|Four international organisations, OECD, ILO, UNESCO, and the European Commission, and two agencies (ETF, CEDEFOP) of one of these (European Commission) have just issued a first joint statement encouraging governments to invest in career guidance. The 12-page document describes career guidance, its importance for young people and adults in the present economic and work climate, the value of effective career guidance, the importance of employer engagement, some salient facts about career guidance provision, and a list of international resources that governments can draw on to help them to develop effective policies.
This joint statement is a significant cooperation achievement in the field of career guidance by these international organisations and agencies, preceded only by the joint OECD-European Commission initiative of 2004 in the production of Career guidance-a handbook for policymakers.
This first version of the joint statement is not comprehensive and misses out on one fundamental rationale for government investment in career guidance: that individuals, families, and communities differ in their capacities to visualise and plan their futures in work and learning, to source information about themselves and the world of work, to interpret it in relation to themselves and their circumstances, and to apply it in work and learning decision-making. Such differences in capacity lead to different work and life outcomes for individuals, families, and communities, just as differences in literacy and numeracy abilities. In this context, career education/learning is a social compensatory measure to enable people to participate effectively in society and the economy just as maths and language learning. They are all life-skills! This argument is articulated in the EU Guidelines on Policies and Systems Development for Lifelong Guidance (2015).