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04 máj 2022
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For inspiration, they went all the way to Norway: What have our colleagues learned from career counselling?

People are more motivated to work on themselves because they are supported by the state. Career counselling centres adapt to the needs of the target groups. Our colleagues Anastazij Momot, Zuzana Pápežová and Martin Hoľko had the opportunity to see this and much more for themselves. At the beginning of April, they completed a business trip to Norway, where they visited the career counselling organization Fretex Plus. Thanks to inspiring meetings and visits to the country, they gained a new ideas on how to improve our career counselling.

In the back row on the left is our colleague Martin, next to him Zuzana and Anastazij

Roma children coming from socially marginalized environment in Slovakia often encounter discrimination, for instance in the education area. The reason can be that their community or families fail to support them to complete their education and this further leads to early school-leaving. Many of these children lose interest in secondary or higher education and thus fall into a vicious circle of social exclusion and poverty. Within our activities, we therefore try to help children from these marginalized communities, for example in the form of career counselling. Our colleagues are constantly learning in this regard, an example of which is also their trip to northern Norway.

New career-oriented subjects

Our colleagues found that people whom Fretex Plus works with, are more motivated to work on themselves, because they are supported by the state, usually by material motivation. As a part of their trip to Norway, our colleagues also visited the youth centre, IUTH CENTER and Salvation Army cafe. According to them, these centres are completely adjusted to the needs of the target groups.

During four days spent in Norway, they’ve also learned something new about education system in the country. In 2020, a new education reform has been implemented, therefore many theoretical subjects were removed and new subjects, which can help and guide students on their career path, have been added. Some of them are for example, the subject focused on self-knowledge or the subject dealing with motivation to work and learning about the work. Local students can also attend the course designated to familiarize them in detail with the school system in Norway.

We should teach and lead people, not do things for them

Colleagues spotted changes not only in the education system but also in the forms of counselling. “They implement exercises, not self-presentation activities. After every workshop, employees gain a feedback. Thanks to this, they can tailor next workshop for the specific group,” explained Anastazij Momot. In addition, the employees of the centres build self-help groups and alliances within the communities, they look for leaders who would take care of disadvantaged people and provide them with help in everyday life.

In the case of individual counselling, the employees of the Norwegian centres approach each person individually. “They work with those who are interested and motivated. They start the interview with short questions and focus on the person’s abilities and skills. The structure of the interview is also aimed at discovering a person’s experience, values and dreams,” explained Anastazij. Besides counselling work in the centre, they also practice counselling in the form of fieldwork. The activities include an open café with food, where employees walk among people, map their needs and approach them for counselling.

According to Anastazij, it is important to teach and lead people, not do things for them. “They have a lot of support from other professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, the social worker supervises the process – he helps to find a way for the person and oversees his direction,” said Anastazij.

In regard of career counselling, our colleagues are constantly learning

Career counselling is also necessary in Slovakia

Thanks to this business trip, our colleagues had the opportunity to experience how career counselling works in different country as well as to find inspiration in implementing new ways of help. This can further help children from marginalized communities escape from the shackles of poverty and social exclusion.

Career counselling in our centres intends to show children from marginalized communities that education is important. “Career counselling should lead to the fact that children won’t leave school in 7th, 8th or 9th grade, but instead that they’ll successfully finish primary school and continue to study according their own preference. Ideally, these children should also finish high school, acquire some skills and further use them in life,” explained Anastazij and added that this is the main idea of career counselling.

Within the counselling, our colleagues focus mainly on children and youth between the ages of 12 and 15, as this age is crucial for setting a life path. They focus on working with Roma children and youth from different backgrounds, whether from small villages or cities. Part of the activities also involves the inclusion of non-Roma children and youth, which aims to create friendly relationships between children and youth from different backgrounds. This can help children from marginalized communities to continue their education or employment in the future.

Project LDI03023 “Development of career counselling skills for social inclusion” is supported by Norwegian funds and co-financed from the state budget of the Slovak Republic.

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