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Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

perform as the

perform as the anticipated profile of future jobs and their likely skill requirements change,and a much wider range of programmes, courses and opportunities come on stream to whichunemployed jobseekers can be directed.Despite severe budgetary pressures, employment services providers have innovated significantly tomeet the scale, diversity and intensity of the demands thrust on them by the recession theintroduction of group interviews, the adoption of more flexible delivery mechanisms (eveningclasses, online courses and blended learning), the design of new courses in emerging green andsmart technology areas (particularly for unemployed craft workers) and the reconfiguration of longcourses into shorter, modular forms, are prominent examples.9.2 Target groups and modes of deliveryThe provision of guidance in Ireland is currently quite fragmented, with many different providersdelivering services to various target groups in a wide range of educational and labour marketsettings. Within the educational context the main target groups for the provision of guidance andcounselling are:• young people in the secondary school system;• early School Leavers• young people in further education• university students at undergraduate and post graduate level• adult and second chance learnersWithin the labour market context the main target groups for the provision of guidance andcounselling are all unemployed job-seekers and people marginalised from the labour market.The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) published in January 2007, a draftcurriculum framework for guidance in post-primary education, for the areas of Personal Guidance,Educational Guidance and Career Development. The framework reflects the importance of abalanced approach to guidance provision, both in terms of the coverage of a broad range of topicsand skills, and in terms of student access to guidance across all the years of post-primary education.The guidance counsellor offers the following services:• Counselling: This may involve personal counselling, educational counselling, careercounselling, or combinations of each.• Support: The guidance counsellor consistently provides support to students, parents, schoolteachers, the school principal, Board of Management and various referral agencies inassisting the personal and social, career and educational development of students.• Assessment: The guidance counsellor is trained to use a range of psychometric tests andother evaluative instruments in order to support the goals and objectives of the schoolguidance programme.• Information: The guidance counsellor facilitates and helps students to acquire, interpret anduse information relevant to their personal and social, educational and career development.• Classroom Guidance Activities: It is the role of the guidance counsellor to plan classroombased learning experiences which are relevant to the objectives of the school guidanceprogramme, for example information and communication technologies (ICT) or skillsdevelopment (e.g. planning, decision making and study skills).• Referrals: The guidance counsellor organises referrals for students seeking the assistance ofnon-school based professionals e.g. National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) andthe Health Service Executive (HSE), following standard procedures.100

At third level Careers services provide one-to-one interviews, psychometric testing, e-guidance,workshops, seminars, presentations, liaising with academic staff on student career management andskills highlighting, mentoring and volunteering schemes and career fairs.Most careers services have their own website and some services enable students to email queriesand receive ‘virtual’ careers advice. Some colleges also have specific career advisers for studentswith disabilities. Many services’ websites now incorporate an e-learning module on careermanagement skills and most, if not all, offer an e-guidance service to both current and formerstudents.Each college in the university and IT (Institute of Technology) sector provides a counselling servicefor students on campus. The counsellor may work with individuals or groups on issues in thefollowing areas: therapeutic, developmental, preventative and practical. This can encompasssupport in personal issues, transitions, stress management, study and exam skills, and peermentoring programmes.Career guidance and counselling is provided by FÁS and LES Employment Services Officers forclients as part of its overall national employment and training service and includes:• individual interviews;• ICT - career information databases, and• occupational testing.Other initiatives undertaken by FÁS to support and develop their guidance systems include:• the establishment of a national internet-based job vacancy call centre, and• the development of a multimedia careers package - Career Directions.The latter is a web-based career guidance tool which hosts a database on careers information. It isan interactive programme accessible nationwide, which allows users to perform self-assessmentsand access information on over 720 careers. Career Directions has links to all current vacancies andtraining courses on the FÁS website, and is available in multimedia CD format and online atwww.careerdirections.ie. It is also accessible in FÁS Employment Offices and Training Centres,Youth Information Centres, secondary-level schools and in careers services in third-levelinstitutions.9.3 Guidance and counselling personnelThe Department of Education and Skills (DES) gives schools an allocation equivalent to oneguidance counsellor for every 500 students. These are normally qualified teachers who haveobtained a post-graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counselling. These counsellors are not allemployed full-time in careers work and may also spend some of their time on teaching duties. Apost-graduate qualification in guidance is also one of a range of qualifications required for thoseworking in guidance in higher education. Other recognised qualifications include qualifications inpsychology, social sciences, counselling and personnel management. Unlike guidance services inschools, careers services in tertiary education are normally specialist careers services. According tothe Institutes of Technology Careers Advisers’ Network (ITCAN), all careers advisers have a thirdlevel qualification and there is an increasing expectation that advisers have a post-graduatequalification in career guidance and counselling.Career guidance and counselling is part of the work of a FÁS employment officer. While currentlyno specific formal guidance qualifications are required, prior relevant experience is taken intoaccount and matched against the required competences. Recently recruited FÁS employmentofficers are required to undertake a one-year, part-time open-learning Certificate Programme in101

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