Policy Brief on Career Support Services

16 February

Today, we are very happy to announce the publication of our third Policy Brief, this time with the title Mandatory Career Support Services (CSS) at all EU high schools. The Policy Brief is authored by Youth Fellows Mathes Rausch, Lisa Mastiaux, Sara Maria Barbaglia, Alina Koch, and Franklin Vaci. It originated in an idea produced at the International Youth Conference 2021 and has, since then, been developed through a research on widening participation in higher education and a survey of our Youth Panel.

The proposal of Mandatory Career Support Services (CSS) aims to democratize access to higher education by offering students a comprehensive service based on advice & help, practical support, and integration into the higher education system. CSS strengthen democracy directly and indirectly on at least four different levels: education, knowledge creation, leadership, and decision & policymaking. CSS makes access to higher education more equitable and diversify the student body in higher education institutions, bringing new experiences into these institutions, thus diversifying debate and knowledge. A diversified body of graduates allows more people from marginalized backgrounds to enter leadership positions, improving decision- and policymaking processes. Through education, CSS strengthen democracies.

Our research overview on widening participation confirms that comprehensive career guidance has the potential to help improve equity in higher education. Of the respondents in our Youth Panel over 80% agree that mandatory career guidance in high-school would contribute significantly to widening participation in higher education. However, only a little more than half of them claim to have had any career guidance at all during high-school. Many of those that have had such guidance feel that it was inadequate in scope or depth. As an exception to the norm, systematic strategies for CSS have been in place in Northern Ireland since 2010, which has led to the best higher education participation rates in the UK at almost 50%.

The Policy Brief was presented at an open seminar last Friday at the Gothenburg School of Business Law & Economics, together with the research overview on widening participation and the results from the IYTT Youth Panel. The seminar was filmed and is now available on our YouTube channel.

We wish to extend the warmest thanks to our dedicated Youth Fellows that have graciously borne the full responsibility for the initiation, development, and completion of this innovative idea on democracy.