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Guidance System in Denmark – Introduction

Provision of educational and vocational guidance is given high priority in Denmark. The Danish act on guidance aims to develop a transparent guidance system with easy access to high quality guidance services. The act supports the Danish Government’s declared goals that by 2015, 95% of all young people should complete a youth education programme and by 2020, 60 % should complete a higher educational programme.

Today the  Ministry of Education (www.uvm.dk) and the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education (www.fivu.dk)  are responsible for guidance and have a controlling and coordinating role in relation to the guidance system.

Two different types of guidance centres exist:

  • Youth Guidance Centres with responsibility for guidance in relation to the transition from compulsory school to youth education and for outreach services for young people outside education and employment.
  • Regional Guidance Centres with responsibility for guidance in relation to the transition from youth education to higher education.

In order to ensure that all citizens have access to quality information about education and professions, the Ministry of Education provides a national Internet-based guidance portal: http://www.uddannelsesguiden.dk/ or simply www.ug.dk. UddannelsesGuiden means the “Education Guide”, and it provides information on:

  • education and training possibilities at all levels
  • occupations/professions
  • labour market conditions and statistics
  • study programmes taught in English at Danish colleges and universities.

Other features of the portal include an e-mail based enquiry service, the possibility of developing an interactive personal education plan, an electronic guidance tool facilitating the choice of education and career, and links to educational institutions and guidance centres.

Moreover, a new eGuidance service was launched in 2011 as part of the guidance portal www.ug.dk.  Every person in Denmark who seeks information on education and employment can now receive guidance from experienced counsellors via various communication channels (chat, telephone, e-mail, SMS and Facebook) every day of the week. Clients appreciate the anonymity as well as the flexibility of the service which means that they can get in touch with a guidance counsellor on a Tuesday evening or Saturday afternoon.

The Ministry of Education has established a National Dialogue Forum on Guidance in order to secure a close dialogue between the Ministry and relevant stakeholders, such as social partners, organisations, institutions, guidance practitioner associations, end users and individuals holding a leading position in the field of guidance.

Quality in guidance is a topic that is continuously debated in Denmark. One way of enhancing the quality of guidance provision is to improve the qualifications of the guidance practitioners. Five centres of Higher Education in Denmark offer a one-year modular common training programme at diploma level for guidance practitioners across sectors. Furthermore, the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University offers a  Master of Education programme in guidance counselling. It is  a requirement that guidance practitioners working in the education system complete the diploma programme or, alternatively, that they – through assessment and recognition of prior learning – can document that they hold the required qualifications.

The Division for Guidance in the Danish Ministry of Education is actively involved in international cooperation in the field of guidance, and the main aims and elements of the Danish guidance reform are very much in line with the EU Resolution on Lifelong Guidance and with EU and OECD recommendations on guidance policies and practices.

Guidance for Adults

Denmark has a long tradition of improving the competencies of the workforce beyond compulsory stages of education. In fact, the notion is that learning is a lifelong occupation. There are a number of opportunities for adults wishing to receive education and update their competencies.

13 Centres for Adult Education and Continuing Training (VEU-centre) offer guidance related to a wide range of education programmes to adults, either employed or unemployed. Some of them give a second chance to people who left compulsory school without the necessary exams. Others offer highly specialized continuing vocational training courses (AMU) or general upper secondary programmes (VUC). As part of this adult educational system there is a provision of guidance.

At the centres guidance counsellors provide free and non-binding career guidance to companies as well as to individuals. People in employment or outside the labour market can get an overview over the various education and training programmes. They will receive an individual plan for their further education and training, which can lead them towards their career target.

More information on the Danish guidance system can be found in the publication ‘Guidance in Education – the educational guidance system in Denmark’.