Vera Rentsch, directora regional de la red de centros de orientación profesional de Berna, explica en qué consisten los servicios que ofrece la ciudad ganadora de la 5ª Mención Ciudad Orientadora
Berna ha recibido la 5ª Mención Ciudad Orientadora durante la gala virtual de la 13ª edición de los Premios Educaweb, celebrada el 3 de diciembre. Este reconocimiento de alcance internacional otorgado por Educaweb en colaboración con la Diputació de Barcelona premia anualmente a la ciudad que destaca por su apuesta y compromiso hacia la orientación académica y profesional.
La ciudad suiza ha ganado este reconocimiento por ofrecer desde hace más de un siglo servicios de orientación visibles y accesibles para personas de todas las edades, a través de una red de ocho centros de orientación profesional, conocidos como BIZ Berufsberatungs und informationszentren.
Cada año, más de 70.000 personas visitan estos centros, donde profesionales de la orientación les proporcionan información sobre profesiones y ofertas formativas, reflexionan con ellos sobre sus perspectivas profesionales y los apoyan en su objetivo de formarse, desarrollarse profesionalmente o reciclarse, con el fin de construir su proyecto de vida y profesional.
En esta entrevista, Vera Rentsch, directora regional de los servicios de orientación de Berna, explica en qué consisten estos y cómo han podido lograr orientar durante más de un siglo a la población de esta ciudad.
What public academic and career guidance services are currently offered to the citizens of Bern (please explain briefly what BIZstart, BIZnext and BIZinfo consist of and who are they aimed at)?
We provide information, counselling and support to people choosing a post-compulsory education or planning career changes, engage in continuing education or re-entry to work. We raise awareness of the need for active career development and help people of all ages to advance their career development skills. Our comprehensive services are aimed at individuals and at public and private institutions that support people in making career choices. Our products/services are:
Target group: Teenagers and young adults making first career/study choices
- Close cooperation with secondary schools
- Information for teachers, pupils, and parents
- Individual vocational counselling
- Workshops for teenagers
- Close cooperation with upper secondary schools
- Information for upper secondary level students and parents
- Individual counselling for degree programmes
- Workshops for upper secondary level students
VET case management:
- Individual support for teenagers with multiple difficulties
- Triage centre (support in finding transitional solutions)
- Support+ (intensive coaching during search for an apprenticeship)
Target group: adults over 25 years old
- Individual vocational counselling / short-term counselling
- Advisory services with other institutions (e.g., employment offices, disability insurance, social services etc.)
- Additional career development services, e.g.
- Careers courses (individual and in group settings)
- Diagnostic tests
- Information events, workshops etc.
Target group: open to everyone
Bern has been offering career guidance services for more than a century. What has been the key to the success and duration of these services?
- Information centres with a wide range of information on professions, education and careers topics
- Short-term counselling (20 minutes)
- Information by phone and in writing
- Events and workshops
- Online information
After the First World War there was a shortage of skilled workers in the region of the Bernese Oberland. This led to the initiative to set up a vocational guidance centre to increase the chances of young people to get good vocational training.
Our recipe for success is to be able to offer neutral and independent information, advice and guidance on questions of education, profession and career planning. We provide our services with over 200 highly trained employees.
An important success factor was and is to understand the needs of the world of work, to maintain close cooperation with schools and other institutions such as the regional employment agencies as well as the IV offices. Our services are designed according to the needs and requirements of the clients, so that a complete range of services was created.
Just as the world of work is subject to strong and rapid change due to digitalisation, we will adapt our services to this change. In other words, we will develop our services in a more agile way and also make use of the technical possibilities offered by digitisation.
What actions have you taken to continue offering career guidance in times of COVID-19?
"An important success factor was and is to understand the needs of the world of work, to maintain close cooperation with schools and other institutions such as the regional employment agencies".
Within a very short period, we have switched to distance consulting and launched new products on the market in order to support young people in the career choice process, employed and self-employed people in their individual situations in a quick and uncomplicated manner. The following products were developed:
- The SOS Corona Career Guidance is developed and implemented in June 2020 within 3 weeks and offers 1-4 hours free counselling. Specialised vocational consultants with in-depth knowledge of the labour market advise clients during the economic recession.
What are the most important challenges for Bern's career guidance services for 2021?
- The easily accessible service InfoService (Monday-Friday 10 to 18h) allows an initial counselling with a consultant. Questions about profession, training or labour market are answered by phone or e-mail. InfoService was realised within 2 weeks per March 2020 during the first lockdown. The consultations last 10 minutes on average.
The information centres will be modernised. The information is being digitialised and encourages in an entertaining way a deeper exploration of the topics or the discovery of new career perspectives. The service portfolio is structured in a consistent customer-oriented manner and the customer flow is controlled according to demand. From easy self-exploration in the Information Centres, to the InfoService and specialised advice, the offers are permeable and seamlessly coordinated. An evidence-based guidance model for the promotion of career management skills will be introduced.
The national strategy forms the basis for modern and future-oriented services in the cantons as well as on national level and enables further development of services coordinated across cantonal boundaries, especially in the development of digital services. The services offered by the BIZ Bern will gradually be aligned with the national strategy.
What recommendations would you give to cities to encourage them to offer academic and career guidance to their citizens?
Active career management is becoming increasingly important. Due to various influences (e.g. globalisation, pandemic, demographic change, climate change) blue-collar and white-collar workers people must constantly deal with one's own professional career, remain flexible and be open to change. Academic and vocational guidance services help people to keep up with this development, to orient themselves and to shape their professional development. In addition to providing information and orientation, the focus is increasingly on promoting career management skills among clients. Social inclusion and diversity are as much a part of a social an economical sustainable approach as the necessity for systematic cooperation with stakeholders and a high level of understanding or anticipating changing needs.