Skip to main content
European Commission logo


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: 20 February 2024

Academic guidance

Article 5 of Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE) as amended by Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE), establishes that it is the responsibility of the public administrations to facilitate access to information and guidance on lifelong learning programmes and the possibilities for access to them. Likewise, article 67 establishes that the education administrations, in collaboration with the competent employment administrations, shall promote vocational guidance measures that foster lifelong learning and the improvement of adult people' s qualifications, guaranteeing the necessary training offers. 

Academic guidance in adult education begins when accessing this type of provision, since an initial  assessment of the students is carried out:

  • this assessment focuses on the students' previous knowledge and their expectations and interests, with the purpose of recommending the most suitable training itinerary;
  • those in charge of guidance in every educational institution establish the process for assessing the learning acquired through formal and non-formal learning processes or through experience, since article 66 of the LOE as amended by the LOMLOE, establishes that adult people can learn through any of the following types of provision: 
    • formal or non-formal education; 
    • work experience; or social activity. 

For this reason, some connections have been set between both training paths and some measures have been adopted for validating the learning acquired in this way. 

After the initial assessment and the assignment of the corresponding education stage, special attention is placed on tutorship and guidance regarding these studies, aimed at the comprehensive and balanced development of all the students' abilities, as well as at their personal, academic and professional guidance. 

Adults' academic guidance is part of the education and training processes. Each group has a tutor teacher and there are specialised guidance services in the different types of provision: 

  • initial education and secondary education; 
  • higher education.

Psychological counselling

The duties of the teaching staff include tutoring pupils and providing educational, academic and vocational guidance, in collaboration with the specialised services and departments. To provide this counselling, teachers have the support of the corresponding guidance department as defined in the Resolution of 29 April 1996, on the organisation of guidance departments in secondary education institutions. When the need for an intervention of this kind is detected, students are referred to external services, generally related to the field of mental health.

Career guidance

Professional guidance for adult people is made through different organisms and institutions, both at private and public level. 

In this area some actions are developed to offer information related to the training-employment relationship in the different studies from which adult people can benefit: 

Guidance in vocational training

Royal Decree 659/2023 which develops the organisation of the Vocational Training System, in its article 96 on the structure of intermediate and higher level training cycles, indicates that these must include modules associated with transversal skills and abilities, and with work orientation and entrepreneurship relevant to the knowledge of the productive sectors and to professional maturity.

The curricular specification of these modules will be contextualised according to the characteristics of each professional family or the productive sector corresponding to the degree.

Vocational training courses include an in-company training phase in accordance with article 9 of Royal Decree 659/2023, which contributes to the development of part of the learning outcomes contemplated in the professional modules of the corresponding curriculum, as well as the competences foreseen in the training offer. The most relevant characteristic of this training is that it takes place in a real productive environment, allowing students:

  • observe and carry out the activities and functions that are specific to the different positions corresponding to a profession; 
  • get to know about the organisation of the productive processes or services and labour relations; 
  • are guided by the tutors of the educational institutions and the workplace. 

Guidance in education aimed at the transition to the labour market

The Common Employment Services Portfolio of the National Employment System offers a Career Guidance Service to advise unemployed and employed workers on training and employment opportunities, as well as on the recognition and accreditation of their qualifications. The objectives of this service are: 

  • define and implement individual professional paths in order to improve workers’ employability; 
  • develop entrepreneurship; 
  • support business and self-employment initiatives. 

Recognition of professional competences acquired through work experience or non-formal training

Article 10 of Royal Decree 122/2009 modified by Royal Decree 143/2021, establishes that the appropriate administrations shall keep a permanent procedure for the evaluation and accreditation of professional competences, acquired through work experience or non-formal training channels. This permanent procedure will refer to all the units of professional competence included in the existing vocational training provision in each autonomous community linked to the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications

Likewise, article 11 of Royal Decree 143/2021, defines the requirements for said evaluation and accreditation procedure of professional competences: 

  • in the case of work experience, to justify, at least 3 years, with a minimum of 2,000 hours worked in total, in the last 15 years;
  • in the case of training. To justify, at least 300 hours, in the last 10 years prior to the submission of the application.