The importance of lifelong learning and the development of many skills we need for the future are some of the more important issues that professionals and career practitioners are dealing with in many countries. The idea and initiative to organize the Cross-Border seminar this year also brings with it significant benefits to the participants. For almost 15 years, the practice of maintaining this kind of cooperation with countries active in the field of Career Guidance and Counselling (CgaC) has proven useful and important in improving the competencies of career practitioners. The theme of this year's Cross Border Seminar held in Bled, Slovenia was "Skills for the future".
Representatives of 11 European countries gathered in one place to discuss trends in career guidance and counselling, as well as to exchange experiences among career practitioners who implement CGaC programs in different areas and at different levels of education, from professors in schools, universities, through those employed in national employment services, the Ministry of Education, to those who are involved in the CGaC programs informally. They all had the opportunity to present some of the techniques and methods in their practice, but also to attend presentations and experiential workshops realized by their colleagues from other countries.
During two days of the well-planned and organized seminar program, after a general introductory part and stressing the importance of dealing with topics of career guidance and counselling, three sessions were held with several parallel workshops led by the representatives of the participating countries of the seminar, among which was our workshop under the title "Set of skills for future careers - examples of good practice from Serbia".
The valuable experience of exchanging ideas, examples from personal practices, the possibility of a comparative analysis of the activities that are being realized with different target groups, contributes a lot to the possibilities and opportunities for further improvement of planning and enrichment of the implementation of activities in the field of CGaC.
In line with the theme of this year's seminar and with social, industrial and technological changes, practitioners have shown how the use of ICT helps to map out the students who need additional support, with the aim of preventing them from quitting school early, as well as using dedicated applications for smartphones or tablets in order to establish an initial focus on the areas of interest, based on the results of the conducted interest tests, and the like. However, there were workshops like ours, where the emphasis was on the experience of techniques that help develop and improve "skills for the future".
The emphasis here was on developing the skills to accept changes, solve problems, strengthen self-esteem, publicly present yourself, overcome stress, etc. The participants had the opportunity to participate actively in the exercises and techniques presented directly from the practice made with high school students, and to recognize the possibility of applying it in their work, which they confirmed with the evaluation of the workshop itself.
Even in the informal part of the seminar, during the breaks, the participants met each other, exchanged contacts, ideas and examples, and agreed on possible future cooperation, which is also one of the goals of organizing a cooperation like this, with experts from different countries and different fields of work.
In the final part of the seminar volunteer-participants in the workshops conveyed the main messages and impressions of each workshop separately, and presented the techniques and methods used by those who led the workshops. As a final impression, the atmosphere in the conference hall full of career practitioners, after the realization of all planed workshops and sessions, exudes enthusiasm, motivation and a positive attitude towards one of the more important topics that need to be addressed in the future. We need to improve the practice in order to provide support to as many learners as possible, student, adults, professionals and all those who need help and support in planning and further development of their careers.