Educación, Psicología & Ciencia

Vocational Counseling Program

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In contemporary society, workers are to be lifelong learners, be prepared to different changes and adapt to different circumstances and environments. Furthermore, in times of social change and uncertainly economy, a lot of people show difficulties and hopeless about their futures.

In social services, we are flooded with people who have lost their jobs, and also youngsters that “don´t know what to do” (they are not enrolled in any course, neither working). We are used to see more mental health troubles due to the economical situation and career issues. As unemployment goes up, the number of people seeking for support and psychological counseling increases.

In my case, my report shows more than 400 clients seeking for help since last year (counting individuals or families).  Due to this situation, we started to develop a “Vocational Counseling Program”, adapted to our social and economical situation and specific needs of the labor market, providing assistance to different high schools (17-20 years olds) and other organizations.

Before develop the content of this program, an intense review of literature was done. We also assessed the needs of the market, perception of youngsters about unemployment, job opportunities and knowledge related with career choice and/or planning. During the first 4 months (July- November, 2014), a few modifications were included related with programming, tasks and techniques. We started to implement the program in November (2014).

Characteristics: 12 months length; different individual sessions and also meetings with family of youngsters.

Target: 220 people (17-35 years old); High Schools, Organizations and Public Services.

Objectives: all sessions were subdivided by 6 different purposes.

  1. Self-discovering
  2. Resource Analysis
  3. Goal setting
  4. Path definition
  5. Support (during the process)
  6. Decision making

Each objective includes different tasks with a pre established timing and short-term goals.

Results: After 1 year of work, we have gathered information about each participant (interview, surveys, email, phone…). The results show that around a 58% of the participants improved their employability (they are employed now, entrepreneurs, trainees, scholars…), around a 76% improved their academic achievement (or they are enrolled in some career, studies or training courses) and around a 15% continues in the same situation.

I consider relevant to mention that we included youngsters with social problems; those who were not supported by their families (financial problems, abandon etc.) or those who have comorbid circumstances (as drug abuse) showed much more difficulties to get stuck during the sessions, being challenging to engage them in all activities. (I am trying to improve the adherence of youngsters with problems into sessions).

Almost all participants filled a «satisfaction survey«. The results showed that  activities related with self-discoverning, counseling, educational guidance and family meetings were the most important and productive for them. So it appears that we should focus more in these kind of activities which they perceive as relevant.

The results of this small study will be used to improve our practice with youth.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice week 🙂


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Autor: Lorena Álvarez

Psicóloga, activista, trotamundos y una apasionada por la ciencia y las letras.

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