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Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Theme 9: Lifelong

Theme 9: Lifelong guidance for lifelong learning and sustainable employment9.1 Strategy and provisionIreland does not have an integrated and comprehensive structure for providing career guidance andadvice. Recent reports on guidance provision in Ireland by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needsand the Department of Education and Skills (DES), have revealed many strengths but alsosignificant gaps. The ‘Task Force on Lifelong Learning’, set up in 2002, by the government, statedthat: "An integrated strategy for development is seen as vital with all relevant agencies participatingin supporting co-ordinated actions- particularly through joint approaches by FÁS, the Training andEmployment Authority, the National Centre for Guidance in Education and secondary level, furtherand third level providers”.In 2004 a National Guidance Forum was established in response to an OECD review of careerguidance policies in Ireland in 2002. The Forum brought together key stakeholders from across theeducation and labour market spectrum, and for the first time an agreed cohesive strategy for anational lifelong guidance service was developed. The Forum’s report and recommendations 101published in 2007, provided the opportunity for planning the provision of a guidance service thatwould underpin national priorities in lifelong learning.The Forum adopted the following definitionof guidance:Guidance facilitates people throughout their lives to manage their own educational, training,occupational, personal, social, and life choices so that they reach their full potential and contributeto the development of a better society.Based on this definition, the Forum proposed a strategy for lifelong guidance in Ireland thatincludes four main elements: FIGURE 3• A national lifelong guidance framework, outlining the knowledge, skills and competenciesthat guidance aims to develop among individuals at different times of their lives;• A competency framework for guidance practitioners;• A quality framework for guidance services;• A coherent framework of organisational structures to deliver a coordinated andcomprehensive lifelong guidance service.The implementation of the framework is to be supported by quality standards for service deliveryand by qualified practitioners, as well new interlinked structures. At national level the Forumproposes a National Guidance Agency and a National Guidance Forum to promote and implement alifelong guidance strategy, and at local level a Lifelong Guidance Co-ordination Board and a LocalGuidance Forum, to ensure that the delivery of guidance by labour market and education providersis co-ordinated and delivered effectively. It is intended that this proposed framework should delivera comprehensive lifelong guidance service that will drive a quality-assured service. The Forum hasalso agreed a common vision and definition of guidance across the education, labour market andcommunity sectors, supported research on careers information and announced its participation inthe European-funded project for the establishment of a European network of guidance forums. TheNational Forum on Guidance was established in October 2011 and aims to provide a forum fordialogue, exchanging information and exploring possibilities for co-operation and co-ordination.Discussions will be informed by National Priorities, activities of the European Lifelong Guidance101Guidance for Life: An Integrated Framework for Lifelong Learning in Ireland, National Guidance forum Report,2007.96

Policy Network (ELGPN) and developments in guidance in line with EU Council Resolution 2008and Education and Training “ET” 2020.Guidance ServicesGuidance services are education and labour-market based and, are located within educationalinstitutions and in local employment centres. Within educational settings, guidance services arebased in post-primary schools, higher and further education institutions and through second chanceeducation programmes. In the labour market sector FÁS, the training and employment authority, isresponsible for the provision of guidance services. Guidance services are offered through localemployment centres which offer services to the unemployed/jobseekers, persons with disabilitiesand asylum seekers around the country.Guidance services at secondary level: The Education Act (1998) required schools to ensure thatschool students have access to guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices. Insecond level schools, guidance is a universal entitlement. Each school is granted an additionalteaching resource to assist it with its guidance provision, ranging from approximately eight hoursper week in small schools (1000students. 102 Guidance also forms part of the curriculum in senior cycle through the Transition YearProgramme (TYP), Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) and Leaving Certificate VocationalProgramme (LCVP). In recent years priority has been given to additional elements of guidance inthe curriculum e.g. 'substance abuse' programmes and 'stay safe' programmes. In some schools,support teachers are available to support the needs of children with social, emotional, andbehavioural difficulties.Guidance at post-secondary level: At post-secondary school level, guidance and counsellingprovision is provided mainly within further education colleges and centres operated locally byVocational Educational Committees (VECs) and in community education settings. The VECnetwork is the primary mechanism through which the Department of Education and Skills funds theAdult Education and Guidance Initiative (AEGI). From some forty locations at present, GuidanceCounsellors and Information Officers under the AEGI provide personal, educational and careerguidance, and provide a contact point within the education system for FÁS Employment ServiceOfficers.Third Level All Universities and Institutes of Technology (IoTs) have career and counsellingservices available to students. Career services are based in Career Advisory/and AppointmentsOffices, and counselling services are offered through the Student Counselling Service.In adult education, a counselling service is also available to help clients assess their currentsituation and look at the options open to them for the future. In 2000 an Adult EducationalGuidance Initiative (AEGI) was established to pilot and eventually mainstream, a guidance,information and counselling service, which would include outreach provision for adult learnersfrom disadvantaged backgrounds with low educational attainment.Guidance at primary, and at secondary and third level is available free of charge as is guidance inthe adult education sector. However, there are also a small number of private providers where feesare charged - usually on an individual basis for professional advice, guidance and counselling inrelation to career options.102As a result of cutbacks introduced in the Budget 2012, from September 2012, schools will have to provide theirguidance service from within their general teacher allocation.97

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