Vocational Guidance: what it is and what it is for
Vocational guidance has recently positioned itself as one of the necessary tools to ensure a successful professional life. In the above have participated the knowledge of different disciplines, such as psychology, pedagogy, business administration, among others. At present, vocational guidance is even one of the areas most worked with young people in pre-university age.
Next we will see what vocational guidance is and what its main objectives and tools are.
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What is vocational guidance?
The word vocation means "related to vocation". In turn, "vocation" means special inclination or inspiration to adopt a way of life . The latter based on a conviction and important identification towards what is adopted.
On the other hand, the term "orientation" refers to the action of placing something in a certain position. In this context, guidance is also the act of informing someone about an issue, so that such information serves as a guide or guide to take action .
The above has been specifically transferred to the choice of a professional career, since in large part, this is what marks a long-term life trajectory, at least in the industrialized countries.
Thus, vocational guidance can be understood as a process that helps the choice of profession (Vidal and Fernández, 2009). It deals with the activity in charge of covering the needs that prepare said election, and that goes from favoring the knowledge of one's own interests to the evaluation of the real possibilities of access to its exercise, its evaluation and its follow-up.
It is also a set of knowledge and practices that seek to ensure that young adults are trained in professional activities that correspond to their personal interest, and at the same time, ensure efficient performance in their future work environments.
This process is not only aimed at incorporating a young adult into the professional workforce and guiding it during their exercise, but also requires recognize the interest of the person and facilitate their learning about the work environment .
We have seen that vocational guidance is not a process solely centered on the individual. Because vocational guidance is strongly focused on favoring and broadening work and professional opportunities, this orientation should also know the real opportunities for access to the labor market , its relationship with the different study programs and the skills or competences that are necessary to access them.
So we can speak of two specific dimensions and necessary for the exercise of vocational guidance: one focused on knowing the individual, and the other focused on knowing the characteristics of the environment where their professional development is expected to occur.
1. Explore the interests of the person
In the context of vocational guidance it is common for the interests of the person they are explored from the application of psychometric tests , and sometimes, from in-depth interviews. The first allow evaluating from the different personality profiles, attitudes or performance, to specific preferences.
For the most part, these tests determine a range of possibilities with which it is possible to consider, for example, If the person has the necessary skills to perform the work of interest , or if, on the contrary, the profession of their interest does not correspond with their abilities or with their real possibilities of success. Thus, there are usually a series of options that are arranged from highest to lowest, and from which the person can make certain decisions. This is how these tools seek precisely to guide the decision of the person.
Then, the vocational guidance consists of providing all the information that allows the individual to recognize their own interests, abilities and areas of opportunity, or in some cases, also facilitate the recognition of the competencies that need to be strengthened in order to insert themselves in a specific labor context. or long term.
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2. Analyze the characteristics of the context
On the other hand, it may happen that the interests of the person correspond to their abilities or available skills to carry out the professional activity of interest. But, not necessarily the opportunities of access to this activity correspond to interests or skills .
In this sense, part of the vocational orientation consists of evaluating precisely the real opportunities of access and making them see the interested person, so that she herself is the one who proposes the alternatives that she considers pertinent.
The information and tools that help meet this need range from sociodemographic studies that show the number of professionals exercising a specific activity, to labor and market studies where it is possible to see which professions are more or less competitive, or with greater or lesser possibility of economic remuneration, or what is the economic cost of studying certain professions, among other characteristics.
- Vidal, M. and Fernández, B. (2009). Vocational orientation. Higher Secondary Education (23) 2: 1-11.