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Guidance System in Germany – Introduction

The German Guidance system provides in principle access to educational and career guidance services for all citizens at any stage of their lives – whether they are in education or training, employed, unemployed or looking for continuing education.

The structure of guidance provision reflects the German education and employment system with its shared responsibilities between the Federal Government, the federal states and the municipalities.

The provision of career guidance is traditionally based on the distinction between:

Educational guidance in the educational sector:

  • School Guidance and counselling
  • Guidance on educational paths
  • School Psychological Service
  • Vocational and Career Guidance by the Federal Employment Agencies (FEA)
  • Higher Education (HE) counselling services

Vocational guidance in the vocational training and employment sector

  • Placement and counselling in the FEA/Job Centre
  • Career guidance in the FEA
  • Municipal educational guidance, adult education centres
  • Career Guidance in the chambers
  • Guidance by providers of further training

The vocational counsellors from the local employment offices of the FEA work on a national level, whereas the vocational counsellors of the International Placement Service of the FEA (Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung (ZAV) offer educational and vocational guidance on a European and International level.

Lifelong Guidance Strategy in Germany

In 2006 the German National Forum Guidance in Education, Career and Employment (nfb) was founded.

The National Guidance Forum contributes to a strategy of Lifelong Learning in Germany in which a coherent system of lifelong guidance is an integral component.

The general aim of the Forum is to promote the professionalism and quality delivery of guidance in education, initial and further vocational training and in the employment sector in Germany. It aims to stimulate the further development of a coherent guidance system which meets the different needs of the users and to draft guidelines for quality and quality assurance which are accepted and recognized by all actors and stakeholders in Germany.