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


12.Educational support and guidance

12.8Guidance and counselling in a lifelong learning approach

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

In Portugal, there are no guidance services supporting adult students attending any type of education. Psychology and guidance services operating in regular schools are designed for younger students who attend compulsory schooling.

However, the EFA Courses curriculum comprises a basic training component and a technological training component. The "Learning with autonomy" module and the "Reflective learning portfolio" are included in the basic level framework.

These two modules include "life themes", which represent significant issues for the trainees of each group. These life themes should include issues directly related to the professional domain, such as retraining or professional development, entrepreneurship or others that are most important for the group of trainees on each course.

These modules are overseen not by trainers but by the "mediator", who, in conjunction with the trainers of the technical-pedagogical team, is responsible for the orientation and development of the trainees' assessment. Each candidate’s profile is analysed and evaluated, and the most appropriate adult education and training provision identified.

Psychological counselling

In Portugal, psychological counselling or psycho-pedagogical support is designed for children and young people who attend compulsory education and is provided by the psychology and guidance services or psychologists placed in school clusters and non-clustered schools.

Career guidance

As part of ANQEP’s mission, the lifelong guidance framework was developed to be implemented by centres specialised in adult qualification, which are called Qualifica Centres (Ordinance No 232/2016, 29 August). These centres are based in different bodies, such as schools, and focus on adult qualification that entails both recognition, validation and certification of competences and certified training, according to the candidates’ profiles and individual needs. To this end, it is essential to consolidate the information and guidance schemes for adults and young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The Qualifica Centres are engaged with:

  • information sessions on education and training provision.
  • the current job market.
  • emerging professional opportunities.
  • forecasting training needs.
  • opportunities for mobility in the European and international areas.
  • guidance sessions that allow the target audience to identify the most appropriate provision for their abilities and interests.

In March 2013, the "Methodological Guide for the Application of the Lifelong Guidance Framework" was published. It was updated in 2017 and supports staff who specialise in guidance, recognition and validation of competences (Técnico de Orientação, Reconhecimento e Validação de Competências – TORVC), specifically the "diagnosis" and "information and guidance" stages.

The main objective of the "diagnosis" stage is to gain real insight into the candidate by collecting information which describes their life experience, particularly their interests and expectations, their education and training and their professional and/or occupational experience.

The “information and guidance” stage complements the information gathered on the candidate's profile, so they can be given alternatives (qualifications or other) and decide what path to follow and proceed to "referral", another stage within the TORVC at Qualifica Centres.

With this framework, six key competences are considered to help adults build and manage their career, after reception and registration at a Qualifica Centre. At the end of the guidance process, candidates are expected to be able to:

  1. "Develop self-concept", i.e., adopting attitudes and behaviours that reflect an adequate perception of oneself.
  2. "Interact effectively", being able to relate to different people, facilitating communication and interaction, managing difficulties and any conflicts when relating to others.
  3. "Manage information", using appropriate strategies to locate, collect and validate information, researching and managing information relevant to career.
  4. "Manage change" by being able to adjust to new challenges and to engage in its development, mastering strategies that facilitate transitions in the various life situation, as agents of change.
  5. "Decide", when analysing and assessing alternatives, weighing the consequences of immediate and long-term options.
  6. "Access and maintain qualification pathways and/or the job market", in order to master strategies for (re)entering training and (re)entering the job market.

Tools used at these stages include the Qualifica Passport, which is a digital tool that records the training/skills/qualifications acquired by the individual throughout their life, as well as simulating possible pathway or organising others, done or to be done, depending on the qualifications the individual can acquire and the academic and professional progress that can be achieved.

In November 2018, ANQEP published the document "Bolsa de Actividades" (activities pool), indexing it to the "Methodological Guide for the Application of the Lifelong Guidance Framework", which presents a set of proposed activities (described in a specific way) for each career building and management objective. This document contains 48 activity proposals that support the guidance and RVC staff during the diagnostic, information and guidance stages.