OVERVIEW

Key elements of career guidance system in Serbia are:

  • The legislative framework of the system of career guidance and counselling was established in 2010 by the Strategy for Career Guidance and Counselling in the Republic of Serbia and the corresponding four-year Action plan.
  • On the national level, career guidance services are provided by different institutions and organizations in the sectors of education, employment and youth.
  • The National Employment Service (NES) provides career guidance services to individuals through its network of 34 offices across the country. Additionally, 13 Centres for information and professional guidance (CIPS) have been established in major cities. Furthermore, NES has established Centres for professional rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities. Counsellors working in the National Employment Service also provide services related to professional orientation to school-aged children.
  • In schools, career guidance is provided by teachers, psychologists and pedagogues. The changes of educational laws in 2013 and 2017 emphasize the importance of career guidance in the educational sector. This is especially relevant for secondary schools where career guidance programme and career guidance teams are recognized as mechanisms for supporting activities of development of career management skills of pupils.
  • At the university level, career guidance is provided through university and faculty career development centres. Almost all universities have career centres which organize career workshops, provide counselling and organize internships.
  • Career guidance is also provided in local Youth offices, supported by several projects. It focuses on providing career-related information to youth as well as peer-guidance.
  • Several online portals and tools have been developed in recent years related to choosing careers, job-hunting skills, career management skills, career descriptions etc.

POLICY

Educational policies

 The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy are the relevant national authorities responsible for the guidance system in Serbia. The Education Development Strategy (2012), recognizes that career guidance in education should be improved, and states that until 2020 a system of career guidance and counselling should be developed and implemented at all educational levels, including adult education. This Strategy was followed by a set of changes of educational laws in 2013 that specified the role of career guidance in education.

The changes of the Law on the Foundation of Education System from 2013 (and the following amendment in 2017) introduced a provision that special attention should be given to career guidance and education of teachers, students and adults. This was followed by changes of the Law on Primary Education (2013), the Law on Secondary Education (2013) and the Law on Adult Education (2013) in order to implement career guidance programme in schools.

The latest Law on dual education (2017) also recognizes the importance of career management skills and student employability, as well as the role of schools’ teams in career guidance of students.

The Law on Adult Education (2013) recognizes the importance of guidance as well. Furthermore, the bylaw from 2015 which defines the conditions that publicly recognized providers of adult education must fulfil set the basis for the establishment of the working group for the quality of guidance services.

Employment policies

The Labour Law (2017) prescribes the rights to education, professional training and development, giving career guidance an important role in its implementation. The Law on Employment and Insurance in Case of Unemployment (2017) specifies the role and the activities of professional orientation and counselling in choosing profession through employment policy, measures of active employment policy, as well as concrete services provided to clients. The National Employment Strategy (2011-2020) recognizes the importance of career guidance, especially in relation to reducing the mismatch between the skills supply and demand in the labor market. It is complemented by annual Action plans which define the aims and priorities of the employment policies.

Youth policies

A new Youth Strategy was enacted in 2015, for the period of 2015-2025. It includes one specific aim which relates to the development of a functioning and sustainable system of career guidance and counselling. The Law on Youth (2011) emphasizes the importance of career guidance for young people and defines aims and activities.

 

SERVICES AND PRACTICE  

Guidance services in Serbia are provided by different institutions and they are jointly organized by the three mentioned sectors. In the educational sector, schools implement guidance activities as a part of teaching curricula or as extra-curricular activities. Career guidance in schools is provided by teachers, school pedagogues and psychologists.

The activities on a primary school level are mainly focused on professional orientation and helping pupils in final years of primary school to make choices regarding the next level of education. The changes of a set of educational laws in 2013 include provisions related to career guidance, school teams for professional orientation. One of the biggest promoters of the sustainable system of professional orientation in primary education was the implementation of the project “Professional Orientation in Serbia” by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. National Employment Service is also involved in the implementation of the activities on this project.

In secondary schools, there have been several smaller initiatives to provide school staff with skills, tools and methods to implement career guidance activities in their work, organize school teams for guidance and develop annual plans. These initiatives include the development of a guidebook for secondary school teachers “Career guidance and counselling”, a joint publication of the Euroguidance centre and Belgrade Open School. This publication was followed by a series of Euroguidance centres’ accredited seminars, as well as an online course with the aim to provide basic training in career guidance for secondary school teachers. Furthermore, Belgrade Open School established annual Career Guidance Teams’ fair which promotes the improvement of work of schools’ team for career guidance and Euroguidance centre Serbia established National Career Guidance Awards with the aim to promote good guidance practices.

University career centres provide career information and organize educational activities related to career management such as workshops, lectures and training courses to university students. Many centres provide individual guidance and counselling both on-premises and online. The centres have a very active cooperation with the business community and organize internship programmes and they also provide information on educational mobility opportunities. It should be noted that apart from the career centres at the university level, there is a number of career centres at the faculties which are members of these universities.

Key stakeholders for the provision of career guidance services in employment sector are the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy and the National Employment Service. The services provided by NES can be used not only by unemployed people but also by primary and secondary school students, university students and those in search of employment. An example of the activities of NES for this age group is the “Guide for Primary School Pupils” (vodiczaosnovce.nsz.gov.rs) through which pupils can learn about careers to help them in transitioning to the next educational level.

Beside this, in the past few years, a several additional online services have been developed that are aimed at provision of self-assessment tools, career and educational information in guidance, and online counselling such as obrazovanje.rs non-commercial database of all educational opportunities in the Republic of Serbia and portal “BOŠ Karijera” karijera.bos.rs that provides both career information and counselling services to students and youth.

The key role in providing career guidance to youth at the local level is given to the Local Youth Offices. In 2013 and 2014 local youth offices were provided with training to establish Career Info Corners (CIC), a specific form of services to provide career information for youth.

TRAINING

All counsellors working in the National Employment Service have qualifications in psychology and counselling. However, the qualifications of practitioners working in other sectors vary substantially. For example, in primary schools, teachers and pedagogues/psychologists underwent additional training in professional orientation. Additionally, many teachers, psychologist and pedagogues from secondary education underwent seminars on career guidance developed by Euroguidance centre, Belgrade Open School, GIZ, and many others. There have been 10 accredited programmes for continuous professional development. The draft of the Framework of quality standards for career guidance and counselling services, which has just been developed, defines general and specific competencies of career guidance practitioners. Further development of new CPD programs is expected once the Standards are adopted.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

One of the latest initiatives in the area of career guidance was the development of the National Framework for standards of quality of career guidance services initiated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and coordinated by the Institute for Improvement of Educational System. Working group for development of the Standards finished their work in October 2017 and the Draft of the document was published. The adoption of this document is expected soon.

There are several studies on the guidance system generally and provision of services in specific sectors. One of them, “Feasibility study regarding the founding of the national resource centre for career guidance and counselling in Serbia and further development of career guidance and counselling system in Serbia” was conducted in 2014 as a part of the project funded by the European Delegation to the Republic of Serbia. There have been several other research studies conducted mostly in the NGO and academic sectors. One example of such a study was “Career Guidance in Secondary Schools – Current State and Further Steps” by Belgrade Open School. Belgrade Open School also conducted a study in 2016 in secondary schools which aimed to investigate types of activities represented in school career guidance programme.

ETHICS

Abovementioned Career Guidance Standards tackle the ethical issue by defining guidance practitioners’ competencies which include ethical behavior of counsellor and respecting clients’ privacy. Organisational Standards as a part of this document define set of principles connected with ethics such as preservation of clients’ personal data, protection of client's interests, etc.

Last update by Euroguidance Serbia (June 2018)