There is a considerable gap in provision where adult guidance is concerned especially in the provision of guidance for workers, low-skilled workers and workers in vulnerable employments. The notion of a job for life or a skill for life have long been consigned to history in the rapidly evolving European labour market and many adults at work today can expect a number of changes in their career trajectory before retirement beckons.
The key contribution that career guidance can make to achieve policy goals in lifelong learning, social inclusion, labour market efficiency and economic development is increasingly understood and acknowledged. Guidance builds confidence and empowers individuals, as well as making people aware of learning, work, civic and leisure opportunities. It promotes employability and adaptability by assisting people to make clear decisions both on entering the labour market and on moving within it. Guidance also helps improve the effectiveness and efficiency of education and training provision by promoting a closer match to individual and labour market needs.
Despite the importance of lifelong guidance in Europe, traditional career guidance services tend to be concentrated in 2 main service provision areas; (1) addressed at young people in education where a career guidance service is provided by career counsellors or career guidance teachers; (2) addressed at unemployed persons where access to career guidance support is often provided by employment offices. Unfortunately, in the rapidly evolving labour market these services are no longer
sufficient to meet the market needs. It is widely accepted that in the knowledge economy even ‘old jobs’ require ‘new skills’ and there is an increasingly large cohort of people in employment whose jobs are at risk due to advances in technology, changes in work models or demand for new skill sets.
As revealed by the Cedefop European Skills and Jobs survey, one in five (21%) adult employees in Europe considers it very likely, and 27% moderately likely, that their skills will be outdated in the medium-term. This survey also revealed that “approximately 43% of EU adult employees recently experienced new technologies at work, such as introduction of machines and ICT systems”; and approximately “seven in ten EU workers require at least moderate digital skills to do their job.” From these findings, we understand the digitisation of jobs and tasks is an emerging trend, and that preparing adult workers with the core skills they will need to manage their careers in the future is paramount for their future employability in an ever-changing career landscape.
iGUIDE aims to support workers, low-skilled workers and those in vulnerable employments to develop the core skills necessary to plan and manage their own career progression pathways. It will achieve this aim by developing a suite of bespoke career planning tools and resources that will focus on building the skills of adult workers in three separate categories: skills for job readiness; skills for job seeking and skills for job retention.
iGUIDE proposes a completely new approach for the development of career planning as a subject complete with required learning outcomes to be achieved. It proposes a complete shift in prevailing mind-sets where career guidance is concerned and proposes the modernization of career guidance provision to reflect the reality of the European employment marketplace. It proposes harnessing the ubiquity and potential of the latest technologies to develop career planning and support frameworks that are cost neutral to service providers. It further aims to provide individual adult learners with a suite of self-training resources, which they can use to develop their career planning skills independently of education and guidance professionals. The ability to conceive and plan a career progression pathway is one of the key determinants of success for people of all ages in Europe and iGUIDE will help people develop this ability.
The impact of the project will be that target groups make better, more informed and more appropriate career choices. They will have a better chance of achieving their career goals and will be more aware of what to expect in the rapidly evolving labour market. Most importantly learners who use the introductory and advanced career planning resources developed as part of the iGUIDE project will bring a considerable skill-set with them wherever they go in their career and will have those skills to call on when the opportunity for career change presents itself.