Provision of educational and vocational guidance for young people is given high priority in Denmark.

The Danish guidance system aims to give easy access to high quality guidance services. Guidance is regarded as a continuous process that should help young people become more conscious of their abilities, interests and possibilities, thus enabling them to make decisions regarding education and employment on a qualified basis.

In order to ensure that all citizens have access to quality information about education and professions, different types of guidance centres work independently from sectoral and institutional interests. These types include municipal youth guidance units, regional guidance centres, online platforms such as UddannelsesGuiden (the Education Guide) and eGuidance.


In Denmark, guidance within the education system is regulated by a specific act of parliament. The Danish Consolidation Act on municipal provision for young people under 25 (Lov om Kommunal indsats for unge under 25 år) covers among other things educational guidance in relation to the choice of youth education. It supports the Danish Government’s declared goal that by 2030 90% of all young people should be completing a youth education programme before their 25th birthday. Guidance in relation to the transition to higher education is regulated in the Act on Study and Career Guidance Denmark (Lov om Studievalg Danmark).

The Government wishes to make it easier for citizens to make realistic decisions about learning opportunities and careers - for the individual’s own sake and for the good of society as a whole. The Danish guidance system - and changes made since the reform in 2004 - should be seen in this perspective.


Key elements of the Danish guidance system are:

The municipal youth guidance units provide guidance services for young people up to the age of 25 years, focusing on the transition from compulsory to youth education, or, alternatively, to the labour market. Their main target groups are:

  • Pupils in lower secondary school (forms 7 to 9) and pupils attending the optional form 10.
  • Young people under the age of 25 who are not attending or have not completed a youth education programme, and are not attached to the labour market.
  • Other young people under the age of 25 who are seeking guidance in relation to youth education programmes or employment.
  • Young people with a special need for guidance concerning the choice of education, vocation and career. This is a diverse target group of young people with various problems related to the continuation or completion of an education programme.

In cooperation with school principals, the youth guidance units organise guidance activities at schools – close to the pupils. Teachers are responsible for the provision of general career education from form 1 to form 9, but the youth guidance units serve as a source of coordination, inspiration and further development in this area.

Study and Career Guidance Denmark was established on August 1, 2018 as a new national guidance institution in the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The organisation consists of a main office (secretariat) and seven regional centres covering all parts of the country.

Study and Career Guidance Denmark provides guidance to young people and adults about the choice of higher education and prospective career opportunities. The guidance offered is independent of sectional interests.

Study and Career Guidance Denmark meets the target group in their local environment; guidance in upper secondary education is mostly offered as individual conversations, in small groups or through common activities. The main objective is to put the students in a position to be able to make qualified decisions about their choice of higher education and career.

Study and Career Guidance Denmark cooperates with relevant partners at the national, regional and local levels to ensure a coherent guidance system and a regular exchange of experiences, knowledge and best practice. Relevant partners include youth education and higher education institutions, the social partners and industry and commerce.

  • eGuidance

eGuidance provides individual and personal guidance to all citizens via various virtual communication channels: chat, telephone, E-mail, webinars and social media.

eGuidance is for everyone who wants information and guidance about education and employment and may also refer users to the digital guidance tools on the national portal, The Education Guide UG.dk. We play a central role as guides to the national guidance portal. At the outset, eGuidance was especially targeted at resourceful young persons and their parents, to give them easy access to independent information and guidance and hereby motivate them to continue the search and clarification process on their own. In 2018, eGuidance became the main career guidance service for adults looking for further training or education.

  • Users can contact eGuidance in the daytime and evenings, as well as at weekends. Many people appreciate the fact that they can get in touch with a guidance counsellor on, for example, a Tuesday evening or Saturday afternoon. Users contact eGuidance with questions relating to youth education as well as higher education and adult education

  • The national guidance portal

The national guidance portal: www.ug.dk, launched by the Ministry of Children and Education, is an ICT-based careers information and guidance portal. The portal provides citizens - young people and adults - with substantial careers information in order for them to make qualified decisions about education, training and careers.

The portal provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on:

  • youth education and training programmes
  • higher education programmes
  • occupations/professions
  • labour market issues
  • study programmes taught in English at Danish colleges and universities

Further Guidance services:

Careers education in primary and lower secondary schools: “Education and Job”
Teachers provide guidance aimed at all pupils in primary and lower secondary schools. They implement the topic called “Education and Job”, seeFact sheet on Careers EducationandFact sheet on Education and Job.

Guidance in relation to completion of education within general and vocational upper secondary education
The upper secondary schools (‘gymnasium’ and VET colleges) are obliged to support their students in a way that enables them to complete their education. The institutions are free to choose their methods and the appropriate staff to support students in completing their education.

Guidance in higher education
Guidance practitioners and students in higher education provide guidance aimed towards enrolled students and people who wish to enter a HE programme. The institutions are free to choose their methods and the appropriate staff. For HE programmes in Denmark, see:www.studyindenmark.dk

Vocational guidance at the municipal job centres (PES)
Vocational guidance counsellors and job consultants provide guidance at the 91 job centres (Public Employment Service, PES). Guidance is aimed at all individuals over the age of 18 as well as unemployed adults (through job centres) and the portal:www.jobnet.dk(in Danish only). This service is for all jobseekers and employers and provides information on job-seeking, education and looking for new employees. It contains a job-bank and a CV-bank as a help to find new employees or a new job.

This national guidance portal is launched by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Uddannelseszoom (Educationzoom)enables the comparison of information on VET and HE across different parameters. It is a tool to support the process of choosing an education. This is done by disseminating data on the quality of the educations and their relevance in relation to the job opportunities of the labour market.

For detailed descriptions of all guidance services, seeGuidance in Denmark (pdf).


One of the objectives of the Danish guidance system is to improve the qualifications and competencies of guidance practitioners, in order to provide more professional Danish guidance services. Consequently, one common training programme is offered to guidance counsellors from all sectors. Guidance practitioners working in the municipal guidance units, the regional guidance centres and eGuidance are required to complete the diploma or master's programme in educational and vocational guidance or the bachelor’s degree programme in public administration. Alternatively, guidance practitioners with extensive experience in the field can apply for assessment and recognition of their competencies and prior learning. The diploma programme is not a requirement for guidance practitioners working in other institutions.

Five university colleges across the country offer the diploma programme on a part-time basis. It is equivalent to 12 months of full-time studies and consists of three basic modules, two or three optional modules and a diploma project. It has a value of 60 ECTS points. The training programme is offered as an adult learning programme and corresponds to a diploma degree. Entry requirements are, as a minimum, a completed short-cycle (two-year) higher education programme and two years of relevant working experience.

Furthermore, it is possible to follow a master's programme in guidance at Aarhus University. It is equivalent to 12 months of full-time studies and has a value of 60 ECTS points. Entry requirements are, as a minimum, a completed medium-cycle (three-year) higher education programme and two years of relevant working experience.

Both training programmes are offered within the framework of the Danish adult education and training system. They are aimed, and adapted to, adults who already have another higher education degree and two years of relevant work experience.

The university colleges also offer a 3.5-year full-time bachelor’s degree programme in public administration, corresponding to 210 ECTS. The degree makes it possible to specialise within several areas of the public administration field, including educational and vocational guidance


The Guidance Research Unit, the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University

The Guidance Research Unitworks with guidance practices in different institutional contexts such as educational, social and health care contexts. In these settings, the unit uses participatory methods and draws on different theoretical approaches in the investigation of how professionals and users experience transition and decision-making processes, and the way in which various guidance practices (individual and collective) can play a part in overcoming and managing transitions for both professionals and users.

Specific areas of research:

  • Career learning, career management skills and professional competence development in guidance and counselling practices in educational contexts such as secondary schools, universities and health care contexts.
  • Social justice and ethical issues in guidance practices.
  • Collective supervision practices in educational and health care contexts.
  • Cross-disciplinary and -sectorial collaboration and guidance practices in educational and health care contexts.

The Danish network of guidance researchers

This network was founded at the Danish School of Education and members come from a range of research and development institutions throughout Denmark. The network meets biannually to discuss trends, ideas and results of their research. Once a year in November, the Danish School of Education and the network members arrange the dissemination and engagement conference ‘Insight and inspiration in guidance research’ with the aim of getting inspired by practitioners and researchers from other fields and disseminate research to a wider public. Contact person: Associate professor Rie Thomsen

Programme for Career Counselling, VIA University College
VIA Lifelong Learning – Centre for Research and Development
The programme aims at contributing to research and development in educational, vocational and career guidance in a national and international perspective. It understands career as a broad concept that is about exploring and handling life, learning and work, and the interplay between them, in changes and transitions across life. The programme focuses on career guidance in depth as well as in width, including career guidance measures in compulsory school, in upper secondary education and vocational education and training, in higher education and the transition between these, and from education to occupation. Furthermore, the programme focuses on career guidance for adults in employment and outside the labour market.

Research and development take place within areas such as:

  • The interplay between career guidance and school, e.g. career learning understood as experience with and reflection on education, work, oneself and others.
  • The organisation of career guidance and cooperation with other players such as schools, higher education, companies, etc.
  • Potentials and roles for parents regarding young people’s career learning and educational and occupational choice, including the cooperation between guidance counsellors and/or teachers and parents.
  • The possibility of career guidance to support enhanced social justice and sustainability.
  • The development of career guidance as a profession, including inter-professional cooperation, professional ethic and the guidance counsellor as agent for professional development and change.

The Danish Centre for Youth Research (Center for Ungdomsforskning, CEFU)

The Danish Centre for Youth Research (CEFU)carries out research on youth and their life. CEFU’s work is multidisciplinary, problem-oriented and close to practice. Specific areas of interest for CEFU are: youth from primarily sociological, cultural, anthropological, pedagogical and socio-psychological angles: work, education, democracy, marginalisation and health and lifestyle.


The Danish Association “The Joint Council for Associations for Educational and Vocational Guidance” (Fællesrådet for foreninger for Uddannelses- og Erhvervsvejledning, FUE) has formulated“Principles for Ethics in Educational and Vocational Guidance”in Denmark. All Danish guidance practitioners who are members of a Danish guidance association are encouraged to work according to these ethical principles. Following the disorganization of FUE, intellectual property right is now placed with the Forum of Educational and Vocational Guidance (UUVF and The Danish Association of Guidance Counsellors).

Further information can be found at:


Cedefop (2020) Inventory of lifelong guidance systems and practices – Denmark. CareersNet national records.

Last updated at: December 2021