In accordance with the Law on Higher Education, centres for career guidance, counselling and student support have been recognised as important parts of universities and faculties in charge of continuous provision of counselling and support for students. These centres provide information on academic and career guidance and organise educational activities such as workshops, lectures and training courses. The centres also provide support programmes for first-year students, organise panel discussions for students, round tables with alumni students etc. Apart from the dedicated centres, every higher education institution has a student administration office which provides information on administrative aspects of studying, including the admission process, programmes, semesters, scholarships, exam registration, theses and graduation administration.
According to the Law on Higher Education, centres for career guidance, counselling and student support can provide psychological counselling. This is an optional type of support.
The Law on Higher Education highlights the important role of career guidance, counselling and student support centres at universities and faculties, especially for career guidance. While in many other European countries university career services have a long tradition, first career development centres at Serbian universities were only established in 2010.
Many centres provide individual guidance and counselling (both face-to-face and online), organise group sessions on career management, workshops, lectures and training courses. The centres very actively cooperate with the commercial sector and employers, organising internships and other work-based programmes for their students, as well as joint events with companies. The centres also provide opportunities for cooperation with student organisations, participation in summer schools, virtual simulation of job interviews, communication with prospective employers etc. Apart from career guidance and counselling services, these centres usually provide information on educational mobility opportunities as well.
Although there is no labour market forecasting, a survey on future labour market needs is conducted regularly among employers.
It should be noted that, apart from university career centres, there are a number of career centres at universities’ constituent faculties. University career centres have good mutual cooperation, which resulted in the creation of the Association of University Career Centres in Serbia in 2012.
According to the Law on the Dual Model of Studies, the main role of career guidance centres within higher education institutions is to support students’ career development and encourage their initiative in career planning and setting career goals. Career guidance centres also provide counselling for students in the process of choosing a job or an internship. In general, the Law recognises the importance of career guidance and counselling activities for students which are implemented through networks of career guidance centres at HEIs, secondary schools and in companies.
Another important document regulating the provision of career guidance services at HEIs is the Bylaw on Standards in Career Guidance and Counselling Services adopted in 2019, which defines key elements of quality in four career guidance standards:
Standards in career management skills define key outcomes of quality career guidance and counselling services and can serve as guidelines for defining goals and outcomes of activities provided by an institution.
Competence standards for career guidance practitioners are guidelines for self-assessment of career guidance practitioners and the provision of CPD programmes for guidance practitioners.
Organisational standards define key conditions for providing quality services in terms of space, staff and documentation.
Programme standards define key elements of quality career guidance and counselling programmes such as target groups, goals, activities and methods, evaluation and monitoring etc.