Policy and Practice Guidelines

National Policy on guidance within the FET Sector is determined by the Department of Education and Skills.

The DES Further Education and Training Strategy 2014-2019 details the development of the Further Education and training sector in Ireland.


Section 10 Guidance and FET (pages 112-114)  outlines the need for an integrated  FET guidance approach and that …..

'a FET Guidance Service ought build on current AEGI integrated guidance counselling aims; to offer a guidance service to adults and young people over the age of 16 who have left post primary school early, which includes impartial adult education information, one-to-one guidance and group guidance, which will help people to make informed educational, career and life choices'

The building blocks of an integrated guidance strategy for the FET sector should include:

1. Development of national referral protocols between Adult Guidance Services and DSP and other national agencies – HSE, disability services etc.

2. Widening of the remit of the Adult Educational Guidance Services to become the Adult Guidance and Information Services for the FET sector and general public, providing quality impartial education and career/vocational information and quality guidance provision through one-to-one guidance, group guidance and outreach provision

 3. The Adult Guidance Service would develop and ensure collaboration with PLC-based guidance provision, and will include those guidance counsellors who are currently working within and across other ETB programmes.

4. All guidance staff employed by ETBs, outside of the current AEGI and PLC structure, would be linked to the adult guidance service to ensure quality assurance of service, reporting mechanisms and access to national supports and continuous professional development programmes.

5. Implementation of a national quality assurance system for the guidance services based on national and EU good practice and guidelines.

6. A national advisory committee of representatives from DES/SOLAS/NCGE/ETBI and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a national approach to the guidance provision within the FET sector.

The DES Programme Recognition Framework (2016) states clearly the requirements of the Department for those who wish to be employed in the education and training sector as guidance counsellors. 


Guidance is defined in the context of adult guidance, i.e. for those over the age of 18 years.

In this adult guidance context i.e. The AEGS, guidance is defined as facilitating people “…to manage their own educational, training, occupational, personal, social, and life choices so that they reach their full potential and contribute to the development of a better society” (National Guidance Forum, 2007;  pg. 6).

Activities relating to the work of the guidance counsellor in all service settings include the following:

  • Designing, delivering and evaluating guidance learning and developmental programmes relating to personal and social, educational and career development for individual, group and classroom settings
  • Developing effective teaching, learning and assessment strategies for the guidance class
  • Providing individual and group counselling to facilitate personal and social, educational and career development and at moments of personal crisis
  • Providing labour market, learning and career-related information through Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and blended learning approaches
  • Planning and organising workplace learning and establishing links with the wider business community, agencies and voluntary sector
  • Using psychometric tests (i.e. ability and aptitude tests and career interest inventories) to facilitate career decision-making and personal development, and to support learning and educational choices
  • Providing support to, and working in collaboration with, school and ETB management and staff in the planning, leading, delivery, review and evaluation of the guidance service/programme and the whole school guidance plan
  • Working with parents (as appropriate) and referral agencies in facilitating the personal and social, educational and career development of students and service users 
  • Referring students and service users to external agencies and professionals, as appropriate
  • Establishing close ties with feeder schools, where appropriate, and with centres of further education and training and higher education

In 2017 the Department of Education and Skills  began the process of an overarching review of guidance services within the education and training sector. The outcomes of this Review will inform the further developments of the FET Guidance Strategy.

Departmental Circulars:

Circular 70/04 – Adult Educational Guidance Counsellors and Co-ordinators

Circular 0015 / 2007 Adult Guidance Information officers

The allocation of guidance hours within the PLC schools is outlined in Circular :



Guidance Service Guidelines:

Until the development of the FET Guidance Strategy, DES guidelines continue to inform practice and delivery of service


Minimum supervision requirements for AEGI staff



SOLAS (An tSeirbhís Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna) is the Further Education and Training Authority operating under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills. It co-ordinates and funds the wide range of training and further education programmes around the country. SOLAS was established to integrate the Further Education and Training Sector in Ireland and give strategic direction to that sector. The delivery of Further Education and Training is the responsibility of 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs). Guidance in Further Education and Training is informed by the publication, Further Education and Training Strategy 2014-2019. Section 10 of this publication, entitled Guidance and FET, looks at guidance counselling policy as well as current guidance practice pertaining to the FET sector.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Date for Review: 
Monday, January 28, 2019
Practice Area: