OVERVIEW

In Slovakia, the first career guidance and counselling facilities were established in the late 1920’s. Services of this kind were available especially for young people during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. The current system of guidance and counselling services started to develop in 1957 and it has been under permanent development since then.

Continuous development in career guidance has led to a shift from static and psychometric approaches in vocational counselling to dynamic educational and integrated lifelong career guidance and counselling services. Career guidance in Slovakia is covered mainly by the educational sector and the employment services. Services organised under the regional governments or ministries are available to various groups of citizens and are free of charge. Although this area is still largely administered by the state, portfolio of services offered by the private sector and NGOs is steadily growing.

POLICY

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic is the central body of the state administration responsible also for the guidance-related legislation in the areas of education, training and youth.

The State Vocational Education Institute is a contributory organisation under the Ministry of Education and is responsible for methodological management of VET (including vocational guidance) provision in Slovakia. For more information visit siov.sk

Provision of career guidance and counselling services for adults falls under the competence of the public employment services. Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family is the public body responsible for the administration of state-provided social and employment services. It oversees and coordinates the work of the 46 local PES offices.

Although there is no cross-sectoral coordinating public body in place at national level at the moment (2018), several bottom-up initiatives in the form of professional organisations operate in multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral manner (e.g. Association for Career Guidance and Career Development).

SERVICES AND PRACTICE

Career guidance for children and youth

Career education, career guidance and counselling for pupils in primary and secondary schools are  provided by school counsellors (position of school counsellors is required for each primary and secondary school), school psychologists (not common in all schools), and other special and social educators.

School guidance personnel cooperate closely with the Centres for educational and psychological counselling and prevention which, among other competences, help pupils to cope with transitions and guide them to a better self-awareness and responsible decision-making with regard to their educational and career path through psychological examination and diagnostics. Currently, 82 district centres are operating throughout the country (list of all contact points can be found on the digital platform Komposyt.sk). Counselling services for pupils and students with special educational needs are provided by the Centres for special educational counselling.

Career guidance in higher education

Guidance and counselling services in higher education institutions (HEI) are required by the law, however, the scope and the structure of such services depend solely on the individual HEI. Some HEI in Slovakia established in-house specialized career centres.

Career guidance for adults

Public employment services represented by the Central Office and 46 regional offices of labour, social affairs and family (contact list available at www.upsvar.sk) are the key providers of career guidance services for both employed and unemployed adults. Besides career information and guidance for jobseekers, offices of labour, social affairs and family provide counselling services for disadvantaged groups (long-term unemployed, young people under 25, jobseekers with disabilities, etc.).

Moreover, the Central Office administrates a digital platform istp.sk which contains information on all existing vacancies, available courses in the Slovak labour market, useful tools on career decision-making and a catalogue of occupations.

TRAINING

Career guidance in Slovakia is provided mainly as part of more complex set of educational, psychological, counselling, and social services. Therefore, those who can be referred to as guidance practitioners have various qualifications ranging from psychological, pedagogical, adult education, social sciences, and usually hold multiple positions simultaneously (e.g. teachers, psychologists, social workers, etc.).

Tertiary education is required for guidance practitioners in the educational sector with no further specification on the required field of study. Nevertheless, career guidance practitioners are preferred to have background in human or social sciences (psychology, sociology, HR management, teaching, adult education). Professional career counsellors in the public employment services (dealing mostly with disadvantaged job seekers) are required to hold a Master’s degree, but no other requirements (e.g. field of study) are specified.

Currently, there is only one accredited academic programme for career guidance practitioners offered by HEI - Psychological and Career Counselling for Individuals with Disabilities (Bachelor level) at the Faculty of Education (Comenius University in Bratislava). Moreover, multiple Slovak universities offer, as part of the more general academic programmes, optional courses on counselling and vocational psychology:

  • Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (Comenius University in Bratislava): Social and Work Psychology programme (Bachelor level)
  • Faculty of Arts (Comenius University in Bratislava): Psychology programme (Bachelor and Master level); Social and work psychology (Doctoral level)
  • Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Care (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra): Psychology programme (Bachelor level)
  • Faculty of Arts (University of Prešov): Psychology programme (Bachelor and Master level)

Courses on career guidance and counselling are also offered by private and professional organisations:

Further training and competence development of the guidance personnel is also provided within each sector/institution internally. Methodological support and training of guidance practitioners in schools and school facilities are provided mainly by the Research Institute for Child Psychology and Pathopsychology and by the Methodical and Pedagogical Centre.

Internal training system for guidance personnel has been developed and employed also within the public employment services.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

The Research Institute for Child Psychology and Pathopsychology is the only public research body that focuses on the psychological aspects of child and youth development. Key research areas are mental development of children, specifics of mental development of children from minority groups, and social development of children and youth. KomposyT portal, launched by the Research Institute in 2015, contains many resources (e.g. self-diagnostic tools for pupils, information for parents on occupational orientation and prevention) and guidelines for career guidance practitioners and educational professionals on different aspects of guidance provision in schools (e.g. inclusion, integration of pupils with special educational needs, etc.).

The Institute for Labour and Family Research is a public organisation operating under the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic that focuses on the sociological studies in the field of social and family policies, labour market and employment policies, industrial relations and working conditions and other related areas.

In addition, Euroguidance Centre in Slovakia issues a professional e-journal Career counselling in theory and practice which contains information on developments in career guidance research in Slovakia and Europe.

ETHICS

As career guidance is carried out by professionals with different qualifications, they are bound by ethical rules and codes related to their professions (e.g. Ethical Code of Psychologists, School Psychologists Code of Ethics, etc.).

Specific intra-organisational ethical norms can be often found in organisations providing career guidance, but their existence and compliance is in full responsibility of respective organisation and its administration.

Last update by ©Euroguidance Slovakia (March 2018)