Qualifizierung für die Gamesbranche
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|CONCLUSION || |
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|Aims and development of the MediaCoach project |
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| |As pointed out within the introductory remarks of this handbook, the MediaCoach partners are experienced counselling practitioners as well as institutional developers in their own national background. Furthermore, they already were acquainted to each other from transnational activities and discussions concentrating on media sector, its labour market and qualification needs.
Within their national as well as transnational work they had to face an additional, less discussed aspect of the changing, "post modern" conditions of the media sector. This aspect is mainly related to competence and self definition of counselling itself (on an institutional as well as an individual level). Regarding the "new biographical patterns" in evolving sectors like the media industry, the task of useful counselling becomes more and more complex and can not be reduced to one-off informations about professional profiles. In order to support or guide clients throughout their more and more flexible biographies, it is necessary to also support counsellors in their work with these new types of clients. Consequently, the starting point of the MediaCoach project was the mutual aim
- to adapt counselling approaches to new tasks and questions from new types of clients
- to improve counselling services by integrating innovative elements and instruments
| | The partners defined the following central questions towards the future of counselling: How can counselling keep pace with the fast-changing conditions of the new media sector? How can it offer orientation within the growing "information overload"? How can counselling support individuals in their new types of "flexible", "atypical" working biographies? Which are the key competences, tasks and roles of modern counselling? Which will be the future criteria for "successful" counselling? Are there new approaches, methods and instruments to improve counselling services and to empower the counsellors? The special conditions and problems of the media sector - as a typical "modern industry" were used as an underlying example of the demands towards future-orientated counselling - showing all characteristics of post-industrial biographies and working conditions.
To find out the central requirements for counselling from the national experts, the partners concentrated on the following key questions:
- Special structures of the media sector / special requirements of counselling
- Framework conditions of counselling (institutional, societal, political background, additional influences on counselling services)
- Roles, functions and strategic targets of counselling
The detailed results of the national reports are included in this handbook. The following survey summarizes the main results and recommendations basing on the transnational comparisons.
Independent of the different national approaches or current strategies, there is an obvious common ground: Vocational and career counselling (be it public or private) has gained a central role within policy strategies for improving employment or placement rates. Sylvie Chiousse and Patrick Werquin express these high expectations in their CEDEFOP-study:
"It has been explicitly established that vocational advice and guidance can make active employment measures more effective, and that they are major factors in the struggle against unemployment and economic and social exclusion. Future trends on the labour market indicating greater flexibility and demand for an ever higher level of skills confirm the need to provide for counselling services throughout life, so that people can cope better with the transition between school and employment and with periods of unemployment. To avoid unemployment, thought should be given to new forms of career guidance during working life."
Each partner country started in the past or is starting at present to revise its system. One could say that all countries are similiar in the high attention they pay to the question of revising their systems and providing new services of counselling. At the same time, the conclusions and tendencies of national policies differ: Germany, based on a long tradition of monopolistic public responsibility for labour market regulation and counselling, is on the way to decentralisation and transfer of formerly public services to private agencies. Earlier than Germany, the Netherlands already went this way: most of the individual counselling services as well as placement activities are privatized by now. Italy and Poland, having only a short (Poland) or no tradition (Italy) in public vocational counselling are rather focussing on building up public knowledge and information about professions and industries, about counselling instruments and centralised labour market tools. One could say that the results show two contrasting approaches: Poland and the Netherlands. Whereas Poland since 1989 took over high public responsibility for guidance, put a lot of effort in training the counsellors and implemented best-case-models after international examples, the Dutch system started to reduce public services, privatize services for special target groups, problem fields and sectors and put all the strength in placement activities. Germany seems to be on a way comparable to the Dutch system, whereas Italy just started building up national vocational counselling strategies at all.
| ||I.1.Special structures of the media sector / special requirements of counselling || Table of Content |
| || || | Most of the expert interviews and conferences carried through by the mediaCoach partner institutions concentrated on the specific conditions of the media sector - under the premise that this sector already has generated and produced most of the clients' problems predicted for the "post-industrial" or "post-modern" development of "information society".
All expert interviews showed that there is a strong interest in the media sector. This has different reasons:
One of the most important roles of the media sector is that of a possible employment motor or target for future entrants within the information society. This is especially the case in regions with minor (or starting) media sectors (Poland and Italy, but also different regions of Germany and Netherlands). Here, counsellors rather want to know more about professional profiles and fundamental structures, in order to collect and deliver informations about upcoming professions and supply qualified vocational guidance for their clients. These counsellors are the ones who complain most intensely about the lack of transparency. The underlying motive here is the classical idea of vocational guidance or counselling: Collecting and distributing useful informations, one-off advise for orientation towards new sectors and providing clients with up-to-date database.
In some countries (esp. Germany and Netherlands, but also central regions in Poland and Italy), media industry already has reached the status of a relevant and steady part of economy and labour market - but with profiles and working conditions that considerably differ from traditional structures of work. Counsellors here usually rather complain about a structural and continuing intransparency, caused by a lack of contact and exchange of experience with industry experts. Their motive usually is the ambition to improve their own know-how and to build up improved counselling and supporting services as well as expert networks in case of special questions and problems. Moreover, most counsellors are looking for criteria to judge the quality and efficiency of training suppliers - suffering from the fact that they are left alone by the industry. It is almost impossible for them to give useful criteria on the basis of unclear professional profiles. The last aspect - which seems to be of growing importance - is the need to integrate placement and allocation aspects into the first phase of counselling. Without continuous contact to employers and their representatives, counsellors won't even be able to prepare their clients to do their own "job-hunting". Consequently, counsellors will be replaced by specialised "job-hunters" in more or less private services - like it already is the case according to the Dutch partner's report.
The last important aspect for counsellors having to explore the media sector is the sector's role as exemplary field for new working biographies. Counsellors who already are working with clients coming from the sector tend to think beyond categories of "job profiles" and want to comprehend the underlying patterns and individual challenges of new, "flexible" biographies (especially Germany and Netherland). But also counsellors who want to prepare or encourage their clients to start working in the media sector (especially Poland and Italy, but also Dutch and German regions with weaker media sectors), share the high interest in this approach: Their clients - either coming from school or from traditional labour markets - have to understand not only the formal structures and professional job profiles, but also the effects and conditions of "untypical work". As the high - and growing - rate of self-employed professionals one of the most transnational characteristics of the media sector, all partners and their counsellors have to get familiar with new patterns of working biographies - some call it "a different culture:
- Lack of security.
- Lack of fixed workplace.
- At least relatively skilled, very often highly so, unusually concerned with education and training, often wanting more, much more.
- Highly tolerant of continual innovation.
- Strong work ethic, self-starting and self-disciplined.
- Multi-interests (...)
- A strong sense of freedom of expression.
Little or no attachment to specific employers; indeed they may not have employers in any traditional sense.
- A blurring of the dividing line between work and private life, in part due to new means of communications.
- Though they often have a strong sense of co-operation with their fellow workers, they usually have or develop a distaste for structures and hierarchies.
- (...) A strong sense of individualism, more open to political and social pluralism than some other workers. (...)
In order to support and guide clients (professionals as well as newcomers) throughout these new patterns, counsellors ask for new methods of counselling in general and look for new, shared-experience-approaches between different counsellors.
The Dutch system was massively changed during the last years: The former employment agency was transformed into CWI (Centre for Work and Income), without administrative function concerning allowances and benefits. Central task of the CWI is registration, first information and transfer of unemployed as well as for vacancy providers and the central administration and update of vacancy database. In order to improve placement and "matching" activities, more and more services concerning placement, sectoral trainings and job-hunting are sourced out or transferred to private or public/private "intermediaries" or agencies. So, the Dutch system represents the strongest version of Guidance (within the world of work) as problem solving and transferring clients to special intermediaries. Here, counselling has the function of reintegration into the labour market and accordingly is not with "result-open". Some Dutch Counsellors consider this aspect as a weakness as long as there is no "warm transfer", i.e. no contact and exchange of experience between public counsellors from CWI (Centres for Work and Income) and the specialised agencies or intermediaries.
The German system, strongly based on the work of the Federal Employment Service (Bundesanstalt für Arbeit) still has the relevant influence of benefit administration and placement. This means that - as in the Netherlands - the public services not only see their core task in placement, but additionally have to define, distribute and control beneficiary payments. Thus, counselling activities always were directed to the needs of labour markets - this tendency currently is becoming even stronger.
Whereas Poland took over high public responsibility for guidance, put a lot of effort in studying and implementing best-case-models from European and worldwide examples, the Dutch system started to reduce public services, privatize services for special target groups, problem fields and sectors and put all the strength in placement activities.
Poland has a strong point in vocational counselling (including schools and Universities). Since the massive change in Polish society and its labour markets, there were considerable efforts and ambitions in defining professional profiles, providing up-to-date informations and in counselling clients about new labour market needs. Poland also built up efficient networks between national and regional employment offices, vocational information centers and guidance services in schools and universities. Poland used European partnerships for educating vocational counsellors - mainly in Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and France. Poland employs a highly qualified personnel of vocational counsellors, which makes it possible to offer broad information and counselling within employment agencies. Private vocational counselling in Poland hardly exists, however it is expected that it will develop soon. One could say that the responsibities taken by the polish labour administration are very high, up-to-date and base on all the approaches towards counselling of European partners. They include building up networks, integrating all station including educational services and put considerable efforts in development and making available of information material.
Poland and Netherlands have a standardized job profile of counsellors as well as university studies for counselling. In Germany, the situation of counselling is rather ambivalent. On the one hand, there is a "well-ordered" counsellors' training, thanks to Federal Employment Agency and its internal training of counsellors at the federal university college for the public administration. On the other hand, the term "professional counsellor" is not standardized or protected. Thus, there are no general and independent opportunities for the education of vocational counsellors. In order to close this gap, the German association for counselling (dvb) worked out qualification standards basing on the ethical standards of the International association for counselling and orientation (AIOSP/IVSBB). In addition to the specific training within the Federal Employment Agency, a multitude of opportunities for further counsellors' training are existing now. Universities include elements of counselling competences within studies of social pedagogics. Additionally, there is a growing number of post-graduate or modular training offered by private training providers; these are rarely orientated to classical counselling, but convey a rather general socio-educational counselling competence or (especially in recent years) concentrate on special target groups and counselling settings like coaching. These training services are usually have to financed by the participants.
Italy has the strongest approach towards generalists and the youngest tradition of public vocational counselling. Public institutions have a fundamental role (also because of their level of diffusion) especially in relation to young target users. There is no professional profile for counselling, and most existing counsellors come from psychology or paedagogigs - the reason for this is that until recent times, vocational counselling was considered to be the task of secondary schools. Italy is just starting to build up centralized structures of vocational and career counselling. This is pointed out by the report of the Italian partners (see report in the handbook): "It was ever considered that guidance had a more informative than a coaching character, mostly limited in arranging meetings with institutions or 'experts', on various professionals activities or on existing different courses of study, not inserting it within the guidance route, and paying no attention to subject's reasons and inclinations. Then, the fundamental contribution of the European Community gave to Italy the opportunity to undertake new initiatives to join European standards". In Italy, many orientation and career counselling activities have been developed in the last few years, in which both public and private bodies have been involved. The underlying concept is that Employment Offices implement active policies for employment and provide effective advising and counselling services for all
As results from the national reports, the partners collected the most important general recommendations COUNSELLING COUNSELLING SERVICES
- Widening the sectors of client-orientated vocational / career counselling services into directions of schools, universities
- Building up an approach to the client, according to which the client centred view and the client's autonomy in chosing and planning his/her career are recognised.
- Counselling is created as an continuum that begins with "Information delivering from experts" but also "Non directed self development"
- New counselling is "competency counselling" based on the individual biography
- Vocational decision making is not anymore only an rational but also an heuristic approach. That include that the counselling process is an open end approach.
- Counselling has to take into consideration the whole framework/ conditions of the human being into the counselling process
ORGANISATIONAL FRAMEWORK S OF COUNSELLING
- Intense contact to industry and employers to find out regional industry needs (regular networking activities between counsellors, combined with additional exchange networks with specialised counsellors / counselling and placement agencies)
- Counselling should be inter disciplinary´: Specialist of different professions are forced to collaborate in order to face the wide range of counselling demands.
- Vocational Counselling is Life long counselling under the condition of the life long learning process and the current social change
- We need an close relationships between counselling practice and scientific developments
- To some extent vocational counselling should offer specialised units for single sectors (e.g. Media sector).
- Sufficient technological assistance and equipment to provide clients, schools and universities
- Institutional backup for counsellors' work / regular exchange of strategies, expectations and experiences between institutional deciders and policy makers
- Better conditions and quality management for the development of NG (Non Governmental) Organisations in order to provide specific and professional services for labour market-based vocational guidance.
- There still does not exist a satisfactory financing model of vocational counselling that take into consideration the different actors and interests into the society and economy
- Regular update of counsellors' knowledge regarding external processes of economic and societal change within information society and globalisation.
- Continuous training and profiling for counsellors
- Revision and Development of self predisposition for changes to come by the counsellors.
- Integrating the problem of employment crisis, global drop of employment rates, current discussions and approaches towards the re-definition of "work" (beyond "income-orientated employment") into the counselling work.
- Definition of a common and coherent concept of orientation and setting of a nationally acknowledged system for orientation that gives homogeneous guidelines while at the same time saving an enough margin of autonomy of Regions.
- New working and company structures create new demands on counselling
- Improved and updated informations and information platforms about job profiles
- Orientation advisors should have an active role in surveying local training and professional needs as well as current training and job supply.
- New target groups like e.g. the freelancers and self-employed individuals are emerging - counsellors' competences are not sufficient to provide them with necessary support
Regarding relevant differences between the national conditions of the partner countries, it can still be concluded that they all share a growing attention for the role of counselling - the differences are defined by the definition of public responsibility for labour market development and the individuals within the markets. It is probable and predictable that they will all "meet in the middle" - after that it will be time to revise in how far innovative approaches and terms like "life long learning", "life long counselling" or the "client-centered approach" found their way into counsellors' working reality.