On Tuesday 24 th October, 2023, Euroguidance Malta organised the sixth Stakeholders’ Forum. Representatives from the Education and Employment sectors discussed this year’s chosen theme, ‘Quality Career Guidance Experiences for Students’. An international speaker, Dr Deirdre Hughes, Associate Professor, Warwick University – Institute of Employment Research (IER) & Director, DMH & Associates Ltd., was the keynote speaker. Table discussions among stakeholders followed, whereby ways as to how the collaboration between Education and Employment stakeholders can be strengthened were discussed. Dr Deirdre Hughes gives importance to technology such as AI, being another ideal tool for career exploration support for all stakeholders.
Associate Professor Deirdre Hughes started off her presentation entitled ‘Empowering Futures: Bridging Education and Industry for Quality Career Guidance’ by discussing the importance of career guidance and its progression and how attitudes in the workforce have changed from time to time. Nowadays, students and employees have opportunities to consult with career guidance practitioners, Questions that participants were asked to reflect upon where: Are students really consulting with them? How many employers are offering these services? Are we providing quality career guidance experiences to our students?
She also referred to the ‘Career Learning Framework’ which is a tool used in schools in Malta, aiming to provide a quality career education and guidance service in schools. Education and Employment stakeholders discussed the three main elements in this framework ‘Leadership’, ‘Development’ and ‘Impact’ to assess a continuous improvement plan for successful career guidance. Key actions highlighted in the table discussions include:
- The importance of helping our clients to strenghten the employability skills needed in today’s labour market such as the skills of collaboration, resilience and communication starting from primary and continuing throughout one’s live.
- The need for leaders to develop experiences where students/clients are helped to identify their skills and aspirations.
- The need for leaders to ensure further collaboration between stakeholders involved in order to offer more opportunities for internships, job exposures even beyond the career of the student’s/client’s interests
- Using social media as a tool to expose students to emerging careers.
- The importance of providing opportunities for career conversations on an individualised basis
- The need to focus on evidence based studies.
- The need to professionalise the career guidance sector.
- The need for more awareness raising of best practices.
- Continuous professional development for those working in the career guidance sector.
- All stakeholders are responsible for gathering feedback and evaluate if career guidance is effective or not.
- Students as the main stakeholders are to be involved in this process.
- All stakeholders should collaborate when conducting evaluation but there is a need for someone to take the coordinating role and to gather the data which will help the entity to evaluate, change and improve if necessary.
- Closer collaborations with employers are needed such as agreements with companies who can fund career guidance initiatives.