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Is career guidance for the individual or for the market? Implications of EU policy for career guidance

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This paper explores the essential understanding and underlying perspectives of career implicit in EU career guidance policy in the twenty-first century, as well as the possible implications of these for the future mission of guidance. Career theories, models and concepts that serve career guidance are shaped on the twentieth-century industrial division of labour and now face a crisis due to the influence of globalization on working life. The transition to a knowledge-based society also challenges the traditional view of career: vocational and educational paths are no longer linear, predictable or stable. The analyses of EU policy documents and ethical declarations discussed here indicate that meanings of career are under reconstruction and that these documents fail to clarify the underlying meanings or perspectives on career contained therein. The essential meaning of career, as communicated through characterizations and dominating underlying perspectives in EU policy, puts greater emphasis on career guidance as being conducted on behalf of society, rather than the individual. Ethical tensions within the career guidance profession appear to have increased, and the profession is also challenged in its professionalization by contradictions and broadened areas, activities and functions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Jönköping University, Sweden

Publication date: 2014-05-04

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