OVERVIEW

The following ministries are responsible for the implementation of vocational guidance in Poland:

  • the Ministry of National Education: vocational guidance for children and learning youth as well as for adults continuing their education.
  • the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy: vocational guidance for adults and young people, in particular, young people at risk of social exclusion. For all issues related to vocational guidance, the Department of Labour Market is responsible.

Some vocational guidance-related tasks are performed by the institutions subordinate to the following ministries:

  • the Ministry of National Defence: vocational guidance for present and former professional soldiers. The issue of supervision and organisation of the staff reconversion system in the Ministry is the responsibility of the Department of Social Affairs.
  • the Ministry of Science and Higher Education: vocational guidance for university students and graduates.

In the non-public sector, there are vocational guidance agencies as well as non-governmental organisations and associations, which, to a varying degree, also take measures in the field of vocational guidance. Some commercial educational institutions, e.g., Vocational Training Centres, employ vocational advisors who help learners choose appropriate training opportunities.

POLICY

The competences of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, as the body responsible for, inter alia, reducing unemployment, include labour market policy-making to the extent and in the forms referred to in the Act of 20 April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions. Hence, the activities of the Ministry of Family (…) focus on taking activation measures with respect to people remaining outside the labour market.

The objectives of the labour market policy are, in relation to:

  • adolescents: allowing them to learn a profession and supporting employers interested in employing young people,
  • the unemployed: return to employment and acquisition of new competences/qualifications,
  • the employed: maintenance of employment and updating possessed competences/qualifications.

The above Act (2004) also specifies the tasks of public employment services (PES) in the field of vocational guidance.

The new Act (2014) introduced many new solutions which are to contribute to better adaptation of assistance offered by labour offices to the needs of customers of those offices, and thus to increase the effectiveness of the PES activity. It introduced, inter alia: important amendments concerning vocational guidance services. Two forms of assistance provided for the unemployed and job seekers by labour offices, namely: ”vocational guidance and vocational information” service and ”assistance in active job search” service have been integrated into one service called ”vocational guidance”. This made it possible to better use the personnel potential of labour offices and to approach solving customer issues in a more flexible manner.

The Minister of National Education is responsible for the development of vocational guidance mainly for children and young people but also for adults continuing their education.

The need to implement classes in the field of vocational counselling and classes conducted as part of psychological and pedagogical assistance (including providing students with support in the choice of profession and education) is specified in the Act of 14 December 2016 Education Law.

SERVICES AND PRACTICE

In the labour sector basic vocational guidance services are provided by local labour offices (LLO), acting within the PES. Since 2014, vocational guidance has been made more widely available , as some vocational counsellors currently perform the tasks associated with current, comprehensive care of the client, by acting as client advisors. Different groups of LLO staff may act as client advisors. A decision on entrusting the function of the client advisor lies within the competence of the local labour office management.

Within the structure of the public employment services, there are also information and career planning centres (ICPC) being specialised organisational units of the Regional Labour Offices, providing services on career planning. The services provided by ICPCs may be used by both the unemployed and job seekers registered with local labour offices, as well as all interested persons over 18 and having no status of the unemployed or job seekers. ICPCs offer assistance by vocational counsellors and consultation with a psychologist, they also organise information projects and workshop activities aimed at vocational activation.

Assistance offered by local labour offices and ICPCs takes various forms. First of all, it is individual guidance on the career development, associated with determining professional interests and talents, in some cases with the use of psychological measurement tools. As part of various forms of group guidance, vocational counsellors from PES offer: group vocational information, labour market information, assistance in writing application documents, information about other assistance institutions and on job service in Poland and abroad.

For the implementation of vocational guidance and information for children and young learners, the Ministry of National Education is responsible. The Ministry shall be responsible for legislative activities, inter alia, in matters related to the organisation of psycho-pedagogical assistance and vocational guidance. The main task of the Ministry in the field of vocational guidance is to provide children and young learners with access to professional assistance allowing to make rational educational and vocational decisions. These tasks are carried out by the Ministry also through non-legislative activities, such as the creation of tools and methodological materials to be use in the planning process of the educational and career path of students. Vocational guidance in the education sector is implemented by the following entities:

  • schools and educational institutions: career guidance classes and classes related to the choice of the field of education and profession are conducted. The tasks of vocational counsellors and teachers pursuing their tasks include, inter alia, systematic diagnosis of students’ demand for educational and vocational information needs and assistance in planning of education and career; collecting, updating and sharing educational and vocational information relevant to the entire level of education; providing individual consultations to students and parents; conducting activities that prepare students to choosing further education path as well as planning education and career.
  • psycho-pedagogical counselling centres: these centres are responsible for providing psycho-pedagogical assistance to students, as well as to their parents and teachers, including conducting career guidance classes.

The Ministry of National Defence shall supervise the implementation of reconversion assistance within the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland. The essence of the staff reconversion within the armed forces is to prepare soldiers to be made or already redundant from professional military service for taking up employment or starting up business on their own. The staff reconversion system functions based on the specialised institutions called Vocational Activation Centres, which are based in eight cities. Their activity is coordinated by the Central Vocational Activation Centre based in Warsaw.

The essential objectives of the reconversion assistance system are:

  • providing assistance to all soldiers leaving the army,
  • helping particularly affected families of soldiers,
  • creating the conditions for the use of vocational guidance and conscious shaping of professional career by soldiers as early as during military service (building own career path).

Vocational guidance in universities is implemented by the Academic Career Offices (ACO). The Constitution of the Republic of Poland provides universities with the autonomy and the principles of their operation are laid down by the Act of 27 July 2005 Law on higher education. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education, inter alia, confers the rights to provide degree programmes and deals with the issues of the compliance of the university authorities’ activity with the legislation and the statutes. ACOs are units acting for vocational activation of university students and graduates and are managed by a university or student organisation whose tasks include in particular:

  • providing university students and graduates with information about the labour market and possibilities of raising professional qualifications,
  • collecting, classifying and sharing job offers, internships and training,
  • keeping a database of university students and graduates interested in finding job.

Most Offices act as autonomous units of universities, established by decision of the university Senate and subordinate to its authorities. ACOs are not commercial institutions, they are financed mainly from university funds.

In 2017, individual guidance within the public employment services was used by 277 865 persons in total, of which 142 203 persons were women, i.e. 51,2%. As part of group guidance, 10 587 groups were organised in which group guidance was provided to 77 444 persons, including 46 964, women, i.e. 60,6%. As part of assistance in a form of vocational information for individuals, 382 177 visits were recorded, including 195 292 visits of women, i.e. 51,1%. 16 022 group information meetings were organised, attended by 155 642 persons, including 83 707 women, i.e. 53,8%.

All the necessary information about schools, educational establishments, teachers and students as well as about teachers-vocational counsellors is collected by means of an electronic database system. i.e. Educational Information System (EIS). The objective of the EIS is to acquire the data needed to pursue the educational policy of the state, improve the quality and propagate education as well as to enhance the funding of educational tasks. The data are collected two times a year: on 31 March and 30 September.

TRAINING

Issues concerning the level of education and professional experience of people employed in public employment services are regulated by the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers of 18 March 2009 on the remuneration of local government officials. The professional requirements related to the education and vocational skills as well as to number of years in employment must be fulfilled. In the case of the post of vocational counsellor these requirements are as follows – higher education and one year in employment in the area of vocational counselling – and in the case of the post of trainee vocational counsellor the requirements are – higher education and no experience in vocational counselling or secondary education and one year in employment in the area of vocational counselling.

The tasks of the education system with regard to educational and vocational counselling are performed by teachers-career counsellors and teachers appointed by the headmaster of school or institution. Qualifications of teachers-vocational counsellors are defined in the Ordinance of the Minister of National Education of 1 August 2017 on the specific qualifications required of teachers. Qualified for the position of a teacher-guidance counsellor in primary schools, secondary schools and psychological and pedagogical counselling centres is a person who graduated in the field of career counselling and has pedagogical qualifications or completed a master's degree in any field and completed postgraduate studies in the field of vocational counselling and has pedagogical qualifications. Qualified for taking up the position of a teacher-guidance counsellor in primary schools is also a person who has completed first-cycle studies in the field of vocational counselling and has pedagogical qualifications or graduated from the first-degree studies in any field (specialisation) and competed post-graduate studies in the field of vocational counselling and has pedagogical qualifications.

Every higher education institution which educates vocational counsellors has its own curriculum approved by the Minister of Science and Higher Education.

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Act on the promotion of employment (2014) stipulates that the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy performs the labour market tasks through, among others, labour market research and analyses and dissemination of their results, including annual analysis of the functioning of labour offices to improve the effectiveness of their operation. The tasks of regional government in the field of labour market policy include labour market research and analyses, including monitoring of professions and the analysis of demand for labour to increase the effectiveness of implemented actions for employment growth and promotion.

Currently the Educational Research Institute conducts a study aiming at providing an up-to-date view of educational and vocational counselling in Poland in order to identify the areas which need to be supported by education authorities.

ETHICS

The issues relating to ethical standards in vocational guidance are regulated in the above Act on the promotion of employment (2014). Other documents on ethics in career guidance and counselling are recommendations and do not constitute a binding law, e.g. the Ethical Standards adopted by the General Assembly of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG).

Last update by ©Euroguidance Poland (March 2018)