About the ELGPN Glossary – Introduction

Glossary has been developed to provide a common set of definitions for lifelong guidance (LLG) policy development and related guidance terminology. It provides a set of definitions that have been agreed by members of the ELGPN to support the use of ELGPN Lifelong Guidance Policy Development: a European Resource Kit. The aim of the Resource Kit is to support policy review and peer learning processes both within and between countries. However, in the absence of another source that defines commonly used terminology in this field, it is hoped that the ELGPN Glossary will also prove to be a valuable resource for practitioners working in this field across the EU. A critical issue for the Glossary is to define a set of terms, many of which are used in the Resource Kit, in a lifelong guidance context and thus facilitate dialogue on LLG policy development across the EU. As far as possible the glossary uses existing EU definitions, but these have been supplemented and extended where necessary to provide definitions that are relevant in a contemporary guidance context. However, certain terms, which have been defined in EU resolutions and directives, have not been changed.

In particular, Lifelong guidance has been defined in EU directives and provides the context for the work of the ELGPN. In this Glossary, Lifelong guidance and Guidance have been adopted as the umbrella terms in describing both particular activities and the field. However, it should be recognised that there is not complete agreement on how terms are used and some of those working in this field would use the term career counselling rather than career guidance as the generic term to describe their work, while others either use the two terms interchangeably or together, that is use the phrase career guidance and counselling, to describe what they do. A separate definition of counselling has been included in the Glossary but certain readers may have different perspectives on precisely how the terms counselling and guidance should be used.

The Glossary complements other existing ones that are either focused on related topics, such as the glossary on quality in education and training (Cedefop, 2011), or that have a practitioner focus, such as the Career Guidance and Counselling Glossary prepared under the EU Leonardo da Vinci programme.

The Glossary and definitions have been written in English in the first instance; it is recognised that some terms cannot easily be translated into other languages without losing some of their meaning. Some terms may also have been used in a more specialised or restricted context in certain countries, reflecting local circumstances.


Development of the Glossary

Initial work on the ELGPN Glossary was conducted by members of the four ELGPN Work Packages, who identified potential terms to be included in the Glossary and also provided some definitions as well as identifying key reference sources. Dr Charles Jackson from the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling (NICEC) in the UK has acted as editor for the subsequent work to finalise the Glossary for publication. An earlier draft was presented to the 10th Plenary Meeting of the ELGPN held in Copenhagen in April 2012. This new version takes on board comments and suggestions made both at that meeting and subsequently by ELGPN members.


Selection of terms

Terms for inclusion in the Glossary have been chosen by members of the ELGPN Work Packages, but other key interested parties (e.g. Cedefop, European Commission) have also been consulted during the course of its preparation. The terms included reflect the focus of the four Work Packages:

  • Work Package 1: Career management skills
  • Work Package 2: Widening access
  • Work Package 3: Co-operation and co-ordination
  • Work Package 4: Quality assurance and evidence base


Organisation of the Glossary

The main body of this Glossary contains 75 key terms used in the Resource Kit, presented in alphabetical order in English. Each entry contains (in this order):

  • the term in English
  • a definition of the term in English
  • additional comment on how the term is used in lifelong guidance and to explain the definition
  • reference to the source of the definition (where no source is listed, this means that no existing definition has been found and a definition has been written especially for this Glossary).

Where appropriate in the entry for the relevant term, we have noted whether the term is a synonym for another term used in the Glossary. We have also used the comment section to identify closely related terms, or terms with similar or overlapping definitions.

Terms of the ELGPN Glossary have been listed below. Terms serve as links to the ELGPN database of LLG related initiatives and practices where descriptions of each term are represented. Links open in a new window.

Access to guidance

Career adviser
Career centre
Career choice
Career counselling
Career counsellor
Career decision-making
Career development
Career education
Career guidance
Career information systems
Career management
Career management skills
Case management
Common quality-assurance framework
Co-operation mechanisms
Co-ordination mechanisms
Cost-benefit analysis

Distance guidance services

Early school-leaver
Economic and social outcomes of guidance
Educational counselling/guidance
Employment counselling/guidance
Entrepreneurship guidance
Evidence-based policy and practice


Guidance counsellor
Guidance outcomes
Guidance policy
Guidance services
Guidance systems

Information and communication technologies (ICT)

Job-search training

Key competences

Labour market information systems
Learning outcomes of guidance
Lifelong guidance
Lifelong learning


Outcome (quality)
Output (quality)

Performance measures/indicators
Personal action planning

Quality assurance
Quality criteria
Quality indicators
Quality standard
Quality system
Quantitative and qualitative evidence

School-to-work transition
Self-help provision
Self-management of competences

Transversal skills

Validation of non-formal and informal learning
Vocational guidance

Work experience
Work practice
Work-based learning