„Get Ready: a co-designed Training program on Career guidance”
A resource for the vocational education of youth
In Romania, there is one educational counselor for every 2000 students, according to the European Commission’s reports.
This comes with a big burden at both a societal level and a personal one. Many times, the educational counselor has to deal with a variety of educational & behavioral issues in the school (eg. aggressive behaviors, ADHD interventions, bullying etc.), meaning that the vocational educational “hat” is not a priority compared with the most disruptives and urgent topics to be addressed. Unfortunately, the situation is similar in the NGO sector, where there is a big lack of vocational programs & resources. As a consequence, most of the young people choose their future professional selves without a personal practice of getting to know themselves, not learning how to explore the professional options or knowing how to make career decisions during the school years.
What type of society do we create without expertise & passionate professionals? We see a few answers in the present society and it builds dissatisfaction & a wish to leave the country (see the Romania drain brain level).
Get Ready: a co-designed Training program on Career guidance was written bearing in mind the need of career resources in schools and in society. By training school masters, teachers & youth workers to facilitate career management sessions in the class or in their youth groups, we supplement the vocational education that young people receive during their school years, before being in the position to make important career decisions.
EvoCariera, The Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Centre and EDUQ Association began this project by mapping the most interesting vocational programs already designed around Europe and around the world. We wanted to make sure we have in the center of our program the needs of the young people, so we focused on finding other programs designed by & for youth before starting our own design program. These two actions led to creating 2 best-practices catalogs – “Aspire to Inspire”, a catalog on career management interventions and “Co-design with youth – Sparking innovation through Collaboration”, a catalog of co-design programs, translated in English, Romanian & Polish translation.
Another important step in our program was to facilitate co-design youth workshops. By listening to the young people talk about their biggest issues in terms of career decisions and what would work for them in order to embrace these kinds of vocational programs, we took a long list of reflections & best practices for our future program.
Designing the actual program ended with having “Get Ready – A manual for CareerGRIT Facilitators” – a booklet consisting of 10 activities of 45-50 minutes group sessions, each one with specific instructions for the facilitator, the resources needed to deliver the activity, debriefing questions and further explanations in terms of group management.
Following the manual, we continued with designing the training program for the teachers, school masters & youth workers. We started from our own past interventions conducted by each partner in their activity. Being aware of the multi-cultural context (Polish and Romanian) was important in the design process and, through our monthly online meetings and the 2 transnational meetings we began to acknowledge our different, but very similar context and background and to build a training intervention that would cater to all of our specific needs.
Get Ready: a co-designed Training Program on Career Guidance was designed as a 30 h training program consisting of 4 modules of 8 h/module & coaching group sessions in order to ensure the transfer into the practice of the participants. 23 people took part in the program, in two groups – one held in Romania and one in Poland during September – November 2022. The modules focused on offering a framework of career management education in the VUCA world (https://www.vuca-world.org/). Which are the facilitation skills needed in order to implement the activities for groups of youth? What are their needs? What does a career decision process look like? Digging into the 10 activity sessions and having demo sessions conducted by the participants, gave the CareerGRIT training attendees the chance to experience the program first hand and to further contribute to the objectives of each activity and to deeply understand the purpose of each chapter in the booklet.
We would like to acknowledge and thank all participants involved in this program: their openness, dedication and passion made our first trained group of youth workers & teachers a very special experience that proved the need to build further communities of youth workers involved in facilitating the career decision process for youth.
In the end, we let a testimonial from one of the participants speak for itself:
„I feel honored to have joined the first series that the trainers called “the tribe that invests care and passion for change in the young people around them”. It was my need, as a teacher, to better understand how to relate to these needs of today’s young people and to do a mandatory update on everything that means the support I can give to students in identifying the way forward and the decisions that follow from here. Paraphrasing the composer Sigismund Toduta: “Everyone […], somewhere, must remember that he had a guide, who opened and cleared the Path – what follows.”
Cedefop (2019). Vocational education and training in Romania: short description
VUCA World: https://www.vuca-world.org
Romania drain brain level – https://ceswp.uaic.ro/articles/CESWP2020_XII4_GAV.pdf