Counseling and Career guidance for VET graduates

One of the key issues for graduates and young people in general, is the career choices that they have to make. These decisions are crucial for the future of young people as it is largely affecting the professional satisfaction, young people will have in the future from the profession they will choose. These options will be more effective but also satisfactory if they match the personal characteristics of them with the characteristics of the job they will choose and these options largely depend on the degree to which it will be adequately structured, compact and with enough clarity the professional self. That is, the degree to which the inclinations, abilities, skills, interests, preferences, characteristics, etc. of young people will have crystallized. These decisions will also be influenced by the views of parents, teachers, potential employers, peer group and other important people in the lives of young people. The wider social and cultural environment as it is shaped by the media, social media and the internet, the print media and various other sources of information will also play a key role at this decision. The aim of career guidance counseling, if the image of the professional self has already been formed and / or in parallel with this process, is to facilitate young people in the process of making these decisions.

There are too many detailed definitions of career guidance. The general definition as cited by UNESCO and Conger (1994: 7), “the primary purpose of the guide is to provide students with general career development and development skills with efficiency in their continuous development as students, working professionals and citizens”. According to Conger (1994) and UNESCO the main objectives of the Orientation, whether it concerns educational or professional choices, as applied in education should be the acquisition of some skills that students should have acquired and relate to knowledge and attitudes, that are considered necessary but also to evaluate themselves (self-knowledge and self-esteem), to be able to effectively relate to other people, to be able to develop appropriate educational plans, to explore alternative career and work options. Therefore, the main goal of career guidance should not be limited to information. This does not mean that information is not one of the main priorities of career guidance, but that the same emphasis should be given to the above skills, which in short could be characterized as learning life skills.

According to Conger (1994) students should:

  • To know the effect that the positive image of themselves can have in their life, to help them with self-knowledge and self-esteem
  • Be able to interact positively with other people,
  • To be able to understand the effects of their development and evolution (physical, psychological, spiritual),
  • Know the direct correlations between educational performance and career planning
  • Understand the need to develop positive attitudes towards work and learning,
  • Have skills in locating, evaluating, and interpreting career information,
  • Have skills that will prepare them in the search, acquisition, retention and exchange of jobs and professions,
  • Have decision-making skills,
  • Understand the interaction of different life roles,
  • Have skills for planning their career.

And understand how social needs and functions, but also the various social, economic, demographic and other transformations and changes affect the nature and structure of the labor market (Bosch, G. & Charest, J. 2008).


In order for young people to make the best and most sustainable career choices possible, they must first achieve a satisfactory degree of knowledge of themselves, their skills, abilities, interests, values, etc. This knowledge will form gradually self- knowledge and will build their professional identity. Knowledge of this data will allow them to be able to match their key characteristics with the requirements of different career options. There are many theories about career choices, but not all are based on self-knowledge as a primary career choice. This decision-making process will be facilitated by the consultation process which, in order to be more effective, must be structured. The structured counseling process will improve counselor communication and in turn facilitate the counseling and management of counselors’ confusion. Combined with adequate information this will facilitate decision making by the consultants. Such a framework for managing and building the Consulting process is provided by Ivey, Gluckstern & Bradford Ivey (1996),,, and Basic Counseling Skills. (2010).


Zimmerman et al (2013) note that apprenticeship is also a great way to prevent youth unemployment. They believe that the dual role of apprenticeship, ie the combination of internships in real places and working conditions with school support through the provision of knowledge and information that give conceptual meaning to experiences from the work and professional field, is a complete form of preparation for the real world of work, thus giving young people an advantage in finding work in the labor market. They believe that apprenticeship – in the form of a combination of parallel practice and theoretical practice – offers the possibility of coordinating the demands of the labor market with the abilities and skills of young potential employees. Thus, young people will prefer such apprenticeship programs as they will perceive apprenticeship as the beginning of a long-term investment in the labor market and will develop a stronger bond with the labor market itself, while promoting economic growth and social cohesion.


Therefore, according to the general view of the characteristics and factors but also the more specific formulations of the theories of Holland, but also of Super, crucial for effective and successful educational and professional choices is the self-determination by the students. This achievement may not be very easy for teenagers and young people as the concept of self is not built overnight, especially during adolescence which is a stage with many peculiarities and characteristics that do not favor the crystallization of the concept of self in general and the concept of professional self in particular (vocational self-concept). Apprenticeships are therefore presented as an opportunity for young people to work further, in a real work environment in real working conditions, and to gradually build more of a sense of professional self. Needless, this learning and building process is greatly favored by the involvement of young people in real working conditions as it is in line with the wording that the learning process can only happen independently, where among all other experiences there is the possibility of learning through imitation of patterns (vicarious learning). The stages of professional decision making are: Clarification of personal goals and values & creation of a hierarchy of goals, search for alternatives & expand options, information search, evaluation of options, decision-taking and finally implementation.




Bosch, G. & Charest, J. (2008). Vocational training and the labour market in liberal and coordinated economies, Industrial Relations Journal, 39:5, 428-447


Bright, J.E.H., Pryor, R.G.L., Wilkenfeld, S. & Earl, J. (2005). The role of social context and serendipitous events in career decision making, International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 5:L19-36.


Cedefop (2009b). Continuity, consolidation and change: Towards a European era of vocational education and training, Cedefop, Thessaloniki


Conger, D.S. (1994). Policies and guidelines for educational and vocational guidance, Paris, UNEVOC, UNESCO, 1994


Ivey, A.E. & Gluckstern, N.B. (1999). Συμβουλευτική: Βασικές δεξιότητες επιρροής. Ελληνικά Γράμματα: Αθήνα.


Kuhn, K.I. (2017). Enhancing social competence for disadvantaged youth in pre-vocational education: Model development through design-based research, International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 4(4): 346-368.


Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society-the development of higher processes. Harvard: Harvard University Press.


Zimmerman, K.F., Biavaschi, C., Eichhorst, W., Giulietti, C., Kendzia, M.J., Muravyev, A., Pieters, J., Rodriguez-Planas, N., & Schmidl, R. (2013). Youth unemployment and vocational training, Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics, vol.9(1-2):1-157


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