Developing Information Technologies and Labour Market Information in Lifelong Guidance Toolkit

This Article is a part of:

Developing Information Technologies and Labour Market Information in Lifelong Guidance Toolkit

Includes Handbook on training modules for practitioners and users

prepared for CEDEFOP – European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training

 

The handbook and access to the Using ICT for LMI can accessed here

Labour Market Information Toolkit

Handbook – Practitioners, Managers, Policy Makers.

 

Excerpt from the Handbook.

Introduction to the Handbook

Objectives and Target Groups

Why ICT and LMI?

Labour market information (LMI) has never been more important for careers professionals. The labour market is in a constant state of change as new jobs are created and older jobs are replaced by new technologies. New companies start up and older ones close or change. This has many implications for career choices and pathways for our clients.

It is essential that all those working with people in career guidance and advice keep up to date with what is happening in the labour market. In this way, we can impart realistic career education and guidance. With the constant financial pressure on governments and organisations, managers and practitioners must make use of all available technologies, which will improve service to clients. In many cases, this means using ICT in guidance services and encouraging clients to actively manage their career through the use of online tools and services.

Objectives

The following training modules have been developed from best practices across Europe (see ICT and LMI in Lifelong Guidance Case Studies). The overall objective is not to teach ICT skills, but to share “lessons learnt” and address some of the challenges facing managers and guidance practitioners in implementing such practices.

A range of resources to trainers and managers are provided in this handbook, including:

  • Structured modules, activities and exercises;
  • Guidelines for localisation of the training content;
  • A localisation checklist;
  • Example self-assessment tools for trainees;

The aim is to provide a basis from which localised training can be developed for guidance practitioners and managers. The guidelines are not a generic training programme; they are intended as a framework to support local institutions in building relevant training material that meets the needs of their specific context. Local resources, links, videos and other tools may have to be added in order to make the modules fit-for-purpose in a specific training context.

Target groups

The guidelines primarily address managers of guidance services and trainers who are experienced in training guidance practitioners. These two groups can use the guidelines to develop specialised training modules for guidance professionals and managers in their own context.

‘Guidance professionals’ may include qualified, experienced guidance practitioners, practitioners currently undergoing training or working towards a qualification in a careers related field. For this group the modules assume that the trainee has the relevant background knowledge in career theory, guidance techniques etc.

We can identify two main types of assistance from guidance practitioners and managers:

  • Support into employment – shortage skill areas, supply and demand;
  • Support in career education – engagement with employers/schools/colleges.

When localised by a manager or a trainer familiar with the specific context of the trainees the guidelines can serve as a useful starting point for developing more in-depth training in these two main areas.

These guidelines can be further simplified to develop training modules that target semi-professionals who provide information and advice.

Themes

The following modules have been categorized as training for either practitioners or managers (see ‘Target group’ in the introduction to modules).

Manager modules

Managers have the difficult task of bridging the gap between national/regional agendas and their implementation at practitioner level. They must focus on how to integrate ICT systems and staff training within their organisation whilst managing the available resources. Technology by its very nature is constantly changing and adapting, as are the wider political and cultural contexts. As more governments move to a digital government and encourage citizens to communicate/interact with them online, ICT tools offer new ways of working which are more efficient, less time consuming and assist the client to become more self-managing and confident. Managers must understand the implications of these changing contexts and be prepared to respond accordingly.

The manager modules aim to support the trainee in assessing the changing contexts (new opportunities and challenges), and bring ICT and LMI tools into the institution in ways that are accessible and sustainable.  They include:

  • What are the benefits to online LMI and guidance? What are the issues?
  • Practical and technical requirements of using ICT;
  • Engaging with networks to develop LMI;
  • Writing a Digital Strategy for LMI.

Practitioner modules

Generally speaking, guidance practitioners are not only required to use ICT, but to understand the way in which clients use online resources (for career management and education). However, in some cases practitioners experience many issues related to using ICT tools in their work, which leads to a certain resistance. The practitioner modules aim to increase the confidence and understanding of practitioners using ICT tools, through:

  • Understanding the benefits and issues of ICT in LMI and guidance;
  • Selecting the right online tools;
  • Supporting clients to use ICT for LMI;
  • Writing copy for the web.

Adapting the training modules

Localisation

It is for local managers to decide which modules are relevant to their local/organisational context and it is not expected that everyone will complete all the training from the manuals. In many cases, guidance practitioners are well trained and equipped to use ICT for the specific purposes required in their own role, and so the manager must firstly identify the skills and knowledge that the training should address. For example, in some cases, the use of ICT in the guidance process may be quite new and the trainer may experience some resistance from practitioners for various reasons (e.g. it will make my role obsolete). In this scenario, the trainer would focus on earlier modules designed to increase trust in ICT as a resource for enhancing guidance.

As there will be variations in the different target groups of the training sessions, there is a need for the trainer to adapt the tools, resources and methodology of their training. The modules included in the guidelines offer a mixed approach of discursive and reflective exercises, as well as practical and written tasks. Where examples are provided the trainer is free to incorporate local examples e.g. of websites, media, software, apps in the training sessions. The trainer may also use different activities / exercises that are relevant to the job roles of the trainees.

Summary of the main items to localise

  • References to software used by the organisation (Ideally computers, the internet and the organisation’s software would be available to the trainees in the training session);
  • Main sources of LMI – local, regional, national, European;
  • Glossaries;
  • Recommended websites for LMI, any other resources in common use;
  • Career Theories (relevant to interaction with clients and expected outcomes)[1];
  • Where to go for more information[2];
  • Add local examples and relevant demonstrations/ real-life exercises;
  • Links to videos in the native language;
  • Adapt the learning outcomes to the national profile of practitioners*;
  • Remove anything in the training manual that is not relevant to the trainees.

A Localisation Checklist is included in Annex 4 of this handbook.

Delivering the training modules

We recommend studying the modules in group training sessions wherever possible. There are several advantages to delivering the modules in group training sessions, such as:

 

  • Listening to other people’s experiences;
  • Others in a group may know of different software, websites or solutions;
  • New concepts and techniques can be explored in a safe environment;
  • Other people can help answer questions that come up before or after training;
  • Measuring understanding against other members of the group.

 

Begin the training with a common agreement of terms – example glossaries have been included in the annexes and users can refer back to at any point during the training, or the trainer can provide their own.

Modules begin with a self-assessment tool that allows the trainee to reflect on their current level of skill and competence based on the learning outcomes. It is good practice for the trainee to repeat the exercise at the end of the module, in order to recognise their own learning, measure distance travelled and identify any areas for further study or training. The self-assessment tool may also be used over time to measure the long-term impact of learning in the trainees’ day-to-day work.

Each module and activity includes recommended timings and equipment required. Most timings have been included to guide trainers; however, these only serve as an indicator. More or less, attention might be given to a particular task/module depending on the needs of trainees in a particular setting. It is up to the manager and/or trainer to assess which aspects of the training to cover in more depth.

You may produce certificates for the trainees to show the training they have undertaken. This will count towards their personal development training-plan.

Learning Outcomes

The Learning Outcomes of modules are based on the required skills and knowledge prescribed in the following European references:

  • European Competence Standards for the Academic Training of Career Practitioners (2016) NICE;
  • European Reference Competence Profile for PES and EURES counsellors (2014) DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion;
  • Professionalising career guidance: Practitioner competences and qualification routes in Europe (2009) Cedefop.

During localisation, trainers and managers may wish to adapt the Learning Outcomes to fit national skills and competence profiles.

Ethical Standards

To ensure consistency and impartiality any element of working with clients should be underpinned by ethical practice such as those set out by the Career Development Institute –http://www.thecdi.net/Code-of-Ethics

LMI Toolkit

These training manuals are supported by the LMI Toolkit. Trainers, managers and practitioners should refer to the toolkit for additional resources and links to online examples.

 

An example Agenda and further Trainer Notes are included in the annexes.

[1] It is not the purpose of the training manuals to teach career theory to practitioners. However, examples of career theories are included to underpin the practitioners understanding of why LMI and LMI Tools can be relied on in guidance.

[2] E.g. A named person for support, relevant websites, further training courses, online training, further reading or self-study

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