The Department of Education, Ireland, has just published a Consultation Paper on a national framework for lifelong guidance provision. It provides a brief overview of existing career guidance provision, a rationale for a national lifelong system, a vision for a high functioning system, some guiding principles, and four strategic pillars.
It offers readers the possibility to provide feedback through an online questionnaire and/or by email before 15th February.
The starting point of the National Policy Group on Lifelong Guidance is that guidance must provide a combination of information, advice and counselling services that can enable learners and potential learners to make better choices about their learning pathways and career and life aspirations. "We envisage that this can only be achieved through an aspiration for a comprehensive guidance and information system aimed at and supporting all learners throughout their lifetime". In an Irish context and in light of the findings of a national review of career guidance provision in 2019, such a starting point is very apt. Since the 1990s, there has been little interest and little investment in developing a comprehensive and integrated careers information system in Ireland by the relevant ministries, without which any national framework is hollow, the daily work of career practitioners is limited, and users' experiences and expectations are frustrated.
The use of the terms ' achievement through aspiration' suggests a very low ambition as a starting point, because an aspiration is no one's responsibility and involves no expenditure. This is subsequently reflected in the strategic objectives, pillars, and guiding principles. Let's hope that citizen and practitioner feedback on the Consultation Paper will demand higher ambition and some ministry/agency to take responsibility and invest in the development of a comprehensive and integrated careers information system!