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ILO: Career Guidance: A ressource handbook for low and middle-income countries

2006 -
Hansen, E. Career Guidance. A resource handbook for low- and middle-income countries. Geneva: ILO, 2006

The dual purpose of this Handbook is:

(1) to focus the attention of policy-makers and programme administrators in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) upon the core issues in the reform of career guidance services in those countries; and

(2) to provide programme planners and practitioners at the national and local levels with a wide variety of country examples and practical career guidance tools to use as models for possible adaptation and use.

The Handbook is divided into two parts to address each of these objectives. Part I first reviews current international trends in career guidance in high-income countries and comments on the relevance of these trends in low- and middle-income countries. Second, a framework is presented of six key elements to be taken into account in the development of a career guidance system. These elements are:
(1) understanding the country context;
(2) development of career information;
(3) promotion of work choice, search and maintenance skills development;
(4) organization of service delivery;
(5) staff development to support service delivery; and
(6) improvement of governance and coordination.

Third, the Handbook integrates a number of illustrative country practices into the discussion of each of the six key elements. These practices also stand on their own as applicable lessons in real-life solutions to public policy challenges.

Part II of the Handbook indicates specific career guidance Internet web sites. These comprise:
(1) an inventory of career guidance tools and resources available on the Internet from a variety of high-, middle- and low-income countries; and
(2) more general references, such as international competency standards for career guidance professionals and standards for career information development.

Career guidance information and skills development tools on the Internet have proliferated in the last ten years, and the accessibility to this information by an international audience provides a window on current practices worldwide. Particular attention is given to including resources currently in use in low- and middle-income countries.

It should be noted that the emphasis on Internet tools in Part II is not intended to suggest that low- and middle-income countries should all develop Internet sites. However, the sites provided make a number of tools (interviewing guides, vocational assessment tools and competency standards for counsellors) accessible to readers throughout the world, sometimes in multiple languages. The models on these sites could be developed into print materials or teaching resources, for example. Use of the Internet in this way multiplies the power of the Handbook and directs readers to more detailed materials. It is a map to useful destinations. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/skills/career/index.htm

It is beyond the scope of the Handbook to indicate every useful destination, given the extent of career guidance-related sites on the Internet. A number of excellent sites are only available in national languages that are inaccessible to a wide international audience. Most sites in the Handbook are in English, but Part II includes sites in French and Spanish. Many more sites from high-income countries could have been listed, but they have been limited to maintain the focus on low- and middle-income countries. Finally, information on the Internet is perishable; sites come and go and are continuously being updated.