European Lifelong Guidance Policies, the New Skills Agenda and the revision of Europass: State of play
There is increasing international evidence and consensus that career guidance and the systematic development of career management skills leads to more effective educational and employment outcomes.
As analysis of selected policy documents (Council, European Parliament) suggests career guidance is a relevant policy element within skills, education, employment and youth policies. Consequently, the role of guidance is stressed in important policy including early school leaving, the Youth Guarantee, the New Skills Agenda for Europe and now in the proposal for a revision of the Europass framework.
European policies for Lifelong Guidance have been promoted by two Council Resolutions (2004, 2008) and by structured cooperation for their implementation undertaken by the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (2007- end of funding 2015). ELGPN has produced a number of European reference tools and Member States have reported a positive impact on guidance policy development. A second network of national Euroguidance centres (since 1992) has a more operational profile with a focus on transnational mobility.
Despite progress achieved, there is evidence of a persisting delivery gap in guidance provision in the Member States as consolidation and completion of policy reforms take time. The implementation of the Council Resolution (2008) has not been evaluated so far.
How EU support for future (lifelong) guidance policy development will continue depends on the concrete cooperation structures at European level. In its proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council on the revision of the Europass framework, the Commission commits itself to support career guidance policy and system development in cooperation with Member States. This may become an opportunity to enhance guidance policies and services in the context of transnational mobility, provided that a state of-the art concept of guidance policies is applied and that Euroguidance has a clearly defined role. The Commission is currently exploring different options. A sustainable implementation of the Council Resolutions on lifelong guidance policies may, however, require a broader approach and an own cooperation structure at European level to foster quality guidance provision for citizens in education, at work or looking for a job.
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