Career guidance is a complex, multi-faceted process that consists of a variety of services. Career guidance is understood in a broad manner, with one or another aspect being emphasised, depending on the situation. In any case, when talking about career guidance services, we come across a variety of definitions as to what they include.

This may be:

  • the provision of information;
  • the provision of advice;
  • counselling;
  • mentorship;
  • the protection and representation of interests and rights;
  • decision-making training;
  • the development of career management competencies;
  • cooperation with employers;
  • competency evaluation (recognition/accreditation of prior learning) (R. Sultana, 2011).

 

Guidance services, which are broadly divided into vocational information, vocational counselling and career development services, are subject to stringent requirements and objectives. First of all, on the macro level, guidance services should meet the needs of the economy, help solve employment and education problems, and contribute to increasing productivity. These services should be available to every individual, regardless of age, sex, religion, education, or place of residence. In other words, guidance services must be available to members of all groups of society at any moment in their lives.   This leads to the next objective, which is the responsibility of the vocational consultant: the services must meet the individual needs of each client by finding and applying an acceptable method and appropriate way of working in each separate case. In terms of working with the client, the requirements for guidance services are described well by the intended result: – a targeted and substantiated professional choice and/or retraining; – measures to prevent skill mismatch; – raising awareness and self-image; – self-realisation: the optimum use of one's skills and competencies under the existing conditions; – empowerment; –independence; – a strong value/motivational basis; – overall life satisfaction. In this context, the career consultant or adviser is faced with a huge task: to select, from the existing service infrastructure and work methods, the most appropriate measures to deliver optimum results. This means that he or she must not only have a good knowledge of the available services and methods, but also be able to assess the client's needs and provide the necessary support to the client in an acceptable and appropriate manner. Hence the extremely high requirements for a guidance specialist's qualifications and competencies.

The Occupational Standards for Vocational Consultants define a broad spectrum of professional activities, functions and competencies for the consultant. In order to acquire, establish and improve these competencies, a developed, quality qualification development system is necessary.

The qualification development system for guidance specialists in Lithuania, including the range of training programmes, seminars and courses, is not fully formed – development of this sector with the help of national and EU funding is still underway. In this section, you will find information about the qualification development opportunities that are currently available in Lithuania for vocational consultants. These include national training programmes, seminars and qualification development opportunities provided by the European Union (e.g. the Lifelong Learning Programme, the Nordplus programme).

We recommend that career guidance professionals also look beyond seminars, courses and training programmes and consider project development opportunities as well. Project participation, organisation and implementation is also a great opportunity to improve your qualifications, and – if it is an international project – to become acquainted with the experience of foreign countries, assess the methods used in these countries, and adapt them to the Lithuanian context and your own professional activities.

You can also learn more about projects on the topic of vocational guidance using tools prepared by the Euroguidance project, such as the Best Practice section on this website or the Vocational Guidance in International Projects publication; just follow the links in the documents or announcements, such as Leonardo da Vinci programme opportunities for vocational consultants.

Depending on the guidance specialist's job and client group, it is also worth looking into seminars and courses in psychology, management, social work, educational science, education, and other relevant areas for qualification development. You can look for these at establishments which provide training services.