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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and counselling in a lifelong learning approach


12.Educational support and guidance

12.9Guidance and counselling in a lifelong learning approach

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

There is no such service available within Lifelong Learning in Norway, but this kind of counselling is available in Lower- and Upper Secondary Schools and in higher education institutions.

Psychological counselling

There is no such service available within Lifelong Learning in Norway, but this kind of counselling is available in Lower- and Upper Secondary Schools and in higher education institutions.

Career guidance

Norway has put skills policy, and more specific, career guidance, higher up on the agenda during the last years. Several initiatives and developments are going on:

  • A new compulsory programme in career development/career learning is given in secondary school ("Educational choice"). The programme includes elements of career learning/career management skills
  • There are career centres in every county in Norway, giving adults access to free of charge professional career services.
  • The contact between career practitioners and the labour market sectors is strengthened.
  • Partnerships between central stakeholders are established in every county to strengthen career guidance services.

In February 2017, the Government (represented by five different ministries) together with the social partners, agreed upon a Skills Policy Strategy for Norway. The Skills Policy Strategy sets out the direction for the future skills policy in Norway. Among other issues, the strategy points at the importance of a more comprehensive lifelong guidance system and of better system for gathering and giving labour market information. In 2016 an expert committee advised the Government on how to develop a better system for lifelong guidance (Career Guidance for Individuals and Society). Together, this has served as policy levers in the field of career guidance. The development of a more accessible digital service and making of a quality framework for career guidance, are direct follow ups of this. An important leverage for the policy development on lifelong guidance in Norway, was the OECD Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report and a Skills Strategy Action Report (both PDFs) made in 2016, which advised Norway to develop a more comprehensive career guidance system.

Going further back, to 2011, Norway established National Unit for Lifelong Guidance as a national hub and developer, a knowledge and resource centre and a national coordinator in the career guidance field in Norway. In recent years career guidance as become the main focus for one of the departments in Skills Norway The  major focal points are:

  • Overall responsibility for quality in career guidance services across all sectors,
  • Cooperation and coordination between all the different career guidance provisions and the stakeholders involved,
  • Evaluation and documentation of systems and practice in the field,
  • Competence development and evidence-based research, both to advance career guidance as a specific professional field and to enhance competence development for professionals,
  • Quality development and quality assurance,
  • Developing a national quality framework for career guidance.

Developing a national digital career guidance service, Skills Norway is chairing a National Coordinating Group at directorate level, which is set up to coordinate policy development and implementation in the different sectors.

Skills Norway is also chairing a National Forum for Career Guidance including all relevant stakeholders. Participation in the National Forum reflects representation in the regional partnerships already established in the regions/counties.

Since 2005, each of the 19 counties in Norway has established regional partnerships for career guidance between local stakeholders. These partnerships have varying organisation, but they are all aimed at strengthening the cooperation between providers of career guidance services and relevant stakeholders. The overall aim is to strengthen the quality and widen the access to regional career guidance services. The Ministry of Education has from 2007 provided financial support for the counties to establish such partnerships. The grant is administered by the National Unit for Lifelong Guidance. In 2014 the Ministry adopted new guidelines for the grant to encourage the creation of career centres. All of the partnerships have established career centres where guidance services are offered to adults above 19 years of age regarding both education and work. The centres also play an important part in strengthening the quality and professionalism of the counselling offered in schools and in the PES. Schools and public employment services (Nav) provide career guidance for their specific target groups.

By the end of 2019, all counties in Norway has a regional career centre. The career centres offer free of charge career guidance services to all adults over the age of 19. The centres also have an assignment to contribute to strengthen the quality and professionalism of the career guidance services both in schools and in the Public Employment Services (PES). The career centres are jointly finance by the county, the regional PES-authorities and the government. The centres are organized through regional partnerships for career guidance.

In 2014, Norway established a new master’s degree programme in Career Guidance.

Skills Norway is developing a national digital career guidance service for the whole population. The digital service will consist of information and tools as well as a chat service.

Skills Norway are leading the development of a national quality system for lifelong career guidance. This system consists of:

  • Competence standards - to inform all sectors on what professional career guidance is and what competencies practitioners should hold
  • A framework for career learning (a Career Management Skills Framework) - to help and inspire practitioners and programme developers to do more and better career learning
  • Ethical guidelines - to secure that career guidance services hold a high ethical standard
  • Quality standards - tools to enable more systematic quality assurance, both at service and policy level

Skills Norway received 25 mill NOK on the state budget for 2018 to develop an online career service. The public career centres will continue to be the backbone of the career guidance provision, but we see the need to expand and take more the blended guidance approach, which means that career guidance can be offered in many formats on- or offline, and that the end user should have the possibility to choose the format depending on his or her needs.