Competence Coach

Description

COMPETENCE COACH focuses on the training of career guidance practitioners.
The project partners have agreed to use the definition of career guidance developed by OECD and EU [OECD (2004) p. 19]. Across Europe, guidance is increasingly regarded as vital for education and training [European Commission (2001) Making a European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality].

According to recent studies and reports [OECD, Bridging the gap, 2004; CEDEFOP, Guidance policies in the knowledge society, 2004; R. Sultana, Current progress of LL guidance policy, 2006] the guidance services have significant deficits in quality in all project partner countries (CZ, DE, UK, FR, EL, IT, LT).

In May 2004 the EU Council identified the need for further professionalizing and quality assurance of guidance practitioners. This finding was supported by the country papers of the UK and Italy for the symposium on career development in April 2006 which stated for both countries still the need for training to underpin and develop the competences and capabilities of guidance practitioners.

Apart from this general remarks CEDEFOP [ 2005] and the British researcher J. Bimrose noticed that the guiding process should be governed rather by a holistic approach leading to empowerment of the client than just applying the matching method in a one-off intervention. Against the background of these papers and compared to success criteria of guidance defined by stakeholders [UK survey] it seems that the instrument of coaching (holistic
approach) could be successfully applied in any guidance settings leading to high quality services.

The partners refer to coaching as an ongoing relationship between a qualified coach and an individual or team which focuses on clients taking action toward the realization of their goals. The coach's job is to provide support to enhance the skills, and resources that the client already has.
Coaching as defined is a holistic method. The project partners believe practitioners should be trained in coaching to be prepared for delivering career guidance. Although the skill to assess competences informally acquired is regarded as specialisation with the vocational guidance profession (see IAEVG, Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development), this guidance competence is of outstanding importance in a labour world, where employees have to visualise again and again their employability e. g. their labour market relevant competences.

The validation of non-formally and informally acquired competences is particularly important for low-qualified and poorly-paid persons and can lead to new career opportunities and better jobs. Therefore the members of the consortium see this skill not as specialisation but core competence that every guidance worker should have. All partners reported about lacking skills to assess these competences of clients. Summing up there is a clearly identified need for professional training of career guidance practitioners not only in holistic counselling methods as coaching but also in skills related to the assessment of informally acquired competences of clients. The project partners focus on clients belonging to groups at risk of social exclusion.

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