Vocational guidance helps people choose a profession in line with their motivation and skills. It is based on a training offer that needs to be aligned with the requirements of the productive sectors. In many developing countries like Guatemala, there aren’t any systems in place to promote adequate vocational guidance for the youth. Efforts to link the public and private sectors in the process are still insufficient. For three years, Swisscontact has been working on a vocational guidance and job placement system which was lacking in the region of Alta Verapaz, where many people are unemployed and affected by migration.
One of the results is a vocational guidance web portal (in Spanish) – a first in the country and in Central America – set up to increase and democratise the access to vocational training for young people to have a better chance of finding opportunities for technical professional training, scholarships, and employment. This free service aims to show young people which professional, educational or entrepreneurial options are available to them; the website allows them to discover their soft skills and supports them in finding a future technical profession or formal education.
This platform was realised through the Empodera project, which seeks the economic empowerment of indigenous youth and women in Guatemala. The project trained fifty people as coaches and counsellors, who will advise students from educational centres, schools, municipalities and other institutions, to help them access the web platform. At a later stage, it aims to link professional training centres with the business sectors of Alta Verapaz to continue adapting the training content offered on the website according to the demand of businesses. This is crucial to achieving the technical professionalisation of thousands of people in the region and in the country.
In the following video, a coach and a student share their experiences with the platform (in Spanish with English subtitles):