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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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).