Counselling services for young people aim to assist their active inclusion in the labour market and their successful integration into this country’s social and economic life.

One possibility in this regard is for the young people to use the services of the Labour Offices Directorates, namely informing, counselling and motivating towards an active inclusion in the labour market; these services are targeted at the needs and possibilities of the different groups of young people (youth without an occupation; youth with education and without work experience; early dropouts from the educational system; youth with disabilities; youth with low or no education, etc.).

When providing counselling services for youth, labour intermediary at the Labour Offices try to clarify all the factors that influence the youth’s current motivation, readiness to work or inclusion in a training course. Such information is extremely important in order to provide the best possible counselling services. The possibilities of the unemployed young people to join the labour market are analysed, including the following:

  1. Analysis of personal circumstances, emphasising on the areas having a negative impact of the person’s capabilities and abilities to work, namely personal (insufficient or no education, small or missing professional and socials experience, unstable motivation to work, permanent or temporary reduced capacity to work); environmental factors (domicile in a remote location, insufficient mobility, household problems, social isolation, cases of discrimination); communication factors (inability/incapacity to communicate due to language problems or lack of understanding; difficult communication due to stereotype attitudes and unwillingness to cooperate with the institution; built-up ineffective model of relationships – helplessness, passive attitude or proneness to conflict, lack of self-control). Following the analysis of personal circumstances, the employment agent determines and systematizes the obstacles hindering the process of professional fulfilment, and identifies the areas in which the young unemployed person would need additional support.
  2. Analysis of the young person’s possibilities, focusing on the areas where support will assist short- and mid-term employability. The importance of the following skills for successful and lasting integration in the labour market has been growing:
  • The young person’s ability to assess their own professional qualities and skills;
  • The unemployed youth’s adaptability to changes in the labour market;
  • The person’s ability for independent job search;
  • The young person’s communication skills – literacy level, written and oral communication;
  • Ability for teamwork (e.g. working with individuals of another nationality, with low/high skilled workers or with people with disabilities);
  • Accuracy, reliability, etc.

Following the analysis of the youth’s ability for self-assessment and the evaluation of their personal qualities, which is made during the interview, the employment agent determines the need for increased support by the Labour Offices Directorate. The support is expressed in targeted activities for motivating the youth’s active behaviour on the labour market, improving their skills for purposeful independent job search, and where necessary, inclusion in literacy courses.

Any young person who needs job search skills and knowledge, application/interview with an employer, preparation of job application documents and a CV, may be included in motivation training for active job search and/or training for job search.

  1. Establishing the readiness for formulating a clear personal plan of action and for its implementation: The key factor here is the extent to which the young person’s plan of inclusion in training or qualification, traineeship, or apprenticeship, or fulfilment in the primary labour market is realistic and feasible. In this connection, the analysis of possibilities should, on one hand, focus on the educational aspects of the youth’s participation in the labour market (whereby in the event of deficit in some competencies, steps shall be made to improve the youth’s qualification), but also on qualities, knowledge and skills acquired informally, which form part of their growth potential.

Following the establishment of the youth’s readiness to formulate a clear personal plan of action and to implement it, the employment agent determines the need of professional information, counselling and career development. Services, which are offered to unemployed youth, should be adapted to their needs and possibilities.



Professional guidance

Professional guidance consists in information, counselling and guidance concerning the choice of a profession and career development.

Professional counselling assists the young people in the following:

  • Choice of a profession (speciality);
  • Acquisition or raising the degree of qualification – initial professional qualification or re-training;
  • Acquaintance with the methods for acquiring the desired qualification

Counselling consists in providing information and advice depending on labour market conditions and possibilities, on the requirements of the respective profession, and on the desire expressed by the youth.

Professional information assists the young people’s guidance with respect to:

  • The nature of the profession they wish to have, and the terms and conditions for their acquisition and exercise;
  • The status and trends in the development of professions or occupations having regional or national importance;
  • Personal requirements for professional eligibility;
  • Opportunities for vocational training or raising the level of qualification;
  • Training institutions, e.g. professional guidance centres,
  • secondary and tertiary schools, colleges, postgraduate studies centres;
  • types of studies;
  • conditions for admission;
  • eligibility requirements to applicants;
  • the documents which are issued upon graduation;
  • Current opportunities for professional fulfilment on the labour market.

Counselling and information may take place individually or by groups (for persons with common interests). Professional guidance services are provided by the Labour Offices Directorates and/or the Work Centres.



Work Centres with the Labour Offices

The Work Centres make it possible for youth who have registered with a Labour Office to participate in:

  • Motivation for active labour market inclusion;
  • Information and counselling for choice of profession/speciality;
  • Information about national and regional programmes; presentation of a profession/groups of professions;
  • Presentation of education and training institutions; presentation of student fairs;
  • Presentation of an employer, etc.



Job Search Workshop

The inclusion in a job search workshop offers young people who have registered with an employment office an opportunity to improve their job search skills and a successful interview with an employer. Quite often, unemployed youth need help in a specific area of job search. For example, they need to know how to prepare documents to apply for a job, how to prepare and present themselves at a job interview, or how to draft their behaviour or career plan.

In the framework of a workshop, every job seeking youth works on one possible subject relating to job seeking.

Young people may choose from among the following subjects of a workshop:

  • How to search for a job? Developing a behaviour plan;
  • How to prepare a personal professional plan;
  • Job application document – motivation letter;
  • Job application document – CV;
  • Sources of information concerning vacancies;
  • How to prepare for a job interview, and how to pass it successfully?

The job search workshop is moderated by a psychologist or an employment agent having the necessary skills. The young person could either be guided by his/her employment agent, or make an independent decision about the area in which they need assistance.



Career Development Centres with the Regional Employment Service Directorates

Young people who are in education, in employment, or unemployed may address the Career Development Centres with the  Regional Employment Service Directorates.

The Career Development Centres offer the following services:

  • Ensuring free access for self-information to specialised information materials for professional guidance;
  • Professional information, vocational guidance and counselling;
  • Information concerning tendencies in the labour market and career development possibilities;
  • Implementation of job search strategies and identifying the expectations of employers;
  • Career development planning;

There are Career Development Centres with the Regional Employment Service Directorates in the towns of Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Lovech, Montana, Plovdiv, Rousse, Blagoevgrad, and Haskovo, and with the central office of the Employment Agency on the territory of the Labour Offices Directorate (Vazrazhdane, Sofia).

At the employment offices, the young people may receive counselling and support from case managers, youth mediators, Roma mediators, and psychologists 

Case manager is an expert who performs the function of an intermediary between the labour market and representatives of vulnerable groups (including youth) to ensure their social and employment integration. The case manager takes into account the needs of unemployed youth, determines and coordinates the services they would need, and coordinates the work of the team of experts who will work on a specific case. The objective consists in the following: by carrying out a comprehensive study of the young person’s needs and potential and his/her environment, to develop a “package of services” that will correspond best to the identified needs. This contributes to the implementation of the tasks laid down in the youth’s personal plan of action. The case manager works in close cooperation with representatives of different organisations and institutions, and organises a network of support, which is tailor-made to meet the needs of the clients, their personal abilities, and the requirements of the environment.

Case managers operate with the employment offices in the regional towns; there is a case manager with every labour office in Sofia.

Youth mediators are appointed in municipalities with a high number of inactive youth across the country. They are young people (university graduates, aged below 29) who act as intermediary between inactive youth (who are not in employment, education or training / NEETs) and the institutions which provide appropriate social, health, education or other services, thus complementing effectively the mediator services offered by the labour offices. For this purpose, youth mediators work jointly with experts from different institutions to propose a package of services that would meet best the individual needs of the respective young unemployed person, and they will plan and coordinate the process of their presentation.

If you are a young person who is not in employment or education, and if you are not registered with the labour office, you may address the youth mediator in your municipality. They can offer the following services:

  • Support for establishment of active contacts with institutions;
  • Information and counselling concerning the legal provisions governing the status of the employed, the unemployed and the inactive persons, including their rights and obligations, employability, and orientation towards an active behaviour on the labour market (labour offices, schools, vocational training centres, private job fairs, temporary agency workers, etc.);
  • Working on an individual or group basis to provide counselling and assistance to those in need of assistance with job search; inclusion in employment and training, in compliance with the seekers’ individual needs, namely assistance in the drafting and editing of a CV, acquaintance with different job search techniques, selection of a suitable training.

Roma mediators who operate with the Labour Offices Directorates are at your disposal for the following consultancy services:

  • Inclusion in the “Come and Register with the Labour Office” information campaigns organised by the mediators where they present the respective legal provisions, and acquaint the participants with different legislative dossiers concerning the status of the employed, the unemployed, and the inactive persons, their rights, obligations and opportunities, and where they will also orient persons towards an active behaviour on the labour market;
  • Participation in pre-announced informal seminars targeted at creating effective job-search skills, and at preparation for job application and job interviews with employers. Since the seminars are held in an informal setting, they help the participants to associate themselves with the active job seekers;
  • Participation in informal meeting organised by the Roma mediators, on an individual or group basis, on matters concerning employment, professional information and counselling;
  • You may rely on the Roma mediator if you need advice or help when searching for a job that is tailored to your individual needs, i.e. assistance with the drafting and editing of a CV, analysis of different job search techniques, or selection of a suitable training;
  • In their individual work with young people, Roma mediators have one primary objective, namely to determine if there are any objective (surmountable or insurmountable) obstacles before the youth in their search for a job and employment. Such obstacles might be related to the individual, e.g. gender, age or ethnic origin; to the profession (e.g. whether it is in demand or not on the local labour market); to the lack of qualification/skills and years of experience); or to their personality traits;
  • Roma mediators can help you develop job search skills and habits, and will assist you in employment inclusion, e.g. by searching for vacancy notices in different sources – newspapers, magazines, the Internet, etc.

Labour Offices also offer consultations with a psychologist. Depending on the individual’s needs and the identified problems, a psychologist could offer one or several psychological services to unemployed youth:

The individual psychological counselling includes the use of specific psychological techniques which help to reduce tension and to cope with initial difficulties; which are typical for consultations with unemployed youth; they listen to them, identify their issues, work to remove personal barriers, assist the unemployed youth with the decision-making process, assess the results of previous sessions, make decisions for new action that would lead to specific results, and resolve existing problems, etc.

Psychological testing for diagnostics of the unemployed youth’s individual psychological characteristics; specialised selection according to vacancies announced by an employer; selection with a view to inclusion in employment or training programmes and measures. Depending on the objectives, the psychological testing may use combined methods, such as interview, conversation, observation, test techniques, etc.

Psychological group counselling is offered for the purpose of developing social job search skills, coping with stress and improving self-assessment on the part of the unemployed young people, developing basic communication skills, attending an interview with an employer, preparation of job application documents, support for employability and adjustment to the labour market, etc.

Joint consultations are held with specialists from advisory team/teams to meet the needs of unemployed youth.

In order to promote the active inclusion of inactive youth, psychologists with the Labour Offices organise motivation training for active behaviour on the labour market. By actively participating in such training courses, the unemployed youth acquire guidance, knowledge and skills for the labour market, and for adjustment to its requirements, for job search and for selecting the most suitable training or employment. During the training, the young person receives practical skills concerning the preparation of job application documents, skills about how to use effectively different sources of information concerning job vacancies, and orientation for a successful interview with an employer. At the motivation training, the participating group exerts a positive influence with regard to developing an active behaviour on the labour market; including other elements such as co-operation, support and encouragement.