Several aspects related to adult education have been discussed in connection with Finland’s chairmanship. These include comparing and exchanging experiences of how adult education affects well-being at work, and examining different Nordic solutions for organising interaction between adult education and working life. Appropriately enough, the theme of the main seminar, which will be held in Finland in the autumn of 2007, will be Education – working life – well-being.
The theme of this year’s first DialogWeb is guidance/counselling. Like many other words, this concept has acquired new meanings over time. On an international scale, career counselling was the first form of guidance. It was first introduced in Germany and the US in the early 1900s by labour market organisations. Denmark was first among the Nordic countries to organise guidance and counselling services. Over time, new actors and contexts have made guidance available to new target groups. For instance, in the 1960s study counselling was available only within basic education, whereas today it is offered at all education levels. An important recent development is that guidance has entered the workplace.
To begin with, career guidance/career counselling was aimed at young people who were choosing their future profession. Today the word guidance or counselling has multiple meanings. Choosing a trade for the rest of your life is no longer seen as the sole objective of guidance. Similarly, re-training is not only for those whose professions are disappearing or who have to pick a new career because of an illness or disability. These days competence development – or career planning – is just as important. Employers, too, are starting to understand that competence development brings mutual benefits. However, large and medium-sized employers have more resources than small businesses, not to mention micro businesses. Other significant factors include differences between sparsely and densely populated areas, as well as infrastructure necessary for equal access to the Internet.