European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database


The Berufswahlpass (career choice passport): A portfolio approach to support CMS and career orientation

Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

The Berufswahlpass (career choice passport): A portfolio approach to support CMS and career orientation



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

In Germany career orientation plays an important part in secondary school curricula. Educational matters are under the responsibility of the 16 federal states, the Länder. However, preparation for the world of work and career orientation has a long tradition in German secondary schools. It is of particular importance in the light of the choice of a career and the transition to the dual vocational education system. Hence, in all the Länder systematic vocational preparation and orientation are taught in a special subject which may be named differently e.g. lessons in working, work- economy-technology or they are embedded in other subjects. Here, career orientation and Career Management Skills (CMS) are key contents. In order to facilitate, support and document learning processes in the area of CMS and career orientation the portfolio Berufswahlpass (career choice passport) is used in 12 of the 16 Länder integrated into the lessons.

The Berufswahlpass was developed as part of the program “school/ economy and work” (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and is used since 2005. Continuous further development is ensured by a working group of the participating federal states which also runs the website and organizes professional exchange and further related activities.

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)

The Berufswahlpass aims to support young people in lower secondary education in their career orientation process and enables their parents, educators, guidance practitioners and employers to help them in various ways. Thus, it seeks to assess career learning and encourages critical reflection and exchange with other learners. Through the resource-oriented portfolio approach of the Berufswahlpass self-consciousness, self-esteem and self-efficacy is also strengthened.

The Berufswahlpass is a folder-based portfolio approach including information and provisions for career orientation. First it introduces important partners for making a career choice (e.g. it clarifies the roles of parents, schools, career guidance practitioners in the Employment Agencies EA , companies in the process). Further sections assess and evaluate personal interests and competences combining self- and external assessment. In addition, the Berufswahlpass contains checklists on various topics e.g. matching career profiles with personal strengths and provides documentation facilities. As the folder also includes practical information e.g. on public administrations, insurances and income, it not only focuses on vocational aspects but applies a broader understanding of life orientation.

Career education in the curriculum and the career choice process of the pupils are accompanied by career guidance activities of career counselors of the EA (lessons or short interviews in the school, visits to the Career Information Centre BIZ or counseling provision in the EA) .

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)

The tool is widely used in secondary schools with about 70%-80% of the pupils in 12 federal states. It is often combined with other provisions for career orientations such as printed information material and the Internet portal “Planet Beruf” both provided by the EA (see good practice/ Case Study 5 Planet Beruf: WP2, ELGPN, 2010) and the portfolio “ProfilPASS® for young people”.

Monitoring and evaluation

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

- What actors are involved?

Self-evaluation is part of quality assurance in the context of the use of the Berufswahlpass in schools. Defined quality standards as input criteria structure this work and provide the basis of evaluation for which material is provided online.

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

The Berufswahlpass supports the acquisition and development of Career Management Skills. In particular, it strengthens self-reflection and evaluation-skills and builds self- esteem and self-efficacy. Hence, the self exploration of interests and abilities provides a contribution to a reflected and individual career choice. At the same time the Berufswahlpass increases the motivation of the young people to involve in further learning, job search and career planning. Further, the tool may help teachers to identify students at- risk of early school leaving and may help to refer them to another programme for pupils at-risk (see good practice/ Case Study: Educational chains WP 2).

The folder is not free of charge. The prizes differ depending on the mode, type and scope of delivery but range around 5 Euro per folder. These expenses may be paid by the schools, the pupils or it may be sponsored by a government or private body.

The Berufswahlpass supports CMS acquisition and development as well as self-assessment through intensive reflection and evaluation of personal strengths, competences and interests as well as through goal setting and career planning. As an integral part of the curriculum of secondary education it is linked with other tools and initiatives and activities concerned with career orientation and guidance such as online resources, visits to the BIZ and career counselling interviews in the EA... Hence, in many German Länder it supports and accompanies a longer and systematic process of career education, orientation and planning, continuously building CMS.

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 tool may function as an accreditation instrument for those pupils who do not succeed gaining their secondary school certificate.

Strengths and weaknesses

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

- Are there still challenges ahead?

The folder based approach of the Berufswahlpass involves some challenges as it rather appeals to young people who are at with written work and with portfolios and folders. In addition, the intensive use of the portfolio in the school may attach the tool closely to the logic of school and to this period of time. Thus, there is a danger that young people will not go back using their folder after they have left school.

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

On the whole, the Berufswahlpass contains the following sections:
- Introduction: Overview over the steps and stages of successful career orientation
- Part 1 “Providers and cooperation”: introduction to the important partners and their tasks (e.g. school, parents, guidance service of the EA, companies)
- Part 2 “Way towards career choice”: assessment and evaluation of interests, competences etc.; checklists on matching skills and interests with job demands (includes counselling of EA and planning the transition from school to VET)
- Part 3: Documentation: collection of all the information gathered
(e.g. interests, goals, practical experiences); arrangement and valuation of the collected documents and certificates

More details in German language under :

Additional information

Name of contact

Dr. Bernhard Jenschke

Role (in policy initiative)

Vice President of German National Guidance Forum in Education, Career and Employment ( nfb)

Organization name

National Guidance Forum in Education, Career and Employment (Nationales Forum Beratung in Bildung, Beruf und Beschäftigung e.V., nfb)


Nationales Forum Beratung in Bildung, Beruf und Beschäftigung e.V., Kurfürstenstr. 131, 10785 Berlin, Germany






Website address

Documents and publications

Attached files

No attachment files.


This information was provided/updated by:

Dr. Bernhard Jenschke, nfb

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