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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: 30 March 2024

Academic guidance

The duties of the centres specialising in adult qualifications, known as Qualifica Centres (as established by Ordinance No 62/2022, 31 January), in its current wording, includes guidance. This includes analysing the candidate's profile, assessing their life path and professional experience, identifying qualification objectives, diagnosing needs and proposing the most appropriate qualification pathway for the candidate and the needs of the labour market. It also includes monitoring individual qualification pathways, which involves monitoring candidates' path to obtaining the qualification, regardless of whether it takes place in Qualifica Centres or an external training body. They also ensure that candidates receive an adequate and timely response, in order to encourage them to return to the qualification path or minimise any drop-outs.

The EFA Courses curriculum comprises a basic training component and a technological training component. In the basic level framework, the "Learning with autonomy" module and the "Reflective learning portfolio" have been replaced by a new transversal skills key competences area associated with soft skills, designated a key competences area called "Personal, social and learning competences”.

These 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.

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 62/2022, 31 January, in its current wording). 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).

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), functioning as a key tool that for the centres' activities.

Vocational guidance at the Qualifica Centres consists of analysing the candidate's profile, assessing their life path and professional experience, identifying qualification objectives, diagnosing needs and proposing the most suitable qualification path for the candidate and the needs of the job market. 

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 by the centres 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 TORVC in adult guidance.