Career guidance without barriers -seminar
Cross-border seminar between Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia
Cross-border seminars on relevant topics in guidance have been offered to guidance practitioners and other relevant parties in central Europe since 2005. The fourth such seminar was hosted in the spring of 2009 by the Czech Euroguidance centre in the city of Tabor. The topic of this year’s seminar was 'How Can Career Guidance Help Overcome Barriers in the World of Education and Labour Market’.
This cooperation until now involved Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia but has now been enriched by contribution from three new countries: Germany, Hungary and Slovenia. Thanks to this enlargement, the seminar provided a space for true international exchange of information, ideas and projects. Approximately 60 participants represented a wide spectrum of practitioners and policy makers from both the labour market and the education sectors as well as from public, private and non-profit organizations.
The beginning of the seminar was dedicated to policy issues on national and European levels. J. Starek from Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Czech Republic introduced the situation of lifelong guidance in the hosting country. Mika Launikari from Cedefop informed participants about lifelong guidance in a European context and about initiatives dedicated to overcoming existing barriers in the area of guidance. He also introduced the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN).
After these opening speeches, participants could choose from nine workshops covering different aspects of career guidance, e.g. career guidance for people with various disabilities (mental, health), or services for people disadvantaged on the labour market (mentoring for women, career services for Roma people).
Some workshops were aimed at theoretical background of career guidance (e.g. information of the ‘Brain Drain Brain Gain’ project and a presentation of theoretical and methodological development of career orientation) while others focused on practical tools such as methods and techniques (e.g. the Colours of Life which is a psycho diagnostic tool used in schools for e.g.school maturity, professional orientation, etc.) or Internet based applications.
The presentations led to interesting discussions which, along with new professional contacts and international encounters, were the main added value of the seminar. According to the feedback received from participants, events like this are very much appreciated and welcome. The highly positive evaluation of seminar is a good motivation for continuation in 2010.