The Career Guidance and Counselling Services within the Education Psycho-Social Services aim to promote the holistic development of learners by providing personal, educational and career guidance and counselling to primary and secondary school-age students. Indeed, the Guidance and Counselling Services promote guidance in support of the education of students by facilitating the transition of students from primary to secondary school, and from secondary to post-secondary educational institutions and/or work.
The service also provides curricular guidance regarding subject options and choice of courses, at different levels, particularly at Year 8 when students choose two option subjects as areas of specialisation.
Counselling offers personal and emotional support to students and aims to instil a positive attitude towards learning by providing them with a safe and secure psycho-educational environment. Counselling is a means of relating and responding to clients with the aim of giving them safe space and time to explore their feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviour. These opportunities can help them to develop and/or broaden their own thoughts and awareness, and to explore alternatives to their situation. This enables clients to take informed decisions on future direction and encourages them towards living in a more personally satisfying and resourceful way. Counselling may be held with individuals, couples, families and groups.
At times students are referred to external agencies for further support. This is carried out so that students will get the right kind of support delivered by other specialists like psychiatrists.
The Guidance and Counselling Services also offer the ‘Safe Schools Programme’ that specialises in three main areas of abuse namely: Child Safety Service; Anti-Substance Abuse Service and the Anti-Bullying Service. It includes also Servizz Għożża which provides a support service and an educational programme for young pregnant minors. The programme seeks to achieve its objectives by promoting the psycho-social and emotional well-being of adolescents encouraging them to adopt a positive attitude towards parenthood, while emphazising the importance of education and employment.
Career Guidance forms an essential part of the guidance programme of all secondary schools. As part of students’ preparation for when they leave education, students are provided with support and information to understand the range of opportunities offered both in further and higher education and with regards to work opportunities. Indeed, Career Guidance provides adequate assistance to students to make informed choices and decisions related to further study and/or job selection. Career Guidance is offered by guidance teachers, school counsellors and career advisors specialised in the field. Such guidance may be provided on a one-to-one basis or in groups. It is delivered through different media, such as printed literature, guidance interviews, career management learning, taster programmes, ICT-based information and assessment tools, seminars, exhibitions and conventions organised at school, college or national level. Additional information may be provided through organised talks by personnel from local industries and by orientation visits and/or job contact experiences, mainly in the final years of secondary education.
While each school has its own career guidance programme to cater for the specific needs of its students, a programme of career orientation visits is organized by the Guidance and Counselling Services to complement the guidance provisions in secondary schools.
These initiatives aim to provide students with the necessary information to be able to make an informed decision about their future career path. Information is also disseminated about the various job opportunities available both locally and within the EU.