The Ministry of Welfare and The Ministry of Education and Science share the responsibility for providing career information, guidance and counselling services in Latvia. A number of legal acts (the Social Security Law, the Law on Education, the Law on Vocational Education and Training, the Law on Supporting the Unemployed and Job Seekers) serve as general guidelines for policy making and initiatives within different sectors. The Concept of Vocational Guidance (approved on 15.11.1994.) defines the role and responsibilities of the main actors in the field (the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Education and Science).
Municipalities ensure vocational guidance for children and young people living at their territories.
Guidance activities are promoted and conducted by a number of public and private actors, such as:
The Career Services Department of the State Employment Agency (operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Welfare) offers its services centrally through its 19 regional offices; it compiles and disseminates educational and occupational information, develops guidance strategies and methodology, needs analyses and training for guidance counsellors. The Agency tasks include delivering guidance and counselling services to residents (mainly unemployed people and the employed people wishing to change their jobs; people with special needs and persons at risk; students of compulsory education, higher education).
Euroguidance Latvia (operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science) provides a regular information exchange among vocational guidance institutions and other NRCVGs in Europe about educational system, vocational qualifications and labour market in Latvia; collects, produces and disseminates information about education and training opportunities in Latvia, EU, EEA member states and associated CEE countries at different levels and types of education, including organisation of information meetings with students and their parents; produces and distributes printed materials; promotes cooperation between various actors in the field of guidance and counselling at national and translational level.
Some guidance information is also offered through the Children and Youth Interest Centres and the Adult and Further Educational Centres, but much of this provision is informal, and offered by non-specialist personnel.
There is one public organization that charges a fee for providing guidance and counselling services to young people.
2. Guidance in the Education Sector
The Ministry of Education and Science promotes and supports integration of vocational guidance activities within general school curricula. Guidance-related themes are integrated throughout compulsory schooling within the social sciences curriculum (Grades 1 to 9), which allocates one to two lessons to this area annually. Class teachers are the key players in the provision of guidance services at general school level. Guidance is mainly provided during special lessons led by the class teachers and during project weeks. Pupils and students explore different career pathways and visit educational institutions and educational exhibitions. Some secondary schools provide a work shadowing experience in order to help students gain first-hand knowledge of the world of work, and organize student enterprises in collaboration with Junior Achievement.
In addition, pupils and students can participate in individual or group guidance and counselling sessions in The Career Services Department of the State Employment Agency. Counsellors visit schools and lead group-counselling sessions or organize information days.
Information - The Career Services Department of the State Employment Agency, the Euroguidance Latvia and some private providers publish information about vocational and higher education institutions on annual basis. This material is distributed in printed format among schools and libraries and is also available in bookshops. Web-based version of this information is provided through the web-site of the Euroguidance Latvia. A number of CD-ROMs have also been produced. In addition, education- and career-related information is disseminated through the monthly magazine Mērķis (Target), the newspaper Izglītība un karjera (Education and Career), and Karjeras diena (Career Day), a supplement of the national daily newspaper Diena (Day). Career-related issues feature regularly in other newspapers, as well as in the broadcasting media more generally.
Employers' organizations contribute in the organization of annual educational fairs at both state and regional levels, while the State Youth Initiative Centre organizes regional youth information days. These include a career day, on which lectures and seminars on guidance-related themes are scheduled.
3. Guidance in the Labour Market Sector
Information, guidance and counselling services for adults - whether employed or unemployed - are offered by the The Career Services Department of the State Employment Agency. It has experienced a 25% increase in the use of its services by a broad range of clients in recent years.
The State Employment Agency provides guidance and counselling services for the unemployed, including such aspects as psychological consultations, vocational guidance, legal advice, facilitation of job application skills in all regions of Latvia.
The State Employment Agency offers information about vacancies and implements active labour market measures. The latter include job seekers' clubs, training and retraining courses, and work practice for young unemployed people. It also supports employment units for individuals with special needs. Over and above state provision, there are 40 private employment services, but these are mainly concerned with job placement.