Nowadays youth career guidance undergoes drastic and vital shift – from career guidance to self-guidance skills. Traditional youth career guidance services are outdated - young people no longer need to go to the career guidance centre and expect information about existing jobs or education opportunities, rather they need to be trained by the counselors how to search and find this information by themselves on the net. New means of communication like social networks, smartphones and tablets also contributed to this shift. Consequently these new means of communication led to changing the language young people use and thus expect to hear when discussing their future career, education, etc. Just an example of this phenomenon is the introduction of so called “start-ups” and the fact that they are gaining popularity among the young people. More or less this is a modern version of entrepreneurship, but anyway young people prefer the term “start-up”. All this considered youth career counselors and youth career centres have to adapt to those new tendencies and be able to use ICT, new hardware (such as smartphones and tablets), modern media and communications and thus be able to guide young people how to orient themselves using those same methods and tools of the digital age.
Today young people search for jobs, education opportunities, etc. on the net by themselves. Very often, however, this is not that easy as it sounds. They either can’t find what they need or they find a bulk of results they cannot interpret and analyze. This can lead to a number of problems, dissatisfaction, demotivation and alike. Here is the place of the youth career counselor – to train and guide those young people how to intelligently search for the information they need, how to distinguish the rubbish in the information from the valuable information, how to take advantage of social networks and ePortfolio for their career needs. This is called modern media literacy and it is vital to self-guidance.
“Media literacy – using different kinds of media intelligently and making informed decisions about the information they present; a dynamic process of acquiring skills for critically evaluating and sifting through messages in different media; constant questioning of what one sees, reads or hears in his/her life.”
In the context of youth career guidance and self-guidance we have identified 4 key aspects of modern media literacy:
• Searching for information includes using Boolean logic, knowledge of different search engines, applying a relevant searching strategy, problems in searching on the net, etc.
• Evaluation of information includes steps to be taken when evaluating a web page, skills like critical thinking, scanning through information, distinguishing the rubbish in the information, etc.
• Manipulation by information includes manipulation of images/photos and text, phenomena like behavioural targeting, semantic advertising, spamdexing etc.
• Use of ePortfolio and social networks includes creating and managing such profiles for the purposes of career development, privacy issues, etc.
In this train of thought QYCGuidance project developed Learning outcomes describing the knowledge, skills and competences that career counselors need to possess in order to consult young people on self-guidance and media literacy. Learning outcomes in Units 1, 2 and 3 are adapted, updated and polished on the basis of the “Standards” developed in the frame of former MEVOC project (http://mevoc.net/EN/htm/fs.htm). Learning outcomes in Units 4, 5 and 6 are entirely new and are related to the modern media literacy of young people and of disadvantaged youth (related to modern media literacy topics described above). The EQF level of the “Youth career counselor” qualification is 4. EQF describes levels of qualifications in terms of learning outcomes. The eight levels cover the entire span of qualifications from those achieved at the end of compulsory education to those awarded at the highest level of academic and professional or vocational education and training http://www.ecvet-team.eu/en/system/files/documents/2875/eqf-leaflet.pdf Each unit has a number of ECVET points assigned to it. ECVET points are the numerical representation of the overall weight of learning outcomes in a qualification and of the relative weight of units in relation to the qualification.
All the units you can find in the next menu of the web site, called “Learning outcomes”. The main aim and application of the Learning outcomes is to be used as a basis for the development of the modern media literacy self-assessment toolkit which youth career counselors could use for self-assessment of their knowledge, skills and competences related to self-guidance and media literacy. Also, the Learning outcomes can be used in instructional design of training courses/curricula for youth career consultants.
Thus, it is recommended that youth career counselors who wish to test themselves in self-guidance and modern media literacy using the tools, first acquaint themselves with the learning outcomes.