Guidance and Counselling in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

We work as guidance counsellors in Jyväskylä college. It is a vocational institute that provides education for more than 4000 young people annually. I give guidance and counselling to hotel, restaurant and catering students and tourism students. I studied education at the university and graduated as a teacher. After that I completed studies in guidance and counselling. I work with students in vehicle technology and logistics. I have master’s degree from Jyväskylä University majoring in guidance and counselling. I’m also qualified as a vocational special needs teacher. We work along with our students from the very beginning of their studies and all the way to the graduation day and sometimes even longer. Before studies we do marketing and supply information. We visit comprehensive schools in the region, education fairs and we receive visitors who are interested in vocational education. We also offer guidance online that is open service to everyone around the year. The goal is that young people will find their interests and own field of study. Also, we take part in the students’ selection process. Guidance and counselling staff introduces students to the education and studying practices, qualification structure and requirements and all the services available in the beginning of studies. We identify students’ prior learning and compile individual study plans. During studies, we follow students’ individual study plans and support them in their career planning. Students need help in making different kind of choices, for example, in choosing their competence area and optional studies. We clarify the possibilities to widen the qualification and do a lot of cooperation with multiple actors inside and outside the school. We support students to complete their studies and guide them to further educational training. On the job learning periods often give the students an opportunity to find employment, first summer jobs and later, maybe, more permanent contracts. Nowadays, it is challenging in guidance and counselling work that the students have really different backgrounds. On the one hand, we have students with a lot of work experience and a lot of goals. On the other hand, we have students who need special support. The vocational education legislation is being revised and we think that the need for guidance and counselling is increasing. It is becoming in more common in vocational education that students have a possibility to start studies at any time throughout the year. This takes also guidance and counselling into a new position. Another trend is that some part of our work happens outside the traditional study environment. Our work is flexible and changes and grows with the student. The future will bring probably more students who come to study only for a short period of time and then go to work for a while. Studying doesn’t start or end at the particular point of time but it consists of periods of different states of being.

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