European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database


Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

“Early intervention” activities with pupils – partnership based holistic approach in Croatia



I am proposing that this example will be published also in the KSLLL database


1. Background

What makes this an example of good/interesting practice/initiative/policy?

- The motivation of the initiative (What is the history/background of the policy?)

- Linkages with LLG policy priorities (Please add references to other national/EU policies or documents)

- Participants

The importance of creating social, educational and other conditions for the welfare of young people and their responsible participation in community, including the prevention of early – school leaving is emphasized as priorities in European strategies (e.g. Europe 2020, New Skills for New Jobs) and many national strategies in Croatia (National Youth Program from 2009 - 2013, Development Strategy of the Vocational Education System in the Republic Of Croatia 2008-2013, National Strategy for Entrepreneurial Learning, National Strategy of Equalization of Possibilities for Persons with Disabilities 2007 – 2015).

Presently, career guidance in Croatia is a transversal and comprehensive activity with a cross - sectored approach in youth policy implementation. A clear mandate is given to Croatian Employment Service (CES) to provide support to the educational system through vocational and career guidance services. This approach has been developed on partnership bases between CES, schools, employers, health and social welfare organizations.

Aims and targets

- Objectives of the initiative (What did the policy set out to achieve?)

- Target group

- Methods applied to reach the objective (technological and /or pedagogical)

Croatian Employment Service includes “early intervention” activities in career guidance as an integrated part of its responsibilities to prevent early – school leaving. This approach has proven to be successful since Croatia has a very low rate of early school leavers (3.9%) in comparison to the European countries (where the average rate is close to 15%).

A key feature in Croatian model is client-oriented approach aiming at providing tailor-made services for pupils at risk (early - school leavers, pupils with health and social problems, learning difficulties, behavioral disorders, etc). Educational, psychological, medical and social aspects are assessed for these target groups which are most in need of comprehensive vocational and career guidance services.

2. Implementation

Strategy and actions (Please describe the approach adopted to make the reform work and any actions taken.)

- Level of implementation (national, regional etc.)

- Implementation (description)

Career guidance services are provided to pupils and students using the so-called ˝tiered services˝, starting from the fact that the largest number of pupils need to be informed about their future possibilities in order to make decision; some of them need additional counseling and are included in group counseling sessions and the smallest number (about 10%) are offered the most intense and complex services which could include psychological-medical assessment as well (for those with the risk of being early – school leavers, pupils with health and social problems, learning difficulties, behavioral disorders, etc). Secondary schools students who achieve poor results are also referred to the expert team for career guidance.

Croatian Employment Service conducts a Survey on Vocational Intentions of Primary and Secondary School Pupils on a yearly basis. Under the leadership of CES professionals, expert teams are set-up in each primary and secondary educational institution in order to analyze the outcomes of the Survey and identify priority groups who may require special attention. Analysis is conducted on individual level (for each pupil), regional level (in relation to labor market needs) of and national level (trends in vocational intentions).

Each year the Ministry of Education adopts the Decision on Elements and Criteria for Candidate Selection for High-School Enrolment enabling pupils with developmental disabilities, health difficulties, learning difficulties, behavioral and emotional difficulties as well as pupils from the Roma minority to achieve direct enrolment or receive extra points to the score set in the enrolment valuation process. In order to obtain these rights, pupils among other documents enclose an expert opinion of the CES career guidance service on their abilities and motivation with a list of recommended educational programmes. In expert opinions on the most adequate choice of further education, needs of the labour market and education opportunities are taken into account, as well as the student's individual abilities and needs. In case of pupils with developmental disabilities (physical or mental disability), career guidance expert team’s opinion enables them direct enrolment in specialized schools or training programs.

Monitoring and evaluation

- What has been put in place for monitoring and evaluation?

- What actors are involved?

Monitoring and evaluation of career guidance services in Croatia is carried out periodically by Croatian Employment Service in co-ordination with secondary and tertiary educational institutions. According to the results of the Survey on pupil’s intentions, approximately 60% of the pupil population expresses a need for professional assistance in their choice of further education program. It indicates a further need for further development of group methods and e-counseling services for pupils and students. Career guidance services are planned on a yearly basis according to the expressed needs.

3. Outcomes

Achievements (Please describe the main outcomes/results according to the following headings. Each option can be answered - up to 50 words)

- Specific results

- Cost effectiveness

- Budget

- Innovative aspects

In a partnership based approach and coordination between employment and educational sectors, it is considered more cost effective to the entire society to provide adequate support to those of greater need at primary and secondary school rather than spending public money for unemployed citizens when adults.
Career guidance services in Croatian Employment Service are considered a key element in preventive activities in order to avoid potential social exclusion. On average, 30% of the pupil/student population in Croatia is included in the “early intervention” activities of CES career guidance services.

In addition, aggregate results of the Survey on pupil’s intentions indicate the trends in pupils'/students' vocational intentions and are delivered to the stakeholders in the field of education and employment on the county and national level. According to the Survey and forecasting the needs of the labor market for certain occupations, every year recommendations for enrollment policy and scholarship policy are made and referred to the educational institutions, local and regional stakeholders, sector councils and the Ministry of Education.

Success factors (What key success factors have led to or prevented success?)

- Lessons learnt

- Unintended impacts (Have there been any unintended impacts? Positive or negative?)

The key feature of the ˝early intervention˝ model is client-oriented approach aiming at providing tailor-made services for pupils at risk. It represents a multidisciplinary approach that involves co-operation and co-ordination of experts in the fields of education, employment, health and social welfare. It has proven to be successful since Croatia has a very low rate of early school leavers (3.7%).

Strengths and weaknesses

- What areas of the policy can we learn lessons from?

- Are there still challenges ahead?

One of the challenges is the positive discrimination of pupils at risk as a way of addressing their disadvantages in educational and labor surroundings. A necessity to develop more efficient tailor-made CG services for pupils at risk exists, which leaves fewer opportunities for providing CG services to other target groups (undeceive pupils, talented pupils, etc.).

Currently, Croatia is in the process of establishing a LLCG National Forum and drafting legislation for guidance provision. The awareness of inter-institutional cooperation is increasing, including the need to define the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders on national, regional and local levels.

4. Additional narrative description of the policy/practice/initiative

Additional information

Name of contact

Mirjana Zećirević

Role (in policy initiative)

Head, Employment Preparation Department

Organization name

Croatian Employment Service


Radnička cesta 1, 10 000 Zagreb


+385 1612 6091


+385 1612 6039


Website address

Documents and publications

Attached files

No attachment files.


No links specified.

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