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A lookback to the Austrian Euroguidance Conference 2021 “Green Guidance”

What impulses can be provided by Career Guidance in shaping a greener and more ecological future for all?

Austrian Euroguidance Conference 2021 - Participants countries

It is a coincidence, but also very telling, that the Austrian Euroguidance conference 2021 took place at the same time as the crucial final phase of the Glasgow Climate summit. Answers regarding the existential threats of climate change are more and more being sought by people when they are taking decisions about education and career paths.

The conference focused on the question of what impulses Career Guidance can provide in shaping a greener and more ecological future for all. The event was linked to the objectives of the new Erasmus+ 2021-2027 programme, the European Green Deal and the European Skills Agenda, as Carin Dániel Ramírez-Schiller, OeAD, laid out in her opening address.

"Green Guidance" gives a broader perspective to career choices by asking the simple question: "What are the implications of my career choice in terms of sustainability?", said Prof. Peter Plant in his keynote on “Sustainability, Green Guidance, and Utopia”. Peter Plant, who describes himself as a "lifelong utopian", diagnosed a paradigm shift in the role of guidance. “Green Guidance moves career-decisions centre stage, to a higher note of personal commitment, societal involvement, and meaningfulness. In relation to globalisation, and to social justice, it places guidance in a central global position: environmental issues and sustainability concerns know no boundaries.”

Peter Plant highlighted the important link between social justice and Green Guidance, both profoundly linked to sustainability issues.

The topic of "Green Guidance", which Peter Plant developed 25 years ago, has found its way into the discourses and practices of career guidance during the last couple of years, with a starting point of a a deepened conversation in Ireland.

Jennifer McKenzie, Director at NCGE, outlined in her speech how the Irish national Lifelong Guidance Forum (organized by NCGE, which also hosts the Irish Euroguidance Centre) introduced the idea of lifelong guidance in promoting sustainable development and change and initiated a wider discussion based on contributions by Professor Mary McMahon in October 2020 and Peter Plant in April 2021.

Three representatives from Austria, Wolfgang Bliem, ibw Austria – Research & Development in VET, Margit Helene Meister, Department of Environmental and Energy Management of the Province of Lower Austria and Rosemarie Pichler, Educational Guidance Lower Austria then jointly presented the recent regional initiative „Green Jobs for you“ . “Raising awareness among young people and young adults about green jobs, motivating them and providing them with comprehensive information is the focus of this year's activities in Lower Austria”, said Rosemarie Pichler. A special focus was set in developing "Green Guidance" especially for people in reorientation phases. The subsequent workshop held in the afternoon session of the conference gave room for further exchange on the regional approaches taken.

Anthony Mann, OECD, then provided insights into three recent OECD studies which all addressed the question of green jobs, young people's interest in understanding and access to green jobs. While eight out of ten students across the OECD agree or strongly agree that ‘looking after the global environment is important to me personally’, there is also concerns. “Across countries, young people who care deeply about climate change often feel that they are unable to make a difference”, stated Anthony Mann, and then elaborated what studies suggested to be most effective in terms of career guidance.

To deepen the exchange on the topic, four parallel workshops were provided in the afternoon session of the conference, with experts from Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland.

See for instance Education towards Sustainability: A green Nordic Region – Vision 2030. (More texts will be added once they become available)

The OeAD - Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalisation / Euroguidance Austria wishes to thank all participants and speakers from more than 24 countries who contributed to the success of the conference.

Presentations and video recordings of the conference are available HERE

Euroguidance Conference Family Picture

Author: Eva Baloch-Kaloianov

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