Functioning of Academic Career Centres in Polish Schools of Higher Education - Polish Journal of Management Studies

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Functioning of Academic Career Centres in Polish Schools of Higher Education

Abstracts > Vol 10.1

Sroka M.

Abstract: The article presents the range of career centres functioning in schools of higher education in Poland. It describes main fields of their activity and compares them to foreign career centres. In the research part the study includes the analysis of students expectations as regards the form and range of career centres functioning as well as their activity in the selected university. Finally, the author attempts to determine the main directions of career centres functioning to meet students expectations and the situation on the labour market.

Key words:
academic career centre, career counselling, academic advising, schools of higher education, Polish Career Centres Network.

An academic career centre (ACC) is a unit working for the benefit of professional activation of students and alumni of a school of higher education. It is run by the university or any other student organisation. The principal aim of academic career centre
s functioning is to provide students and alumni with comprehensive and professional help as regards entering the labour market and moving around it in order to find appropriate employment (Szafrańska, 2009). In Poland academic career centres began to appear as a result of dynamic changes of the conditions on the labour market which have been taking place since Poland joined the countries with market economy. A particular role in Polish universities has been played by the EU funds, which provide a considerable support for development of education and academic career centres (Ślusarczyk and Grondys, 2011). The additional factors enhancing the development of such institutions in Poland are: the continuous disadvantageous situation of university graduates who find it difficult to get employment after they finish their studies as well as the need to adjust the education offer of universities to labour markets requirements in order to increase their attractiveness among the potential future students. The legal basis for academic career centres activity is the Act on Employment Promotion and Labour Market Institutions from 2008 with subsequent changes. It defines the goals and methods of the realization of active labour market policy as well as indicating the institutions which may participate in its realization (Szafrańska, 2009).
First academic career centre, based on the British example, was founded in 1993 at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. In 1997 thanks to the European Fund within the Tempus Phare programme and in co-operation with the National Employment Office, Ministry of Education and universities in Hull Amsterdam and Toruń, eight subsequent career centres were founded. In the years 2002
2005 the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy announced grant competitions for subsidies enabling the organization and development of career centres at universities within the “First Job” programme. As a result, the interest in the idea of career centre has increased and consequently such institutions have become more widespread (Szafrańska, 2009).
In the United States the development of academic career counselling began much earlier. According to Sandra Cook, it was at the beginning of the 20 th century when the diversity and complexity of American universities
educational offer caused the creation of three main directions of counselling: personal (psychological), vocational and academic. In the years 1916 1917 Oberlin College was the first one to include in its educational offer a course providing students with information on professional career. The crucial moment in the development of career counselling at American schools of higher education was founding the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) in 1979. It was at that time when first advisory centres which dealt with career counselling appeared at universities (DUS, Vick and Furlong, 2008).

full version

Summary and conclusions
The conducted survey allows to draw the following conclusions:
Three-quarters of students does not know that an academic career centre exists at their university. The reason for such a situation may be not sufficient number of informative actions regarding the career centre
s functioning at the university as well as students slight interest in such institutions.
Almost two-thirds of the respondents claim that the main field of the career centre
s activity should be helping to find appropriate job offers. Such an approach illustrates students poor knowledge of the range and fields of activity required from an academic career centre and determined in the Act. What is more, the current unfavourable situation of university graduates on the labour market causes that they expect support of many institutions in finding employment.
Despite the fact that one-fifth of the examined students declare to know about the existence of the career centre at their university, none of the respondents have ever applied for its help. Determining the reasons for this situation exceeds the scope of research in this study.
Despite the fact that none of the respondents have ever applied for career centre
s help, they indicate forms and fields of help they would like to be provided. They include: help in finding an appropriate job offer, organizing training and Job Fairs as well as helping in preparations to set up a business.
Vast majority of the respondents (93%) consider promotion actions of the career centre to be poor or claim the institution is not promoted at all. This situation may be changed through the intensification of career centre
s informative activity. It seems that one of the most effective methods would be organizing meetings of full-time career centres workers with first year students. This hypothesis is also supported by the fact that two-thirds of respondents emphasize the need to increase the career centres activity in the field of training organization.
Most of the examined students positively evaluate the compatibility of career centre
s activity with the requirements of the labour market (13% choose the “Definitely yes” answer whereas 70% choose the “Rather yes” answer). Such an approach entirely justifies the need of career centres functioning at universities.

Basalla S., Debelius M., 2001, So What Are You Going To Do With That?, [in:] A Guide To Career-Changing For M.A.
s And Ph.D.s, Farrar, Straus And Giroux.

DUS Division of Undergraduate Studies,, Access on: 17.02.2014

Mogel L., 2000, Careers in Communications and Entertainment, Simon & Schuster.

NACADA National Academic Advising Association,, Access on: 18.02.2014.

OCS Office of Career Services,, Access on: 15.02.2014.
Schaffer A. W., 1999, High-Tech Careers For Low -Tech People, Ten Speed Press.
Szafrańska J., 2009, Akademickie biura karier – raport, Wojewódzki Urząd Pracy w Warszawie, Warszawa.
Œlusarczyk B., Grondys K., 2011, Financing Education and Universities in Poland Compared to the EU in 2004-2008, [in:] University and Its Role in Regional Development and Knowledge Dissemination, Faculty of Management University of Presov.
Vick J. M., Furlong J. S., 2008, The academic job search handbook, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

WZPCz Wydział Zarządzania Politechniki Częstochowskiej,,biuro-karier, Access on: 20.02.2014.


Streszczenie: W artykule przedstawiono zakres funkcjonowania akademickich biur karier na uczelniach wyższych w Polsce. Określono główne obszary ich działalności oraz porównano je z biurami karier na uczelniach zagranicznych. W części badawczej przeprowadzono analizę oczekiwań studentów, co do zakresu i formy działań oraz aktywności akademickiego biura karier na wybranej uczelni wyższej. Podjęto również próbę określenia głównych kierunków funkcjonowania akademickich biur karier odpowiadających oczekiwaniom studentów oraz sytuacji na rynku pracy.

Słowa kluczowe
: akademickie biuro karier, doradztwo zawodowe, doradztwo akademickie, uczelnia wyższa, ogólnopolska sieć biur karier.



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