The “Lifelong Career Guidance for EU citizens” event closed the Lifelong Learning Week 2018 on the 7th December 2018 at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. The debate focused on presenting tools for increasing the employability of people with low skills through information and communication technologies.

“Without guidance there is no validation’’

Alison Crabb (DG EMPL) addressed the difficulty of delivering ambitions without proper guidance. Without good guidance in place, principles 1 (education, training and life-long learning) and 4 (active support to employment) of the EU Pillar of Social Rights will struggle to become a reality. We need to align the skills strategies towards a common goal and empower individuals for value creation.

What’s the meaning of a career today? invited Jean-Marie Dujardin (EUCEN) the participants to reflect about this. He explained that we have shifted from lifetime employment to lifetime employability. Career paths need to focus on employability and a continuous development of skills. How can we develop sustainable skills? He specified four main methods: actualisation of existing skills, development of new skills, lifelong learning and a regular reactivation of skills.

Ludovic Collin (RICDM) underlined the need for a holistic approach in lifelong guidance service. Citizens must be able to follow career advice and counselling in the same place. We need collaboration and partnerships between the different actors in career guidance. He introduced the “Cités des métiers International Network”, a workspace for organisations in the field of education, training, employment and career guidance directed to all citizens, offering free services, anonymity and a decompartmentalised approach of counselling. He ended his intervention reflexing about lifelong learning not only as a professional life related concept, but also as a topic that includes personal life. On the same line, Gina Ebner (EAEA) highlighted the importance of looking at the environment and the connection to other social areas. Learning is important, but sometimes we need to look at a completely different starting point in order to change something. She has also claimed that there is a huge necessity to invest in structures and facilities as some countries have very fragile structures that need to be consolidated. This would benefit both guidance and adult education.

In addition, Noelia Cantero (EARLALL) gave a regional perspective and insisted on the significance of career guidance and how it needs to take into consideration learning patterns and all the different types of learners.

Lucie Susova (SOLIDAR Foundation) put the spotlight on the necessity to go from global to local and invest in local resources as much as possible in order to reach the most disadvantaged communities. She has also pointed out that there are great tools to help counsellors and career managers and we really need to outreach. Furthermore, she stated that EU institutions have the potential to do more in this area.

Finally, Muerielle Antille (Adecco Group) gave an employer viewpoint. Career development and guidance are priorities for social partners too, as there is so much to gain for employers. Moreover, she considers that it’s all about the right mindset. Companies need to start recruiting for skills and for personality. In lifelong learning is very important to have the accurate mindset perspective and to have awareness about skills.

Reported by Anca Crețu