Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network

Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
Lifelong Guidance
    in Estonia 2021
Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
Publisher: Euroguidance Estonia 2021

Editors: Anu Puulmann, Margit Rammo

Texts: Anna Karolin, Britt Järvet, Inga Kukk, Kairi Valk, Kersti Kõiv, Kristina Orion, Liisi Toom,
Mari Tikerpuu, Monika Sutrop, Virve Kinkar

Photos: Adobe Stock – Aivo Kallas, Erlend Staub, Tallinn University, Kristi Sits, Renee Altrov
Cover photo: Rasmus Jurkatam
Layout: Kuma Print

This booklet is published with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
The European Commission support does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which
reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any
use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
Table of Contents
Foreword                                                         4

Strategic View                                                    6
   Employment policy                                              8
   Stakeholder involvement across public sector organisations     8
   Education Sector                                               9
Institutions and Services                                         9
   General education                                            10
   Vocational education and training                              11
   Higher education                                              12
   Employment Sector                                             13
   Private sector                                               14
   Data Sources and Tools                                        16
Digital Solutions                                               16
   Digital solutions and lifelong guidance                       17
Professional development of practitioners                       19
   Career specialist as a profession                            20
   Professional development                                      21
   Future qualifications                                        22
International Co-operation                                      23
Education System                                                25
Labour Market Data                                              28

Additional Information                                          31
Contact Us                                                      32

Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
Dear Member of
the Guidance Community,
Welcome to the 2021 edition of Lifelong                 of the area is a crucial part of any nation’s
Guidance in Estonia. The world has changed              growth and prosperity.
dramatically in the last year for us all; it is
important to adapt and be resilient but also            For those who are already aware of the main
to find new ways of learning, working and               aspects of lifelong guidance in Estonia, we
even travelling.                                        are delighted to bring attention to recent
                                                        developments and would like to highlight
The aim of this publication is to give an               some of the latest initiatives in 2020:
introduction to how career development                  • The first round of the mentorship
is ensured by a lifelong guidance system                   programme at The Association of
in Estonia. We are convinced that the                      Estonian Career Counsellors;
meaningful exchange of practices and                    • The very first eAcademia – virtual learning
policies and learning from one another                     mobility in Estonia for practitioners from
across borders in the field of LLG is the key to           six countries;
improving our community impact.                         • The ‘Get to work’ campaign (Tööle kaasa),
                                                           where employers offer the opportunity for
The Estonian guidance system can be                        employees’ children to get to know their
characterised as flexible and open to                      parents’ work and the world of work more
change. During recent years, a number of                   broadly;
decisions have significantly affected service           • The study ‘Occupational qualification
provision across the country.                              framework in the field of lifelong
To cope with the difficult times, as we have            • The Education and Youth Board (Harno)
lived most of the past year studying and                   is a new governmental body under
working from a distance, digital services have             the administration of the Ministry of
played a crucial role. The positive side of this           Education and Research, which means
sudden enforced use of digital tools is that it            that lifelong guidance developments in
has put a focus on keeping and developing                  the education sector are brought under
the level of services. The downside is how our             one roof as well. The joint institution was
mental health has been impacted – coping                   established on the basis of the services
with the unknown is becoming more difficult.               of Foundation Innove, Archimedes
                                                           Foundation, the Information Technology
Estonia has a national long-term                           Foundation for Education and the
development strategy ‘Estonia 2035’, in                    Estonian Youth Work Centre.
which skills and the labour market is one of            • The National Forum for career guidance
the five main priority areas covering lifelong             has been re-established to ensure
guidance, showing that the development                     cooperation in the field across sectors.

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Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
In this publication, all texts in blue refer to
                  valuable references. Just click and discover!
                  You are also welcome to find useful
                  references at!

              Furthermore, we are particularly proud to              establish contact with colleagues from other
              gain new momentum with the International               countries? Do you think that new inspiration
              Association for Educational and Vocational             from other countries and cultures might be
              Guidance, IAEVG. The memorandum of                     good for your professional development? If
              understanding has been signed with the                 yes, the national Euroguidance centres are
              Euroguidance network and the Estonian                  at your disposal.
              representative has officially been certified as
              the IAEVG national correspondent.                      Experts and practitioners within the field of
                                                                     lifelong guidance are welcome to contact us!
              Are you interested in developing your skills
              and competencies in relation to global
              education and the labour market? Would you                   Anu Puulmann and Margit Rammo
              like to expand your professional network and                            Euroguidance Estonia
Adobe Stock

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Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
Adobe Stock
Strategic View
The national long-term development                    •   Estonia is innovative, reliable and people-
strategy ‘Estonia 2035’ focuses mainly on                 centred
the health of our citizens, our preparedness          The authorities responsible for the
for change and our relationship with the              development of lifelong guidance are the
living environment.                                   Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry
                                                      of Education and Research, which have
The strategy sets out five long-term strategic        strategies for governance in the education
goals:                                                and labour market areas.
• Estonia’s people are smart, active and
   care about their health
• Estonia’s society is caring, cooperative            Education Policy
   and open
• Estonia’s economy is strong, innovative             As the Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020
   and responsible                                    expired in 2020, Estonia started the long-
• Estonia offers a safe and high-quality              term strategic planning of the fields of
   living environment that takes into                 education in spring 2018. The Education
   consideration the needs of all its                 Strategy 2021-2035, which sets out the key
   inhabitants                                        educational goals for the next 15 years, is the

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Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
follow-up to the Estonian Lifelong Learning              To ensure supported learning,
Strategy 2020. The strategy focuses on the
                                                         we need to continue the
key strengths and challenges that need to
be addressed to be able to keep pace with                development of the career
changes both in Estonia and worldwide and                services system.
to prepare the education system and its
participants for the future in the best way
possible. Planning for future development
should take into consideration the ageing                their personal, occupational and social life
population, people’s changing preferences,               and contribute to promoting quality of life
climate change, globalisation and                        in Estonia as well as global sustainable
technological progress. These developments               development.
change the nature of work and people’s lives
and imply changes in education. The process              To ensure supported learning, we need to
of Education Strategy 2021-2035 is still                 continue the development of the career
ongoing and the strategy will be approved in             services system and career education at
the first half of 2021. Please find the general          school, including the development of a
objective and the three strategic goals                  comprehensive system to discover and
identified in the drafted strategy below.                develop individuals’ capabilities. We also
                                                         need to improve continuing training and
The general objective of the strategy is                 retraining opportunities to respond swiftly
to equip the population of Estonia with                  to labour market changes and ensure
the knowledge, skills and attitudes that                 that people are equipped with the right
prepare people to fulfil their potential in              knowledge and skills for employment.

  To achieve general objective, the strategy sets out
  three strategic goals:

    1                                2                                    3
                                          In Estonia, there are
        opportunities are diverse                                              Learning options are
                                       competent and motivated
         and accessible and the                                                  responsive to the
                                          teachers and school
     education system enables                                                 development needs of
                                        heads, a diverse learning
    smooth transitions between                                                society and the labour
                                        environment and learner-
        different levels and types                                                   market.
                                              centred education.
              of education.

  Figure 1. Education Strategy 2021-2035: general objective and strategic goals (draft as
  of March 2021). Source: Ministry of Education and Research

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Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
Employment policy                                    The role of general education, vocational
                                                     education and higher education institutions
The strategic goals of the employment policy         is to ensure access to lifelong guidance for
are covered in the Welfare Development               their students and support them in reaching
Plan 2016-2023. As the strategy covers a             the learning outcomes set in curricula.
wide area of social issues, the new strategy
has been under preparation since 2021.               The Education and Youth Board
The strategic goals of the plan include              supports educational institutions in the
achieving an inclusive labour market, a              implementation of national curricula. As
high employment rate among the entire                a result of the curriculum development
population and high compliance between               process concerning entrepreneurship and
the supply and demand of the workforce.              career management skills, we are heading
                                                     towards the better integration of career
                                                     management and entrepreneurial skills
Stakeholder involvement                              within the curriculum application process
across public sector                                 over the forthcoming years. Furthermore,
organisations                                        as the national Euroguidance centre, the
                                                     Board also provides support in the areas of
In 2018, the Estonian government                     international learning mobility and lifelong
acknowledged that there was room for                 guidance development within education,
improvement regarding both access to                 training and employment to Estonian
and the quality of the career services and           guidance professionals and professionals
a reform concerning the provision of the             abroad.
services was launched. Accordingly, starting
from 2019, career counselling and career             The role of the Unemployment Insurance
information have been provided by public             Fund (the public employment service) is to
employment offices under the Ministry of             ensure the provision of career information
Social Affairs. Currently, the main challenge        and counselling to all people regardless of
for both ministries is to achieve the aims           their employment status.
which triggered the reform.

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Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
Institutions and Services
Lifelong guidance has been practiced                 Career guidance in Estonia is
in Estonia for years. Services have been             based on three pillars – career
provided for different target groups by
different service providers and have also
                                                     education, career counselling
been known by a number of names – the                and career information
latest version being karjääriteenused (in            provision – and is provided
English: career services). Content-wise, both        by both education and
lifelong guidance and career guidance are
used to mean “A range of activities that
                                                     employment systems.
enable citizens of any age, at any point             and the labour market in general. Children
in their lives, to identify their capacities,        are supported to develop general skills,
competencies and interests, to make                  such as cognitive and learning skills, social
meaningful educational, training and                 skills and self-management skills, which
occupational decisions and to manage their           are all essential for coping in education,
individual life paths in learning, work and          the labour market and society at large. The
other settings in which these capacities and         development of such skills and competencies
competencies are learned and/or used” as             is supported throughout the period of study
agreed by the ELGPN members in 2013.                 – at all levels of education. The Education
                                                     Act of the Republic of Estonia stipulates that
Career guidance in Estonia is based on               career guidance of children and youth is the
three pillars – career education, career             responsibility of local governments.
counselling and career information provision
– and is provided by both education and              Development and implementation of the
employment systems. Career education is              national curricula and career education
integrated in curricula at various education         is supported by The Education and
levels and is a long-standing tradition.             Youth Board. In general education, this
                                                     includes the implementation of compulsory
                                                     central topic ‘Lifelong learning and career
Education Sector                                     planning’ and career-related elective
                                                     subjects so that development of career
In the education sector, guidance is provided        management skills is supported in schools.
as both a part of youth work and a part              In vocational education (VET), the focal
of formal education. The development of              point is the new ‘Learning path and working
general skills, including career management          in a changing environment’ module, which
skills, begins in pre-school education.              consists of career topics integrated with
Children start to discover education, their          entrepreneurship competencies and is an
parents’ workplaces and the concept of work          obligatory part of every VET curriculum.

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Lifelong Guidance in Estonia 2021 - Euroguidance Network
General education                                     In addition, the curricula are accompanied
                                                      by the syllabi of the elective subject and
The national curricula establishes the                elective course in careers education, which
standard for basic and general secondary              enhances the use of this possibility in the
education. The curricula are implemented              school curriculum.
in all basic (grades 1-9) and upper secondary
schools (grades 10-12) of Estonia.                    Rajaleidja centres organise the provision and
                                                      development of educational counselling
The national curricula does not dictate               services for parents, teachers and other
to schools the precise actions to be taken            educators of young people with special
to achieve the set goals, but allows each             education needs (ages 1.5-18). The centres
school to select the best ways, methods and           employ speech therapists, psychologists,
means based on the specifics and abilities            social pedagogues and special educational
of the school. The school is obliged to ensure        teachers. The centres have been part of The
the availability of career-related services.          Education and Youth Board since August
This includes career counselling and career           2020.
information services provided by PES or other
means for making career services accessible           As part of the youth guarantee, the Ministry
to students (e.g. employing a career                  of Education and Research also launched
counsellor in the staff). The national basic          an initiative to support young people aged
school and national upper secondary school            7-26 when entering and coping in the
curricula include eight compulsory central            labour market and to bring young people
topics, one of which supports pupils’ career          that are not in education or work (NEETs)
planning – ‘Lifelong learning and career              back to education. The Youth Prop Up

                                                                                                      Aivo Kallas

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and ‘Hoog Sisse’ (in the City of Tallinn) are
support programmes for young persons
aged 15-26 who are not involved in studies
or employment. The main aim of these
programmes is to support young people in
need who may have been made redundant
or have not completed their education and
are not currently studying. The format of
the programmes attempts to assist youth
in realising their potential and returning to
being a productive member of society as
quickly as possible, raising their confidence
and self-esteem.

According to the Basic Schools and Upper
Secondary Schools Act, it is also possible
to conduct studies in Estonia by following
the curriculum formulated under the aegis
of either the International Baccalaureate
Organization (IBO) or the Statute of the
                                                 Erlend Staub

European Schools. These curricula are
designed foremost for the children of the
foreign officials and specialists working in
                                                                a generic skill module which deals with
                                                                career-related topics and the principles of
Vocational education and                                        entrepreneurship. Since autumn 2020, a
training                                                        new module ‘Learning path and working
                                                                in a changing environment’ has been
The goal of the Vocational Educational                          implemented. According to national
Institutions Act is to set out the basics of                    curricula, the module is compulsory at level
the organisation of studies in vocational                       4 (vocational secondary education) and
education institutions. The task of a                           recommended at levels 2-5.
vocational education institution is to create
opportunities for students to obtain the                        The aim of the studies is for students to
knowledge, skills and ethical guidance                          be capable of developing their careers in
necessary for life and work, including                          a modern economic, entrepreneurial and
professional training and retraining,                           working environment based on the principles
considering the needs of society, students                      of lifelong guidance. Passing the module
and the labour market.                                          will help learners acknowledge professional
                                                                studies as one step in their career path and
Until the end of the academic period                            take responsibility for their learning and
2019/2020, the development of career                            development. The curriculum describes the
management skills takes place in vocational                     learning outcomes and assessment criteria
education both through vocational                               of the module. The implementation of
training and generic skills modules. In every                   the module is decided by the educational
vocational education curriculum, there is                       institutions themselves.

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Career development competencies are                  educational institutions to carry out Choice
also developed throughout the course.                of profession training. The curriculum
Great emphasis is placed on practice,                (30-60 ECTS) mainly focuses on career
the preparation for which and direct                 management skills and their development,
feedback from the supervisor helps learners          with the aim of supporting young people
understand their studies, set goals and              in making decisions about their future
determine the need for development. From             education pathway or transition to the
2021, the new occupational qualification             labour market. The main target group
standard for VET teachers is bringing                consists of dropouts of primary school, upper
attention to the relevant activities to              secondary school or vocational school, NEET
support students’ personal and professional          young people, students with special needs,
development.                                         etc. who need additional support in their
                                                     choice of profession and when entering
In addition to the aforementioned,                   studies or employment.
vocational educational institutions also
have the possibility to include career
development as an elective subject in the            Higher education
curriculum. Some vocational educational
institutions have their own career counsellor        The goal of the Higher Education Act is
or educational counsellor who supports               to set the procedure for the organisation
learners throughout the learning process             of studies in universities and graduation
from admission.                                      from universities as well as the forms and
                                                     conditions of obtaining higher education.
Amendments to the Vocational Educational             The act applies to private universities as far
Institutions Act, adopted in December 2018,          as the Private Schools Act does not provide
opened up the possibility for vocational             otherwise.

                                                                                                      Tallinn University

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Guidance is available for student candidates          exchange options and incoming exchange
and students at six public universities. The          students are supported throughout their
overall aim is to support student candidates          application process and during studies.
in their career choices and students in their
studies and to offer a number of services that
help students develop personal life skills and        Employment Sector
achieve success in the labour market.
                                                      The provision of active and passive
Career counselling provides students with             labour market measures, including the
support in career planning, making study-             career information service and career
and job-related decisions and developing              counselling and the payment of labour
their job-seeking skills. Career counsellors          market benefits, is available through the
support students in making career choices             Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund
and career plans, self-analysis, searching and        (Eesti Töötukassa, the PES) free of charge
applying for a job, writing a CV and cover            all over Estonia. The legal basis of the
letter and preparing for a job interview. Both        activities of PES is defined by two laws:
individual counselling and group services             The Unemployment Insurance Act, which
are provided, involving university staff and          describes the unemployment insurance
external experts.                                     system and the organisation of PES, and the
                                                      Labour Market Services and Benefits Act,
Tutoring by student volunteers is also                which contains the provisions concerning job
available, e.g. for first-year students and           mediation and the related services.
international students who are starting their
studies. Tutors are senior students who are           The strategy in the employment sector
ready to provide additional guidance and              foresees the provision of career information
information on several matters, ranging from          and counselling to all people regardless
the study system and student life to living           of their employment status. This includes
conditions in Estonia.                                working adults having the opportunity to
                                                      participate in career guidance, either at the
In addition, students are also supported              employment office or in the workplace. In
with psychological counselling in the event           addition to existing labour market measures,
that problems arise during studies or in their        a special approach designed for young
personal life. Students with special needs            people without professional education
get help if they need to change or adapt              or work experience was introduced (My
the content of studies arising from the               First Job). The measure aims to decrease
curriculum, the organisation of work or the           youth unemployment due to little or
study environment in order to guarantee the           no work experience and to help youth
opportunity for maximum participation in the          without specialised education find a job.
study process and individual development.             Wage subsidies combined with training
Universities help students with special needs         compensation can be granted to employers
upon entering the university, participating in        who hire these young people.
studies, making exams and tests, providing
study materials as well as creating a suitable        The PES is providing unemployment
social and physical environment.                      prevention measures. These services are
                                                      targeted towards employees who need
Regarding international mobility, Estonian            support in changing jobs or remaining
students are advised on numerous student              employed due to lack of skills, outdated skills

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or not being able to continue in their current         the new interactive Career Centre was
position due to health problems as well                opened in 2020 in Tallinn. The Centre has
as towards employers to support them in                a variety of interactive tools that help a
finding and training suitably skilled workforce        person discover and analyse skills, strengths
and restructuring their companies. The new             and preferences and learn about study and
services include:                                      employment opportunities in a fun, engaging
• a degree study allowance for an                      way. There are exciting expos, including job
    employed person or a person registered             interview simulator, virtual reality devices to
    as unemployed for obtaining vocational             introduce different jobs, hands-on tools to
    education, professional higher education           test skills, animations, tests, etc. The Centre
    or Bachelor’s studies;                             is unique to the region, where through the
• labour market training with a training               use of interactive solutions and gamification,
    card for employed persons at risk of               it is possible to find the most suitable career
    unemployment; and                                  opportunity. Most expos are available in
• support for obtaining qualifications for             three languages - Estonian, Russian and
    employed persons who have undergone                English.
    labour market or other training with the
    support of the training benefit and a
    training grant for employers for improving         Private sector
    the skills and knowledge of their
    employees upon their recruitment and               We can see the change in career
    helping them adapt to changes in the               management discourse in the media and the
    employer’s economic activities.                    private sector. The sector has become more
                                                       active and open. This creates opportunities
If employed people want to receive support             for career coaches, career counsellors and
from PES for obtaining a degree or attending           other professionals to design and provide
training, as a first step, they need to meet           services for a variety of target groups
with a PES career counsellor to discuss the            (from CEOs to teachers, youth workers and
skills or knowledge that need to be obtained           entrepreneurs).
to continue working. The counsellor discusses
with the person whether the training                   Based on the main services, companies
supports the acquisition of these skills and           providing career guidance for a fee can be
whether the person is in the target group for          divided into two categories:
the training PES can provide.
                                                       Consulting companies mainly provide career
As one of the targets is to support smooth             counselling (for both outplacement and
transitions between education and work,                career development purposes), coaching and
students and young people hold special                 competency assessment. Their main target
importance. The biggest client group                   groups are:
receiving career services is in fact students          • companies interested in using their
from general education. PES provides group                human resources as efficiently as possible,
counselling, workshops and individual career              assessing teamwork within the company,
guidance for students in grades 7-12, students            for outplacement reasons or as a tool for
in vocational education or youth in general.              employer branding and talent retention.
                                                          In addition, career development services
To provide a more creative, open and self-                for managerial staff, specialists and
exploratory space for career development,                 spokespersons; and

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•   individuals looking for a career change            counselling or coaching, etc. This sector
                  or a new challenge or considering                  has seen the transition from employer-
                  entrepreneurship. This target group has            centred to candidate-centred services.
                  grown in recent years as lifestyle design          It has resulted in seminars, blogs and
                  has become more available. This has                consultations for individuals looking for new
                  influenced the rise of individual career           challenges. This is partly due to the need to
                  counsellors as entrepreneurs, coaches as           retain good relationships with high-quality
                  work-life designers and marketers as self-         candidates, knowing that the lifespan of
                  marketing (video CV, social media design,          an engagement with one company is lower
                  blogging) advisors. As entrepreneurship is         than before.
                  popularised, self-employment requires a
                  new type of consulting for the individual.         A new initiative is Education Technology
                  Currently, there are several small                 Estonia, (also known as EdTech) refers
                  consulting businesses covering a variety           to an area of technology devoted to
                  of topics from finding a career path to            the development and application of
                  work interview preparation and personal            tools (including software, hardware, and
                  branding.                                          processes) intended for education. Their
                                                                     focus and activities are ensuring future
              Recruitment companies – services for job               generations in the field of educational
              seekers (tools for inserting CVs, CV revisions,        innovation, increasing cooperation with
              consultations) and recruitment services                teachers, students, parents, educational
              for companies. As a marketing tool, they               institutions and the state, and increasing
              usually also offer online information about            the sector’s exports. EdTech Estonia brings
              careers and training opportunities, tests,             together and represents EdTech companies.
Adobe Stock

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Kristi Sits
Digital Solutions
E-Governance is a strategic choice for                resident has an electronic ID and, in most
Estonia to improve the competitiveness of             cases, there is no need to physically visit an
the state and increase the well-being of              agency providing the service.
its people while implementing hassle-free
governance. The modern infrastructure has
made it possible to build a safe e-services           Data Sources and Tools
ecosystem. An important part of this
ecosystem is flexibility and the ability to           The data on the educational system is
integrate its different parts while improving         gathered into the web-based national
e-services and allowing government systems            register, the Education Information
to grow. X-Road has become the backbone               System stores information about
of e-Estonia, allowing the nation’s public and        educational institutions, teachers, and
private sector information systems to link up         graduation documents. It allows teachers
and operate in harmony. Citizens can select           to get an overview of their students, for the
e-solutions from among a range of public              government to gain insights into educational
services at any time and place convenient             trends, and is useful for students, as well.
to them, as 99% of public services are now            The visual educational statistics database
available to citizens as e-services. Every            Haridussilm (‘educational eye’) allows a

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comparison of schools based on a series                     discover what we should teach students to
of indicators. For the integration of various               prepare them for the future labour market
education and labour market services,                       and what opportunities the application of
numerous information systems have been                      different technologies in teaching offers.
developed which are compatible with the
EHIS and facilitate the integration of services.
For example, there is the Examination                       Digital solutions and lifelong
Information System, Study Admission                         guidance
Information System, Study Information
System, Research Information System,                        The daily work of the career guidance
Register of Professions. Furthermore, Study                 practitioners is intertwined with the use of
in Estonia is the official guide to higher                  various ICT solutions. The use of ICT here is
education providing the possibilities for                   multi-faceted: practitioners are both ICT
studying for international students.                        users and the creators of new values through
                                                            their use of ICT solutions.
A new tool is the Education Technology
Compass maps the technology trends that                     The ICT solutions can be broadly divided into
most affect the educational landscape in                    the following two groups:
the coming years and helps the educators                    • For service provision, including web
stay informed about the development of                         pages, databases, educational software,
technology and related teaching methods in                     games, social media channels, and
the world. A review is completed each year                     e-tests;
and focuses on selected topics and identifies               • For internal processes, including
the current state of the Estonian schools and                  documentation management, customer
new opportunities emerged with the aim to                      management, feedback solutions,

  Different solutions and tools for schools

         Education                                 eKool and
   Technology Compass                              Stuudium
     helps educators to                   e-school solutions for
     discover and apply                    schools to organize
                                                                                         digital learning
       technologies in                          teaching and
         teaching.                                 learning.
                         digital competence
                     model and learner’s digital
                  competence model provides                        Digital Mirror
                      learners and teachers a                     helps schools to
                  common basis for analysing                   evaluate their level of
                       digital competence in                     ‘digital maturity’.

  Figure 2. Digital solutions for schools

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information exchange in cloud-based                        open mind, quick readiness to learn new skills
       solutions, and e-learning environments.                    and experimenting with methods.

OSKA (‘Future Trends of Work’) analyses                           Career practitioners use a variety of
the needs for labour and skills necessary                         electronically administered tests and
for economic development over the next                            evaluation tools, including personality tests,
10 years. Guidance practitioners consider                         career choice tests and aptitude tests etc.
OSKA as an important resource to support                          The online tests have been standardized on
both adults and young on their career                             norm groups consisting of school children
development1. OSKA reports are helpful                            and adults and are developed by few private
for professionals and client-centred data                         companies and in some cases by universities.
is made available in educational portal
                                                                  There have also been some new and
mentioned above.
                                                                  exciting digital tools for career development,
COVID-19 crisis in the world in 2020 disrupted                    including virtual reality applications of
the traditional face-to-face career guidance                      occupations, e.g. medical workers, youth
and intensified the need for e-guidance. As                       workers, metal industry, virtual tours
the crisis progressed several changes were                        of vocational education institutions
made in the provision of career services by                       and virtual guided tour for guidance
PES. There were time periods when the only                        professionals to learn digital tools available
way to provide career services was virtually,                     at the newly opened career centre. In
i.e. via Skype, MS Teams, telephone and                           addition, versatile technical environments
e-mail. From the perspective of individual                        for information exchange and group
services these means were already in use but                      counselling are in use. The most popular
never on such a large scale. New challenge                        tools for the involvement of young learners
was to provide workshops and group                                are Webquest, Zunal, Kahoot, Padlet, Coggle,
counselling via MS Teams which required                           Mentimeter and Actionbound.

1      Cedefop (2020). Strengthening skills anticipation and matching in Estonia: capitalising on OSKA’s potential to
       realise national ambitions. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

                              Minukarjää -                 Statistics Estonia
                      overview of
                learning opportunities                 tools for self-                 the economic,
                  and labour market                analysis and career              demographic, social
                information to support                    design.                  data, including about
                  individuals’ career                                                    salaries and
                     development.                                                       employment.

                                     Occupational                        OSKA -
                                           barometer -
                                                                             long-term prognosis
                                           an overview of the                   for the need of
                                          short-term demand                    labour and skills.
                                            for labour force.

    Figure 3. Guidance websites and labour force prognosis tools

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              Professional development
              of practitioners
              The majority of Estonian career guidance              the national standard, which is the central
              practitioners work in the public employment           framework for both the training system and
              service (the PES) as career counsellors               the awarding of qualifications.
              or career information specialists or in
              educational institutions as teachers or career        Recent research reveals that
              counsellors. No full academic qualification
                                                                    the occupational qualification
              is obtainable for the practitioners – most
              have a higher education degree in social
                                                                    system is clearly an essential
              or educational sciences (e.g. psychology,             component of quality
              teacher training, youth work and personnel            assurance with a focus on the
              management).                                          professional training of staff
                                                                    who deliver lifelong guidance
              However, the occupational qualification
              system is established to ensure the
              professional development of practitioners in          2   Psience (2020) Karjääriteenuste valdkonna kutsesüs-
              the field of career guidance. Occupational                teemi fookusgrupiuuring / Occupational qualifica-
                                                                        tion system in the field of career guidance: focus
              activities and competency requirements for                group study. Archimedes Foundation, Euroguidance
              occupational qualifications are identified in             Estonia.

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Career specialist as                                            describes the personal characteristics and
a profession                                                    skills that enhance occupational activities.
                                                                The description of work includes several
The occupational qualification system plays                     activities, such as individual and group
a significant role in ensuring the professional                 career counselling and information provision
development of practitioners in career                          of education, labour market and professions
guidance. The system was launched in 2006                       for groups and individuals. In addition, the
when the Estonian Qualification Authority                       main tasks and elective areas of work are
certified the Association of Estonian Career                    identified. The competence requirements
Counsellors for awarding and recertifying                       presented in part B of the standard serve as
occupational qualifications.                                    a basis for the assessment of the applicant
                                                                for the occupational qualification. When
The occupational qualification standard3                        applying for a career specialist qualification,
describes occupational activities and                           there is a need to demonstrate four
provides the competence requirements                            mandatory competencies and the recurring
for occupational qualifications and their                       competence. All competence descriptions
levels (see Table 1). Part A of the standard                    include performance indicators. The recurring
provides an overview of the nature of                           competence has been identified with
work, major parts of work and tasks,                            performance indicators, such as engagement
necessary tools and work environment,                           in self-reflection and continuous capacity
including the specificities of work, and                        building, customer focus, adherence to
                                                                professional ethics, goal-setting, outcome
                                                                analysis, language proficiency, team-
3   Register of occupational qualifications. Occupation-
                                                                building and use of technology. In addition,
    al Qualification Standards: Career Specialist, EstQF
    Level 7                                                     at least one of the elective competencies

Table 1. Career Specialist: description of work and competence requirements
          Part A: Description of work                             Part B: Competency requirements

                         TASKS                                       MANDATORY COMPETENCES
    1.   Promoting services                                     1.   Promotion of services
    2. Networking to provide services                           2. Networking to provide services
    3. Service development                                      3. Service development
    4. Instruction and training                                 4. Provision of instruction and

          ELECTIVE AREAS OF WORK                                      OPTIONAL COMPETENCES
    5. Career counselling                                       5. Career counselling
    6. Career information provision                             6. Career information provision

                                                                     RECURRING COMPETENCES

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must be demonstrated in the process,                    guidance competencies can be obtained in
either career information provision or career           various courses offered by public agencies
counselling.                                            and private training providers.

The current standard for career specialists is          One of the prerequisites for acquiring the
established at two professional qualification           career specialist qualification is completing
levels: 6 and 7. The levels are comparable to           the corresponding basic training which
levels of education – accordingly Bachelor’s            was initially designed in cooperation with
degree and Professional higher education                public agencies and several universities. The
certificate (level 6) and Master’s degree (level        trainings do not take place regularly and are
7). The main difference between the levels is           rather internal (organised upon request by
that in addition to service provision, the level        the main providers of career services).
7 practitioner has more extensive experience
in developing the field at the national or
international level, e.g. new tools, curricula,
                                                        The development of the
research or training.
                                                        practitioners’ professional
When becoming a career specialist or                    competencies on the basis
applying for a corresponding position,                  of the requirements of the
acquisition of the respective qualification is
                                                        occupational qualification
not required but rather recommended.
In addition to this, the PES has developed
                                                        standard is important;
its own competency framework for career
practitioners and provides further training             continuous professional training as well
for career practitioners. Framework is also an          as peer-coaching are available for this
essential part of performance discussion in             purpose. The range of training topics is
the PES.                                                broad, for example, characteristic features
                                                        of teenagers with special educational needs,
                                                        psychological evaluation tools, personality
Professional development                                and career testing, personal branding,
                                                        motivational interviewing, ICT skills, etc.
It is not yet possible in Estonia to acquire a
career specialist qualification in a concise            To ensure international exposure, speakers
manner. However, higher education                       and trainers from other countries are invited
institutions offer a variety of subjects                and practitioners have opportunities
(e.g. introduction to career counselling,               for learning mobility and exchanging
career counselling and coordination,                    practices with colleagues abroad. A recent
career counselling methods, a career                    study published by Euroguidance Estonia
counselling module as an elective subject               confirms that international learning mobility
in human resource management and                        enables career professionals to improve
development, organisational behaviour, a                their professional language skills, expand
career information module in the Master’s               their professional network and adopt new
curriculum of information management).                  guidance practices4.
The most comprehensive programme for
                                                        4   Tamm, A, & Vaade, V. (2019) Rahvusvaheline koostöö
career counsellors is offered by the Institute              karjäärispetsialistide pilgu läbi /International co-
                                                            operation through the eyes of career guidance
of Psychology of the University of Tartu
                                                            professionals. Archimedes Foundation, Euroguidance
(Master’s level; 60 ECTS). Furthermore, career              Estonia

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Future qualifications                                    them employed as well as the changing
                                                         expectations of employees for their
OSKA analyses the need for the labour                    career paths;
and skills necessary for Estonia’s economic          •   There are no career guidance degree
development over the next 10 years. OSKA’s               studies available. Continuing education
applied research surveys on sectoral needs               opportunities need to be developed
for labour and skills are unique because                 further to ensure the best solutions for
they use a combination of qualitative and                their training;
quantitative research methods and analyse            •   In the field of human resource
professional qualifications across all levels            management and career services,
of education. Five economic sectors are                  the ability to deal with employees
examined each year.                                      of different cultural backgrounds,
                                                         persons with reduced work ability and
In 2018, the study of labour force and                   senior citizens becomes increasingly
skills anticipation in the field of human                important;
resources, including career services,                •   Human resource managers are
administrative work and business                         expected to be more employee-
consultation, was completed. The key                     centred and have career development
findings show that over ten years:                       competencies as well as knowledge of
• The demand for career services is                      business fundamentals and finances; and
    increasing due to the need to bring more         •   There is increasing demand for ICT and
    people to the labour market and keep                 marketing competencies.

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          International Co-operation
              Lifelong guidance is on the agenda of                 the Estonian Euroguidance Centre, placed
              many international forums. The main aims              in the newly established governmental
              and components of the Estonian guidance               agency - the Education and Youth Board.
              system are very much in line with EU and              The European network of Euroguidance
              OECD recommendations on guidance                      Centres includes centres in 34 European
              policies and practices. The importance of             countries and supports the competence
              promoting an international dimension in               development of the guidance community
              Estonian guidance is a value and therefore            on the European dimension of lifelong
              co-operation with partners outside Estonia is         guidance. Its main target group consists of
              our priority – experience from other countries        guidance practitioners and policy-makers in
              inspires us in meeting the challenges and             all European countries.
              opportunities at home.
                                                                    Since the year 2000 Estonia has been part
              We are active partners in the following               of the Academia network which aims at
              guidance and mobility networks:                       providing practitioners with an opportunity
                                                                    to improve their knowledge and skills in an
              Many of the international activities for              international context, to study the changes
              guidance practitioners are initiated by               that take place in Europe, and to learn from

                                                               UP                                             I 23
the experiences of their colleagues in other          systems for career guidance. Participation at
countries. In the framework of Academia,              the ICCDPP symposia has offered Estonian
hundreds of professionals from European               country teams the opportunity to share
countries have visited Estonia and hundreds           ideas, analyse contemporary challenges to
of our practitioners have participated in             career development systems, and develop
learning mobility across Europe.                      new thinking.

The NICE Foundation represents 47 founders            Estonia is also represented in the network for
from 23 European countries, including                 lifelong guidance and career development
higher education institutions, organisations          CareersNet. The Cedefop’s network of
and individuals, who are dedicated to                 independent experts was created to collect
academic training in career guidance and              comparable and reliable information on
counselling. The main mission of the network          a European scale in the field of lifelong
is to promote excellence and innovation in            guidance and career development issues.
academic, research-based training of career           The gathered information and analysis
practitioners in Europe.                              aims at identification of gaps and solutions,
                                                      beyond a snapshot of national guidance
The Nordplus funded VALA is a network                 systems.
of higher education institutions, in the
Nordic and Baltic countries and focuses               Furthermore, since 2015 Estonian guidance
on academic training in the field of                  professionals meet on a regular basis with
lifelong guidance. Partner institutions have          colleagues from Nordic countries at the
established the network to be able to better          e-Guidance and e-Governance events
prepare career counsellors and guidance               to share experiences on how the countries
workers for the diverse clients they work             have been progressing in integrating career
with. The broad aim of the network is to              guidance within the overall e-Governance
increase professionalization and strengthen           structures in their country.
co-operation between higher education
institutions and the labour market, and               A new momentum was gained with the
between research, practice and policy.                International Association for Educational
                                                      and Vocational Guidance, IAEVG. The
International Centre for Career                       Memorandum of Understanding has been
Development and Public Policy aims to                 signed with the Euroguidance network and
facilitate and promote international policy           the Estonian representative has officially
sharing and learning on career development            been certified as the IAEVG national
and public policy issues globally. The purpose        correspondent to enable systematic
of sharing is to help countries and policy            exchange of inspiring professional
developers to improve national policies and           information.

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          Education System
              In Estonia, the structure of the education          instruction is mainly Estonian but another
              system gives opportunities for everyone to          language may be used by the decision of the
              move from one level of education to the             local authority.
              next. The levels of education are pre-school
              education (ISCED level 0), basic education          General requirements for the organisation
              (ISCED levels 1 and 2), upper secondary             of vocational education studies have been
              education (ISCED level 3) and higher                established in the Standard of Vocational
              education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8). The            Education. Vocational upper secondary
              organisation and principles of the education        studies are regulated by 21 national
              system are established in the Education Act         curricula within various fields. The general
              and specified in lower level acts structured        requirements for higher education studies,
              by type of educational institution.                 curricula and teaching staff are established
                                                                  in the Standard of Higher Education.
              Studies in preschools and basic and upper
              secondary schools are conducted under               The vast majority of preschool childcare
              three uniform national curricula, based on          institutions and general education schools
              which the educational institutions compile          are municipal schools, but the number of
              their own curricula. The language of                private schools is increasing. Vocational

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schools are mostly state-owned and                      basic education is acquired or until a student
universities − institutions in public law. More         reaches 17 years of age. Acquisition of basic
than half of professional higher education              education grants the right to continue
institutions are state-owned and the others             studies in upper secondary education. In
are private institutions.                               order to graduate, students must have
                                                        at least ‘satisfactory’ annual grades in all
Management of the education system                      subjects and pass final examinations with at
is based on the principle of reasonable                 least a satisfactory result.
decentralisation. The division of responsibility
between the state, local government and                 As a special measure to react to the
school is clearly defined. In recent years, the         pandemic effects on the education system,
state supervision system has been replaced              the government decided for this year that
with an internal assessment system in                   graduating does not depend on the results of
general education schools. In vocational                final exams.
education, too, the replacement of the
accreditation system by quality assessment              Upper secondary schools are designed
has shifted the emphasis from control to the            to help students become creative, multi-
provision of advice and guidance to schools.            talented, socially mature and reliable
Learning outcomes are determined in                     citizens. The study programme at upper
national curricula. Teachers have the right to          secondary school is arranged into mandatory
choose their own teaching methodology and               and voluntary courses and the studies last
materials. Teachers’ continuous professional            for three years. To graduate, students must
development is supported by a central                   complete a curriculum consisting of 96
system.                                                 individual courses as a minimum. At the end
                                                        of their studies, students must pass three
Preschool education is delivered to                     state exams and school examinations.
children between the ages of 18 months to               Attaining general upper secondary
7 years in specially dedicated educational              education entitles students to continue
institutions. The main aim of the early                 studies at a higher education level or obtain
stages of education is to support children’s            vocational education.
individuality, creativity and learning through
play. In Estonia, pre-primary education is              Vocational education serves the purpose
not only childcare, but a part of education             of fostering the knowledge, skills and
that combines several child-centred active              attitudes, occupational know-how and social
learning methods based on the national                  readiness required for working, participating
curriculum. 94% of 4-7-year-olds participate            in social life and lifelong learning. Vocational
in the activities of pre-school institutions.           education is divided into initial and
                                                        continuing VET. Initial vocational education is
Basic education serves as the mandatory                 part of formal education that gives learners
minimum of general education requirement,               access to the next qualification level.
which can be acquired either partially in               Non-formal continuing VET is part of adult
primary schools (grades 1 to 6), basic schools          learning. Vocational programmes take place
(grades 1 to 9) or upper secondary schools              at the levels of the Estonian Qualification
that include basic school level. Compulsory             Framework, with level 2 being vocational
education applies to children who have                  education without the requirement of
reached 7 years of age by 1 October of the              basic education, level 3 being based on
current year. Compulsory school lasts until             basic education, level 4 being vocational

26 I                                               UP
secondary education (or based on secondary            Curricula, including many in English, are
education) and level 5 being specialised              characterised by innovation and a particular
vocational training.                                  focus on information technology and
Vocational education is free of charge,
regardless of age, educational background             Estonian research is world class: 10% of our
and individual needs. Nearly half of all              scientific articles are among the most cited
vocational students are adults. Companies             articles in the world. The University of Tartu
collaborate closely with VET institutions             belongs in the top 1.2% of the world’s best
in curriculum development and creating                universities (THE World University Rankings
apprenticeship opportunities.                         2020, QS World University Rankings 2020).
                                                      The EstCube satellite, electric formula
Higher education studies have three                   car and self-driving car are examples of
levels: Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral             extraordinary student projects.
studies. Professional higher education is,
similarly to Bachelor’s, the first level of           Life-long learning enables the acquisition
higher education, which ensures access to             of formal education at all levels of education
Master’s studies. Higher education is flexible        and participation in professional education
and accessible. It is supported by a wide             and training as well as in non-formal
range of study forms, considers learning and          education. The forms of adult education are
work experience in studying and provides              diverse, and adult education is very popular.
the opportunity to work during studies.

                                Life-long learning


                                                         Master’s degree
    Integrated Master’s degree
                                                 Bachelor’s            Professional
                                                  degree                education

        Secondary education                           Vocational Education

                                 Basic Education

                           Pre-primary education

  Figure 4: Education System In Estonia
  Source: Education Estonia

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Labour Market Data
Estonia’s population of working age is almost                                                                                     The highest registered unemployment
700 000, with the labour force participation                                                                                      rate is in Ida-Viru, Valga and Pärnu
rate around 71.6% (Statistics Estonia, 2020).                                                                                     counties. The lowest unemployment rate
About one third of the workforce have                                                                                             is in Jõgeva and Hiiu county. The average
higher education and 86% of adults speak                                                                                          unemployment rate was 8,8 % at the end
at least one foreign language. For the older                                                                                      of February 2021. In the majority of the
generation the main foreign language is                                                                                           regions the unemployment rate was close
Russian and for younger adults English.                                                                                           to the average unemployment rate. The
In the graph below, it is shown the number                                                                                        highest number of unemployed people are
of unemployed people out of people in the                                                                                         in Harju and Ida-Viru counties where the
working age, and the number of registered                                                                                         overall population is highest. There are 4%
unemployed. Since the peak of the economic                                                                                        more registered unemployed women than
crisis in 2010, the overall and the registered                                                                                    men, before COVID-19 the share was equal
unemployment was declining. The Covid-                                                                                            between men and women. COVID-19 crisis
19 crisis has changed the picture and the                                                                                         has mostly affected those working in tourism
number of unemployed has been increasing.                                                                                         and hospitality sector.

                     140 000

                     120 000
  Number of people

                     100 000

                      80 000

                      60 000

                      40 000

                      20 000


                               2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

                           Number of unemployed (aged 15-74)                                                                      Registered unemployed (aged 16 - pension age)
                           Inflow of registered unemployed                                                                        Outflow of registered unemployed

  Figure 5. Number of unemployed 2003 – 2020. Source: Unemployment Insurance Fund

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Registered unemployment

                                         Harjumaa                           9,0%
                                           8,3%                                               Ida-Virumaa

                          8,8%         Raplamaa              Järvamaa
           Hiiumaa                       8,3%                  8,4%

         Saaremaa                    10.2%                                         Tartumaa
           6,8%                                          Viljandimaa                 6,9%


Figure 6: Registered unemployment in counties by 31.01.2021.
Source: Unemployment Insurance Fund

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