From education to employment

International trends and global innovation in career guidance

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Director, DMH Associates & Associate Fellow, University of Warwick IER

Education training and labour market intelligence and delivery arrangements are in a state of flux. No-one knows for sure what the education and careers support landscape will look like in a post-Covid era. For citizens, a glimmer of hope rests in finding a vaccine to eradicate the virus and hopefully a new chapter in society will begin in mid-late 2021.

The idea of a job for life has been properly replaced by change, uncertainty and the need for career adaptability. There is greater than ever vulnerability for workers and new youth entrants to the labour market. Digital growth, increased automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will necessitate people being committed lifelong learners – thinking about their transferable skills, upgrade their skills or switching from stagnant sectors to remain in employment.

This will also bring demand for trustworthy labour market intelligence and information that can be easily accessed by ‘the man and woman on the street’. Many international organisations, including the European Training Foundation (ETF), are working intensively on the future of work and trying to analyse the new evolution of skills needs.

International Trends and Innovation in Career Guidance

A new and detailed report on ‘International Trends and Innovation in Career Guidance – Volume 1:Themes & Volume 2: Country Case Studies) highlights there is growing consensus that, “among the new skills required, digital and social-emotional skills are essential for empowering individuals to improve their employability prospects, wellbeing and life fulfilment”. The papers argue new ways of strategic thinking are therefore required. It calls for education and training systems, employment and social policies to be redesigned to develop people’s new skills for the future.

In December 2019, the European Commission, OCED, ILO, ETF, Cedefop & UNESO called out to governments across the world for greater investment in career guidance. But, paradoxically, career guidance services face challenges in developing their innovation capacity, particularly in England given the emphasis on Payment-By-Result (PBR).

To overcome challenges, leaders in careers support services need to seize the moment and forge strong innovative public, private and third sector alliances. Nearly one year on, these new ETF reports highlight the concept of career management skills is increasingly gaining ground, not only in Europe but also on other continents.

This two-part evidence-based report offers some strong examples of collaboration, cooperation and co-design of impactful career guidance for young people and adults, including those most vulnerable in society.

I would like to encourage Ministers, educationalists, training providers, employers, government policymakers and those responsible for designing inclusive careers services to urgently find ways of strengthening innovative careers support that can transform people’s lives.

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Director, DMH Associates & Associate Fellow, University of Warwick IER

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