Annex D. Dedicated public career guidance agencies for adults

With Educational Counselling (Bildungsberatung Österreich), the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research ensures the expansion and further development of provider-neutral and fee-free educational counselling for adults in all federal states. While the service is free for all adults, a particular focus is on disadvantaged, low-skilled, elderly, persons with an immigration background as well as people out of labour force. The service includes a telephone service (“Alphatelefon”) for counselling on literacy and online counselling per email or chat. Most information is available in a range of languages.

The Cité des métiers is a one-stop guidance service established in 2018 in Brussels with the objective of improving coordination between training, employment and education actors, and to offer more personalised advice. Their focus is on five priority themes: training, employment, mobility, entrepreneurship and guidance. It is a bilingual space (French / Flemish) in the centre of Brussels. It aims to provide lifelong guidance to job seekers, and more generally, to any citizen of Brussels: young people of school age, at school or dropping out, students, adults with or without a job as well as those with specific needs.

The National Careers Service in the United Kingdom provides information, advice and guidance across England to help individuals make decisions on learning, training and work. The service offers confidential and impartial advice and is supported by qualified careers advisers. The programme is open to all persons above 13 years old. Adults 19 years and over (or age 18 and out of work or on benefits) can access the service via all three delivery channels: a local face-to-face service, telephone helpline and a website. Young people aged 13 to 18 can access ongoing in-depth information, advice and guidance from the service via telephone-based advisers, or they can use web chat or the National Careers Service website. Between April 2016 and March 2017 the National Careers Service had nearly 474 000 customers. The National Contact Centre carried out 211 000 activities (these include phone calls, web chat and emails) to end March 2017 for adults, young people and intermediaries. The website averages 1.6 million visits a month. The National Careers Service is managed by the Education Skills Funding Agency.

The Conseil en Evaluation Professionnel (CEP) offers free and personalised advice to anyone wishing to receive information, advice and/or career guidance. The CEP process starts with a one-to-one interview with the beneficiary to analyse his/her skills and professional experience and is then followed by career counselling, which takes into account results from skills assessment exercises. Based on this, the adviser and the beneficiary develop a professional plan, which includes recommended training. The beneficiary will continue to receive support from the CEP throughout the development and implementation of this personalised plan. The CEP is managed by four operators: Pôle emploi (PES), Association pour l’emploi des cadres (Association for the employment of managers), Cap emploi (for persons with disabilities) and Missions locales (for youths).

The EOPPEP is the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance, an all-encompassing statutory body responsible for providing career guidance to all. The mission of EOPPEP is geared towards linking VET with labour market needs, upgrading people’s occupational qualifications, reinforcing their employment perspectives and strengthening social cohesion. EOPPEP works under the aegis of the Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. Special attention is given to workers at risk, workers who are unpaid for over 6 months, suspended workers and those who are employed in sectors of the economy in recession. Services are entirely publicly funded.

The National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE) co-ordinates the development of the Adult Educational Guidance Initiative (AEGI) on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills (DES). The AEGI is a DES funded initiative, which provides free educational guidance services for all adults. Nation-wide, there are 40 adult educational guidance services. They offer impartial adult education information and group guidance aiming at helping people to make informed educational, career and life choices. Only people within the DES target groups are eligible for one-to-one guidance meetings – all other adults receive group guidance.

The Japanese Government established Career Development Support Centers in 2020, allowing for online or in person career counselling sessions. Workers can register online or by phone for these sessions, which are provided by career guidance counsellors selected through a call for tender. Counsellors offer face-to-face counselling, but workers can also discuss with counsellors via ZOOM. Guidance sessions are mostly targeted at certain groups (e.g. young workers, older workers, and workers in SMEs) but anyone has the right to register. With the aim to promote the development of human resources and the retention of employees in the workplace, the Career Development Support Centers assist workers to use job cards for employees and help companies introducing job cards and the self-career dock system. Today there are 37 Career Development Support Centers across the country. Although this is a government programme, it is outsourced to private companies and is implemented by career consultants in the private sector (OECD, 2021[1]).

The government introduced the Employment Success Package Program (ESPP) scheme in 2009 to foster employment of low-income disadvantaged groups, such as recipients of the Basic Livelihood Security Program (BLSP), as well as near poverty groups. It is an employment support service providing benefits to disadvantaged jobseekers not entitled to the employment insurance, participating in ALMPs. ESPP offers individualised services for job seekers, providing tailored services for up to one year by allocating a designated counsellor. Funding coming from general taxation and thus being dependent on economic fluctuation shall be improved in 2021 by implementing the Act on the Employment Promotion and Livelihood Support for Jobseekers and legalizing the implementation of National Employment Support Scheme from January 2021.

The House of Guidance (Maison de l’Orientation) in Luxembourg provides a one-stop shop for education and labour market orientation. Five information services and two associations are brought together in the same building to improve efficiency and coordination. Specialists and experts are also present in the building to first help citizens identify their interests, skills and competencies, and then use the information collected to provide them with career and academic advice. The Centre also helps citizens find professional training in line with their profile and support them in their career development process. Previously targeted at a younger age group, there has been a greater focus on adult learners since 2017. The mission for the Centre is to provide assistance and guidance to all citizens, regardless of their age, who are looking for advice on developing their academic or professional life.

Regional guidance centres – in Slovenia, called “centres ISIO” – are present as independent units in 17 folk high schools (across the whole country). The centres focus on local needs of various target groups of adults. The main goal is to provide free high quality information and guidance for all adults in the regional/local environment. Guidance support is offered in all phases of the learning process: before making the decision for learning, in the process of education and learning and follow-up. The second goal is to connect different partners in the “regional guidance network“. The programme is operated by the Slovenian Centre for Adult Education, and financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. In 2017, there were 13 399 adults in individual sessions and 4 200 adults in 357 group sessions.

The Learning Shop (Leerwinkel) in West Flanders Belgium is an independent one-stop shop for advice on educational options and financial support. Leerwinkel is aimed at all adults (18+) who want information and/ or guidance when choosing an education or training programme in (West) Flanders. Leerwinkel offers information about training courses but also the possibility of individual guidance or group supervision when determining the study choice, and tackling possible constraints (financial, mobility, language, etc.). The project focuses specifically on adults with low education levels, immigrants and ex-convicts. Individual guidance sessions are available based on the needs and interests of the client (ranging from information provision, information sessions to intensive counselling). Many participants come through referrals from public employment offices and immigration agencies with whom Leerwinkel has strong partnerships. The value-added of the programme is that it provides independent and neutral advice, which is tailored to the clients’ needs and not affiliated to a particular educational institution (OECD, 2019[2]).

Established in 2003, the Carrefours Emploi-Formation-Orientation (CEFOs) in Wallonia Belgium are public career guidance advice centres that are free of charge and accessible to all without appointment. The objective of the Carrefours Emploi-Formation-Orientation is to provide guidance and assistance to its visitors with regards to job prospects and orientation. Specialists and experts are present to provide career advice and to facilitate the client’s job search process. The Carrefours Emploi-Formation-Orientation also organises information sessions on different occupations, and provides information about labour market needs and training requirements and opportunities. There are currently 12 CEFOs in Wallonia. The Carrefours Emploi Formation Orientation operate under the services of the Public Service of Employment and professional training (Forem) and its partners: AVIQ, EPS, IFAPME, Interfédération des CISP, MIRE.


[1] OECD (2021), Creating Responsive Adult Learning Opportunities in Japan, Getting Skills Right, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[2] OECD (2019), Getting Skills Right: Future-Ready Adult Learning Systems, Getting Skills Right, OECD Publishing, Paris,

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