education guidance should begin either in early secondary school, age 11-14 (35%), or later in secondary school, age 14-16 (24%). 36% feel that it should begin in primary school, age 7 to 11 (20%) or even earlier (16%). Only 5% of respondents think that career and education should start in upper secondary school, age 16-19.

5. Which of the following are used for career and education guidance in your school or a school you know? Tick all that apply.

Poll on career guidance - Results - Graph 5

Responses show that a wide range of approaches are in use. Around half of the respondents indicated that their school or a school they know offers career and education guidance through workshops and group counselling (50%). However, other methods followed closely: a resource area with information (47%), individual counselling (47%), visits to college and universities (45%), aptitude, skills or psychometric tests (45%) and visits to businesses (44%) are all indicated as used for career and education guidance.

Individual support and guidance for students at risk of early leaving or with special needs or disabilities were indicated by less than half of respondents (40%), while only one third indicated that digital tools and tests or work experience are used for career guidance (33% and 30% respectively).

Lastly, job shadowing or career games and simulations were both used by one fifth (19%) of respondents.

Conclusion

The results of the poll show that career and education guidance is provided in almost all schools with differing frequency and in various ways. In most cases (67%), it is provided irregularly or rarely (not more than once or twice a term or a year) (Q1).

Schools provide career and education guidance in different ways and involve a range of stakeholders and actors. Guidance is mainly offered in the form of an extracurricular activity or a cross-curricular topic among subjects (Q2), and in most cases involves non-specialist teachers of other subjects (47%) or a dedicated school counsellor (46%) (Q3).

It seems that actors from outside school are also actively involved in the provision of career and educational guidance (external counsellors, representatives of universities and colleges, representatives from vocational education and training institutions, and professionals from industry and potential employers) (Q3).

Concerning the approaches, methods and tools that are used in career counselling and education, the results of the poll indicate that there is a wide range of them in use, probably depending on the context in which career guidance is provided or on the aim of the intervention. Workshops and individual counselling remain very popular and are closely followed by resource areas, visits to colleges and universities, aptitude, skills or psychometric tests, and visits to businesses.

It seems that there is a strong agreement among respondents that career and education guidance should either begin in early secondary school, age 11-14, or later in secondary school, age 14-16 (Q4). A significant number of respondents (36%) think that it should start earlier, in primary school or even before.


Annex: Roles of respondents

Poll on career guidance - Results - Graph 6