Belgium is a Federal State.  Its institutional framework is made up of regions and communities with differing competences. Employment is a regional competence, education and training a community competence. As a result, one part of the guidance system (related to employment) depends on the regions and the other part (related to education and training) depends of the communities. 

Guidance and counselling of pupils and students is organized under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.  Vocational guidance is provided by several education and training organizations as well as by the Public Employment Services (PES).


Several organizations provide guidance support in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (the French Community composed of Wallonia and Brussels). Some of them provide guidance in the education system and others in vocational training.

Guidance in the education system targeting pupils in secondary schools and students in upper secondary schools is mainly managed by the CPMS (Centres Psycho Medico Sociaux).  The organization of guidance services in schools is regulated by a list of decrees and ministerial rulings.

The Psycho-Médico-Social Centres (CPMS) are independent support services linked with schools and depending of the education authorities.  A multidisciplinary team (psychologists, social workers, paramedical workers) offers psychological, medical and social services. For school guidance, the Centre works autonomously in partnership with schools and families.

In 2018, a new legislation is expected to be adopted by the government of the French Community of Belgium (Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles) concerning a reform of school guidance: «Pacte pour un Enseignement d’excellence».  The pact will focus on a better support to facilitate student  pathways, a better empowerment of professionals involved in education, an improvement of skills and knowledge and an improvement of governance in education.

Guidance in higher education is the responsibility of each institution.  High schools and universities organize their own information provision, guidance and reorientation services, and report on these actions in their annual activity reports.

Vocational guidance is supported by several organizations in charge of vocational training, as well as by the Public Employment Services (PES)

Career guidance services for jobseekers are mainly supported by the Public Employment Services (PES).


Guidance at school

The Psycho-Médico-Social Centres (CPMS) have three missions:

  • Promote the psychological, psychopedagogical, medical and social conditions which offer the pupils the best chances to develop harmoniously their personalities and to prepare them to assume their role of autonomous and responsible citizen and to take their place in social, cultural and economic life.
  • Contribute to the educational process of the pupils, throughout their school career, by supporting the implementation of the means which will enable them to continuously progress, with a view to ensure equal opportunities of access to social, civic and personal emancipation.  To this end, the centres will mobilize, inter alia, the available resources of the family, social and school environment of the pupils.
  • From a lifelong guidance perspective: support the pupils in the positive construction of their personal, school and career projects, and of their socio-professional insertion.

In terms of guidance:

  • The Centre accompanies pupils in the positive construction of their educational and professional projects.
  • The Centre provides complete and structured information to pupils to enable them to operate choices, in particular in each degree of the secondary school.
  • The Centre provides information and/or advice concerning studies, training opportunities, jobs, career development as well as the labour market to all people requesting information.

Some recent developments:

  • Partnerships exist between Psycho-Médico-Social Centres (CPMS) and Youth Guarantee Programmes (such as « JEEP », programme aiming to facilitate transition between school and work and financed by both the education and employment sector)
  • Pilot projects to implement the « approche orientante » (guidance orientated approach to learning) 

Guidance services in Universities

Each university  has their own guidance service.  Some also have an information centre with guidance activities.

AIDE - UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain)
CIO - UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain)
PsyCampus - ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
InforEtudes - ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
SOU - ULg (Université de Liège)
SOAR - USL (Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles)
CMP – Unamur (Université de Namur)
SAP – UMons (Université de Mons)

Vocational guidance services

Several organizations offer vocational guidance and information: Infor jeunes, SIEP (Service d’information sur les études et les professions), Laboratoire d’Ergologie de BelgiqueMissions Locales, some OISP’s (Organismes d’insertion socio-professionnel), the CEFO’s (Carrefour Emploi Formation Orientation).

Some organizations such as Stydyrama often organize guidance fairs and other events for young people in particular.

The SIEP asbl (Service d’information sur les Etudes et les Professions) non-profit organization has been recognized as “Youth Information Centre” by French Community Youth Service.  It is supported by the Walloon and Brussels-Capital Regions. The SIEP provides information about studying and working in Belgium in multiple formats (text, web, video, etc.).

Disabled students may receive specific services offered by specialized organizations, such as a meeting with a vocational integration adviser or a psychologist.


There are no specific career guidance study programmes at universities in French speaking Belgium.  Guidance practitioners in the PMS Centres have a university degree in psychology.  Specific modules are included in the training programmes:

  • 1st cycle specific module “Counselling and Career Guidance” – Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) – Faculty of Psychological sciences and Education (36 hours)
  • 2nd cycle specific module “School and Vocational Guidance” – Université de Louvain (UCL) –Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences (60 hours)

High School programme:

  • Assistant in psychology – section occupational psychology and vocational guidance – Haute école Léonard de Vinci / Institut Libre Marie Haps (3 years)

Depending on the guidance operator, guidance missions may be accessed through a university degree in a relevant field (psychology, social work, pedagogy, etc.) or with a vocational training combined with job experience.


Several organizations including universities and private companies carry out guidance research.


Due to the diversity of services, no unified ethical guidelines exist for guidance practitioners.

Last updated at: June 2020