The project appointed 20 county career counselling consultants, whose job is to support career counsellors in schools.
07.08.2018

Career counselling for educators

EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2018. Pomeranian Career Counsellors Network gathered a wide network of local authorities to improve the offering and quality of career counselling in the region. Barbara Szymańska, Regional career counselling consultant, talks about the initiative.

What was the main purpose of this project?

“The main goal of our initiative is to create a support system for career counsellors from educational sector in Pomeranian Voivodeship. Together with fulfilling this goal, our activities aim to increase access to educational, vocational and labour market information and influence the quality of career services in schools.

Our way of achieving the set goals is through developing networks of cooperation and self-study which gather career counsellors on the local level in 20 counties and on the regional level. In practice we decided to appoint 20 county career counselling consultants, whose job is to support career counsellors in schools, create a network of people and organizations involved in vocational counselling, organize and coordinate meetings of the county network members on regular basis, gather useful vocational information, facilitate contacts between schools and employers and disseminate information about vocational counselling. On the regional level we have created the network of county career counselling consultants who meet regularly every 2 months to discuss the challenges, learn and also teach each other. The coordinator of the network is a regional career counselling consultant established in Centrum Edukacji Nauczycieli (In-Service Teacher Training Centre) in Gdańsk, in the capital of the region.

The project has not been completed yet and it is still developing. So far the main results are the integration of the career advisors in the environment, new relations and cooperation initiatives, improved flow of information and experience in the region, and better access to training and current vocational and labour market information. The project has improved vocational counselling in the region:  the voice of career advisors is also heard more often among authorities on local and regional level.”

How did the project foster cooperations and partnerships?

“For me personally this project is about relations. And of course it fostered cooperations in the field of career counselling in our region. At initial stage a formal partnership was established between the The Marshal’s Office of the Pomeranian Voivodship (the Departament of Education and Sport) and 20 local governments. Thanks to this it was possible to emerge local leaders, such as county career counselling consultants, start developing networks in counties and receive support of counties authorities in our activities to empower vocational counselling and guidance in the region.

As the networks are growing, less formal partnerships and cooperations are developing. Joining the network is open to everyone involved in career counselling and it is free of charge. There have been also significantly more dissemination activites carried out across the region from the beginning of the project. Therefore the group of people involved in networks is growing quite quickly. During the year the amount of members of all networks in the region increased from 234 in June 2017 to 412 in February 2018.”

As the networks are growing, less formal partnerships and cooperations are developing.

Often together with the people, their organizations get involved in cooperation and partnership. These are: schools of different type and stage of education, psychological-pedagogical dispensaries, job offices on local and regional level, academic career offices, local and global employers, Education Departments in counties, training organizations, independent experts and so on.

The aim of the networks of cooperation and self-study is to create the meeting space, which will give its participants a possibility to exchange their knowledge, know-how, current information and news from the career advisory field, deal with problems and challenges, get and give support. The natural outcome of those meeting are also joint activities.

Important support for the whole system is provided by Centrum Edukacji Nauczycieli (In-Service Teacher Training Centre) in Gdańsk, which offers a wide range of free trainings for career advisors, coordinates the network, provides space for different initiatives and Voivodeship Labour Office in Gdańsk. It gives support concerning labour market issues, research and facilitates cooperation with local labour offices.

As the project is developing, new people and organizations become partners and are willing to join our network.”

What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?

“What I have learnt from our project is how powerful and crucial are positive relations in creating change we want to happen in the world. Network of cooperation and self-study is a learning tool, which allows pariticipants share their knowledge and career advisory know-how and be up-to-date. But it also makes people feel not alone with their difficult moments, gives them possibility to deal with their problems better and what is most important: bring their energy, talents, knowledge, emotions, motivations, creativity, life stories, needs to the common space.

There are also several significant organizational issues, that might make creating network of cooperation and self-study successful and long-term activity. These are:

1. Leader of the network (contracted by stable organization like for example local government)
2. Free of charge space for meetings and training equipment avaiable
3. Support for the leader (in a form of: possibility to be a part of leaders network, trainings and inspirations, facilitation of cooperations with employers, job offices, experts, trainers)
4. Support of local and/or regional level authorities
5. Regular calendar of network’s meetings (every month, 2 months)
6. Voluntary and free of charge participation in the network
7. Co-creation of meetings – all participants are experts.

A special thanks go to all the people who are involved in building career counsellors networks in our region and who co-create with their energy the space for thinking about career and life designing issues which are so important today.”

Pomeranian Career Counsellors Network

  • Category: National projects
  • Coordinator: Centrum Edukacji Nauczycieli/ Teacher Education Centre in Gdańsk
  • Country: Poland
  • Focus: Educators, career counselling
  • Innovative cooperation: A wide network of local governments, schools, psychological-pedagogical dispensaries, job offices on local and regional level, academic career offices, local and global employers, Education Departments in counties, training organizations, independent experts.
  • Resources: Website

Text: EAEAPhotos: Pomeranian Career Counsellors Network

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