The essential role of professional guidance

Photo: Michel Caron UdeS

In the context of full employment, there has never been a greater need for orientation assistance. But the lack of staff also affects the field of leadership. Orient yourself so that we can solve the problem!

Currently, the options for career choices are vast, but the population faces increasing anxiety about these choices. Career development services can really help a person get to know themselves better, make decisions they value, and move toward a fulfilling career.

As part of the 17e edition of Guidance Week in Quebec that will take place from November 13 to 17, the Order of Guidance Counselors (CO) highlights the key role of these professional people in the helping relationship, who have specific skills that affect education, work and mental health. These skills make it possible to act directly on the problems related to labor shortage and minimize its harmful consequences.

Patricia Dionne, professor at the Department of Vocational Guidance at UdeS
Patricia Dionne, professor at the Department of Professional Guidance at UdeS
Photo: Michel Caron UdeS

Why is orientation an essential service?

Professor Patricia Dionne is a professor of career guidance at the Faculty of Education at the University of Sherbrooke. We asked him to explain this essential service, which is orientation.

According to her, guidance is a service that enables young people and adults to define a project they value, in which they want to invest both in terms of studies and business.

This is important because we spend a lot of time studying and working. Our career makes us community actors in the sectors we want to invest in. Guidance services help us choose a project that meets our values ​​and allows us to develop our skills.

All young people and adults will ask themselves questions about orientation throughout life. In situations of distress, people may experience moments of doubt, questioning, boredom or loss of meaning. Orientation specialists are there to support them and give them good tools to get to know themselves better, find their way or reintegrate into studies or work.

The clientele is very diverse, young people or adults, people who are in a more insecure situation or other people who are in general thinking. Some people have experienced periods of unemployment, illness or misfortune for example. It could also be immigrants to Quebec who want to better understand the cultural codes of the labor market. Career guidance services are therefore crucial for different populations.

The importance of job satisfaction

In addition to the challenge of choice, the counselor tells us about the challenge of persevering in studies and employment in a way that is satisfactory for oneself and then for society. Satisfaction in a career project is essential for a person to feel recognized for their skills.

They want to find a space for themselves, apply the skills they will want to mobilize on the labor market. Job satisfaction is what drives us to persevere in work, while continuing to develop our skills and be stimulated by the opportunities offered to us.

Orientation, a solution to combating the lack of manpower

Maintaining employment has a major impact on labor shortages. For example, in teaching or in the health sector, several people are trained but leave the profession. Orientation services provide support to promote staff retention.

COs can mobilize employers to offer good job retention conditions, i.e. mentoring programs, sharing support programs or equipment support. At the organizational level, career guidance professionals can develop training and skills development plans and operate at different levels to facilitate retention conditions.

In order to act on the shortage, the professor explains that we must encourage satisfactory retention of people in their professional environment and recognize the importance of these workers in their environments. The role of guidance professionals is also to raise awareness of the different needs to be met in the Quebec labor market and to raise awareness of the diversity of occupations, including those with a labor shortage, sometimes less known or associated with a range of prejudices.

Anxiety over the wide variety of choices

According to Professor Patricia Dionne, anxiety can be caused by anticipating a situation that could be difficult or sometimes by avoiding that situation. Guidance professionals help by giving the person some time to think about their situation, giving them the tools to take power or control over their choices, and then systematically supporting them in relation to their situation.

There are various sources of information on the labor market, we help define which are relevant, and then filter the information based on personal characteristics. The goal is to target projects that the person values.

The professor also gives us an example of the orientation component of the OFF-PISTE program of the RBC Center for University Mental Health Expertise. Created at the University of Sherbrooke, this program is systematically designed to help young people reflect on their choice of orientation while working on dimensions of anxiety.

For youth and adults, how do we know we need guidance?

For Professor Patricia Dionne, the first step is a reflection exercise: “What are my plans for the future? What is my study project? » Orientation needs are also present in the selection, but they are also present in all situations in which questions are asked about studies or work.

It is important to take the time to reevaluate yourself if you are in a difficult situation at work or study. After a break, accident, illness or other, there is a need for better positioning in relation to career plans. A person can also be confused, either because he feels stagnant in his environment or because he has a taste for new challenges and surpassing himself.

For the counselor, the assessment will help him better understand the situation, then see more clearly how to move forward later. It also emphasizes the preventive aspect of consultation.

We may also need counseling if it is somewhat neutral at work. When we have had the impression for several months that we have no momentum in our studies or work, it is the right time to look for guidance advice.

Orient yourself in orientation!

Like many areas, orientation is affected by scarcity. The presenter explains that there is a great need for resources.

We help disadvantaged people, but they will lack support for this thinking. If you are interested in a helping relationship and if you have an interest in helping people in their future plans, related to work training, we need you!

Whether in the context of individual or group meetings, the field of orientation is diverse and opens doors in several settings, whether academic, organizational or employment assistance organizations. This is one of the reasons why Professor Patricia Dionne chose that direction.

For her, orientation specialists have a positive impact on people’s lives. They can access what is important to them, what fits their values ​​and what allows them to contribute to society. Have you considered a career in professional guidance?

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