On behalf of the Swedish Association of Guidance Counsellors, in association with the City of Gothenburg Career Guidance Centre, I would like to welcome you to our conference on October 2-4, 2018. The conference will be held in the City of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden, and will take place in collaboration with IAEVG/AIOSP and the Nordic Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance.

The Swedish Association of Guidance Counsellors, a non-profit association and whose members mainly comprise practitioners within education and employment, was founded in 1975. Each year a national conference is arranged to highlight key issues within educational and vocational guidance. The conference in 2018 will be the 42nd in succession, and for the first time it will be an international conference with broad-based cooperation between partners from Sweden, the other Nordic countries, and IAEVG/AIOSP.

The City of Gothenburg Career Guidance Centre was founded in 2003 as a joint organisation to secure educational and vocational guidance on equal terms for all students attending municipal secondary and upper secondary schools, primarily in the age group 12-20. Only a small number of municipalities in Sweden have chosen to adopt this organisational model, and Gothenburg is the biggest with around 100 staff.

The theme of the conference is A Need for Change. Major conflicts and environmental disasters in recent years have resulted in the biggest mass movement of refugees the world has ever experienced. Countless children, young people and adults have been forced to create a new future in a new country and a new culture. Labour mobility is greater than ever. In some countries, there is talk of a ‘brain drain’, whilst at the same time companies are relocating in their quest for cheaper labour. The growing pace of technological development has meant that many of the professions we have today did not exist yesterday, and no one can be certain that they will exist tomorrow. Working in the same profession for your entire life is a utopia for the young people of today, but is perhaps not something they would particularly aspire to. At the same time, older people risk being excluded from employment as they lack the skills and qualifications for the labour market of the future. Many young people also live their lives via social media, which in many instances is not an area in which educational and vocational guidance counsellors have established a tangible presence.

Where do our educational and vocational guidance counsellors find themselves in all this? How can we deal with the current situation, and what will it be like in the future? What are the challenges facing us? What will be demanded of us in the future?

Welcome to what will prove to be an exciting encounter on every level – culturally, intellectually and socially. We may not find the answers to all the questions that we will be facing in the future, but we will have an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas, meet old friends and acquaintances, and make new contacts. Practitioners and researchers will be able to exchange their experience and research findings through the seminars and workshops, and at the same time take the opportunity to network for the future.

See you in Gothenburg 2-4 October 2018

Karin Asplund
President of the Swedish Association of Guidance Counsellors
Director, Career Guidance Centre, City of Gothenburg