Contemporary education, the world of work, and career guidance and counseling as well, recognize different starting points, strengths and resources for different groups of people. As practitioners in these areas, it is evident that some clients have different problems to access the world of work and education. For example, some of them might have problems with physical or mental health or they are living in deprived and/or violent environment. We recognize that working with people from vulnerable groups requires specific education and specific programs of work. In the next lines we will present the key points that should be conisdered when it comes to planning and delivering career guidance services for adults from vulnerable groups.
Define their obstacles
Term vulnerable groups imply that their position is different from the position of the average person in the terms that because of their position it is more difficult for them to accomplish everyday tasks. The most evident example is when someone has chronic health problems that make learning difficult, for example, they need more time to remember something. Term vulnerable groups imply that they need more support and that current position and obstacles may be overcome. Coping mechanisms are precisely the process of overcoming obstacles, especially the mechanism focused on the problem. When we understand obstacles we can look for the specific solution and also teach our clients how to solve problems. Make a list of obstacles to entering the world of education and work and define together with them possible solutions, for example how to access certain building, find social support
Develop teamwork and find reliable partners
We can't do it all on our own and it is essential to know the system in which we are working. Especially when we work in the area of social inclusion in the world of education and work it is important to know how your service is interconnected with other services and who your partners are. What is the organization that you can call and ask for the medical referral? Which non-governmental organizations have programmes that can be complementary to your services, for example, psychology support groups? Sometimes this is easier said than done, but we need to recognize that developing a network of partners empowers both us and the clients. We can be peaceful knowing that even if we are not able to provide a certain kind of support, there is some other place where they can be supported, while the clients know that there are different people, organizations ready to support them.
Advocate for social justice
Sometimes during our work, we will realize that certain policies are not inclusive enough, or certain prejudices are present with employers, teachers or society in general. It is important that we as practitioners give voice to the observed need and gap in the system and ask for better services and treatment. For example, explain to employers that mental health users are equally productive workers as others, or that we need better company policies for sick leave.
Send the message of hope, develop realistic optimism
Maybe one of the most important messages that any service should send is: There are various ways and opportunities to achieve what you need. You are the person that can learn, work and be an important member of our society. Of course, there will be some limits regarding our educational and employment options but there are limits regarding that for everyone. We need to send that even within the limits we can develop career opportunities.