Career Guidance and Social Inclusion: A Challenge for Europe
This paper discusses the way career guidance is conceived across Europe as a policy instrument that can facilitate social inclusion. It locates current articulations of career guidance within the broader social-market aspirations of the European Union, providing an account of several reviews and analyses of the field that have been carried out at both member state and regional levels. The paper examines how the prevailing model of lifelong career guidance in Europe ties into strongly embedded notions of social welfare that, while increasingly challenged by neo-liberal imperatives, nevertheless continue to strive to ensure solidarity towards all citizens, especially those most at risk of social exclusion. Within such an articulation, career guidance in Europe is keen not only to facilitate autonomy and self-sufficiency by equipping citizens with the life skills needed to manage educational and occupational pathways, but also to provide the support required throughout life, when and where it is needed. However, while much has been done in Europe to cater for the career guidance needs of vulnerable groups, it is clear that several challenges remain.