A description and an appraisal of EVGP Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner

A description and an appraisal of EVGP Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner

EVGP is the framework for accrediting career guidance practitioners at international level launched on the 2007 by IAEVG International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (note 1).

What is accredited and official name

The framework accredits the Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner certified (note 2) by the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance.

Features of reference for accreditation

Every system of accreditation has a set of features that is taken as reference and that who wants to be accredit has to possess or master. EVGP is a mixed system. To be certified the candidate needs both personal features and should be able to master several job activities. Amongst the elements we find:

• Knowledge, such as Knowledge of updated information on educational, training, employment trends, labor market, and social issues (core competency n.8)
• Attitudes, such as Demonstrate awareness and appreciation of clients’ cultural differences to interact effectively with all populations (core competency n.3)
• Skills, such as Ability to communicate effectively with colleague or clients, using the appropriate level of language (core competency n.7)
• Job tasks, such as Identify situations requiring referral to specialized services (specialized competency n. 1.3.). Job tasks are listed only as specialized competencies.

The elements are grouped in core competencies and specialized competencies. The core competencies are the following:

1. Demonstrate ethical behavior and professional conduct in the fulfillment of roles and responsibilities
2. Demonstrate advocacy and leadership in advancing clients learning, career development and personal concerns
3. Demonstrate awareness and appreciation of clients’ cultural differences to interact effectively with all populations
4. Integrate theory and research into practice in guidance, career development, counseling, and consultation
5. Skills to design, implement and evaluate guidance and counselling programs and interventions
6. Demonstrate awareness of his/her own capacity and limitations
7. Ability to communicate effectively with colleague or clients, using the appropriate level of language
8. Knowledge of updated information on educational, training, employment trends, labor market, and social issues
9. Social and cross-cultural sensitiveness
10. Skills to cooperate effectively in a team of professionals
11. Demonstrate knowledge of lifelong career development process

The Specialized Competencies are 80 and are grouped in areas. The areas are the following:

  • 1. Assessment: Analysis of the characteristics and needs of the individual group to whom the program is addressed, and also of the context where they are inserted, including all agents involved. The aim is to integrate and evaluate data from inventories, tests, interviews, scales and other techniques that measure an individual’s abilities, aptitudes, barriers, life roles, interests, personality, values, attitudes, educational achievements, skills and other relevant information. This specialization includes the related but distinct competency of test interpretation, that is, explaining to a client the results of an assessment and their implications.
  • 2. Educational Guidance: Assisting individuals to select courses, make educational plans, overcome learning difficulties, and prepare for post-secondary education, training or entry into the workforce. Guidance is often done in large groups, in contrast to counseling which is more often done with individuals or small groups.
  • 3. Career Development: Fostering the attitudes, beliefs, and competencies that facilitate mastery of vocational development tasks, the ability to plan and adaptation to work-role transitions over the life-span. It typically uses a developmental model.
  • 4. Counselling: Prompting self-reflection to clarify self-concepts, identify options, make decisions, and resolve difficulties.
  • 5. Information Management: Collecting, organizing, maintaining, and disseminating information pertinent to education, training, occupations, and employment opportunities; coaching clients in its effective use.
  • 6. Consultation and Coordination: Providing information, guidance, and professional advice to parents, teachers, school administrators, and employers who wish to facilitate the educational progress and career development of their charges. Organizing and managing school and community personnel to create referral sources for students regarding programs, services and networks.
  • 7. Research and Evaluation: Studying issues related to guidance and counseling, such as learning processes, vocational behavior and its development, values, etc. Examining the effectiveness of interventions.
  • 8. Program and Service Management: Designing, implementing, supervising and evaluating interventions to address the needs of a target population.
  • 9. Community Capacity Building: Encouraging collaboration between community partners to assess human capital and community needs, as well as developing plans to address the economic, social, educational, and employment goals of the community.
  • 10. Placement: Supporting individuals in their efforts to obtain occupational positions by teaching job search skills and creating employment opportunities.

For example the specialized competencies of area 1 Assessment are:

1.1 Accurately and thoroughly conceptualize and diagnose clients’ needs based on different assessment tools and techniques
1.2 Use the data derived from assessment appropriately and according to the situation
1.3 Identify situations requiring referral to specialized services
1.4 Facilitate effective referral by means of initiating contacts between referral sources and individuals
1.5 Maintain up-to-date listings of referral sources
1.6 Conduct a needs assessment of the clients’ contexts

In general the candidate is considered to possess each specific competency if he/she has participated to a training focused on that or if two experts declare he has that (see the Applicant self assessment contained in the Application for Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner EVGP pag.10-19). If none of them applies, then the candidate to prove his/her competence can submit ‘artifacts’ (pag.5) proving extensive professional experience in the areas of specialization.

Preliminary requirements for accreditation

In EVGP minimum requirements are a combination of formal education and experience. For example High School Diploma must be coupled with a minimum experience of 4,000 hours (estimated 4 years) (p.4). On the other extreme Graduate Degree in guidance and counselling, or equivalent (e.g., Master’s, Doctorate) is coupled with a minimum experience of 1,000 hours.

Another requirement is the candidate proves to be competent in all the core competencies and at least in one area of specialization (pag.2).

The features and the process of the assessment (pag.5)

Applicants seeking designation as an EVGP must apply to the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) with a portfolio containing at least the following components:

1. A Personal Reflective Statement outlining the candidate’s career guidance philosophy
2. Documentation of formal or informal education relating to this credential. (optional)
3. Self-assessment of competencies.
4. Verification of career development experience, signed by an employer
5. Artifacts (evidence) applied to each of the competencies with rationales (note 3).
6. Copy of diploma, degree, or transcript for hightest educational level completed.
7. Open-book Jurisprudence Assessment documenting the applicant’s familiarity with the ethical standards. The Jurisprudence Assessment is under development and will not be required of initial applicants.
8. Competency Review by two individuals qualified to assess the applicant in cases where no documentation of formal training exists (pag.10).

The granting organization, cost, duration

The EVGP application process is managed on behalf of IAEVG by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE). CCE is an American organization specialized in credentialing. The cost of the Application Review is 90 dollars. EVGP certification is valid for three years.

An appraisal

As said in Chapter 7, usually accreditation in the career guidance field is focused only on practitioners delivering the services, i.e. delivering information, facilitating small groups and delivering career advice or career counseling in 1:1 interviews. This because service delivery is the more common activity and practitioners delivering the services are the one at direct contact with the clients, so their low competence can harm the clients more than practitioners not at direct contact.

The main pitfall of EVGP it is it allows to credential people not delivering career guidance (mistake typology 1. Poor individuation of the elements the candidate to validation has to possess or to master to get accredited described in chapter 5). Let see how. Amongst the so called core competencies, only 2 (number 2 and number 8) are directly related to career guidance delivery.

  • Core competencies 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 are not specific to career guidance, so, basing on them, also people working in other sectors could be credentialed. For example a person in charge of IT assistance could prove competent on Demonstrate ethical behavior and professional conduct in the fulfillment of roles and responsibilities (1), Demonstrate awareness and appreciation of clients’ cultural differences to interact effectively with all populations (3), Integrate theory and research into practice in its activity (4), Demonstrate awareness of his/her own capacity and limitations (6), Ability to communicate effectively with colleague or clients, using the appropriate level of language (7), Social and cross-cultural sensitiveness (9), Skills to cooperate effectively in a team of professionals (10).
  • Core competency 5. Skills to design, implement and evaluate guidance and counselling programs and interventions is focused not on career guidance delivery, but on management of career guidance services.
    Core competencies 8. Knowledge of updated information on educational, training, employment trends, labor market, and social issues and 11. Demonstrate knowledge of lifelong career development process are related to knowledge, so a practitioner could prove competent here even if it has never delivered career guidance
  • Core competency 2. Demonstrate advocacy and leadership in advancing clients learning, career development and personal concerns is related to a specific but partial aspect of career guidance delivery (advocacy of clients and leadership).

In synthesis, core competencies are not enough focused on career guidance delivery, and so not effective in recognizing competent practitioners in the main career guidance activity, delivery.

But EVGP requires the practitioner to prove competence also in at least one specialist area. Is this going to change the picture? Unfortunately not. Many areas of specialized competencies have the same pitfalls of the core competencies.

  • Area 4 counselling is concerned with counseling on personal issues, and so mostly external to career guidance. The fields on which the candidate has to prove competent are the following: 4.6.1 Prevention of personal problems, 4.6.2 Personality development, 4.6.3 Personal problem solving, 4.6.4 Decision making, 4.6.5 Sexual identity, 4.6.6 Social skills, 4.6.7 Health education , 4.6.8 Use of leisure time.
  • Area 6 Consultation and Coordination and 9. Community Capacity Building are respectively secondary or external activities in career guidance (no career guidance practitioner earns a living with these).
  • Area 7 Research and Evaluation and 8.Program and Service Management are different by career guidance delivery (and by the way credentialing as researcher is granted by universities).

Summing up, EVGP makes possible to get credentialed as Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner people that have never delivered one hour of career guidance, but instead have been involved in sexual identity or health education, research, management, local development. True, some of the core competences are related to career guidance, but to prove possess of a competence, participation in a training course is considered enough. This way a sexologist that has attended a training course on career guidance could be credentialed as Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner.

The same title ‘Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner’ is attributed to people carrying out very different activities.

Part of this design fault is probably due to the desire to develop a framework allowing all the members of IAEVG to get credentialed. IAEVG is an association to which everybody ‘concerned’ in CG guidance can enroll (note 4), even without specific practice in CG delivery.

Another pitfall is the assessment is all paper based (there is not direct assessment of the candidate), and assessment is not focused on performance. Attending a course, a declaration of an expert on candidate competence (note 5), a prove of a minimum predetermined experience suffice to be licensed. This way what the assessment process proves is not competent performance, but only precisely training and work experience. This in a process of assessment can be only a first step (see what said at chapter 6). However, no additional steps are provided with EVGP. If the final result of all the assessment procedure is just to license practitioners who have a set experience and training in CG, all the framework (core and specialized competencies) looks quite superfluous.

A final point is the assessment and credentialing is currently been entrusted to a single organization (CCE, Center for Credentialing & Education, based in the US).

• Control of credentials of their own members is one of the main task and power of every professional association. EVGP in its present form disempowers the national practitioners’ associations, where existing.
• It is open to scrutiny if an organization located in a specific continent (in this case North America) can well evaluate training and education attended in a different one (for example in Europe, Asia or South America). The examination of national practitioners credentials (including the training they underwent) is by far better evaluated by local (same country) organisations.
• EVGP can compete and interfere with national accreditation schemes (where existing).

Let see some cases:

• Countries, like France, where the requisites of the guidance counsellors are set by the law. EVGP accredits people that don’t have the minimum requisites requested by the national law to work in the field and confuse the consumers.

• Countries, like Italy, where the requisites of the guidance counsellors are not set by the law, but by practitioners’ associations. EVGP accredits people that don’t have the minimum requisites set by national associations.

• Countries where no accreditation scheme, nor set by the law neither by practitioners associations exists. This is the case where EVGP is most useful.

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Notes

1. IAEVG website at http://www.iaevg.org.
2. IAEVG (no date) Application for Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner EVGP, pg.10. Retrieved on February 3, 2011 from http://www.cce-global.org/Downloads/EVGP/app-en.pdf
3. According to the Application, applicants should indicate on the self-assessment, or in another similar way, which documentation supports their conclusion that they have achieved an acceptable level of competence for each of the competencies they rate as acceptable. Applicants must do this for all of the core competencies, and for the competencies in each of the specializations that they wish to have reviewed. The self-assessment need not be completed for specializations which applicants do not want reviewed.
4. Guidance counsellors or any other professional person concerned with educational and vocational guidance’. See the page Membership on IAEVG website. Retrieved on February 3, 2011 from http://iaevg.org/iaevg/nav.cfm?lang=2&menu=3&submenu=1
5. According to the application (p.21) ‘Competency reviewers will normally be people who have observed the applicant using the competency, and who by virtue of their training or position in the organization, would be viewed as competent to judge the adequacy of the competency. Such people normally would be direct supervisors of the applicant’s work, managers of an agency, practicum or internship supervisors, or colleagues with specialized training in the area under consideration.’ However, the form doesn’t require the ‘expert’ to describe its position on regard to the applicant, nor its expertise. The only question about expertise is if the expert is Certified/Licensed and by whom.

Bibliography

CCE Center for Credentialing & Education (no date). Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner, reperito il 22 gennaio 2011 all’indirizzo http://www.cce-global.org/EVGP

Evangelista L. (2007). Competencies and Career Guidance.

Evangelista L. (2008). The Quest for Competence.

Evangelista L. (2010a). Perché e come certificare l’apprendimento non formale e informale, 

Evangelista L. (2010b). Il progetto IMPROVE Improving Validation of Not-Formal Learning in European Career Guidance Practitioners.

IAEVG International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance http://iaevg.org/IAEVG/

IAEVG (senza data) Application for Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner EVGP, reperito il 22 gennaio 2011 all’indirizzo http://www.cce-global.org/Downloads/EVGP/app-en.pdf

Wikipedia (senza data) High school, reperito il 22 gennaio 2011 all’indirizzo http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_school

 

Article placed on the website www.orientamento.it. Author © Leonardo Evangelista (www.leonardoevangelista.it). Placed on the website on the 8 February 2011. Last modified 8 February 2011.This document has been produced for the project IMPROVE Improving Validation of Not-Formal Learning in European Career Guidance Practitioners 510640-LLP-1-2010-1-IT-GRUNDTVIG-GMP (2011-2012). The project has been partly funded by the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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