The new Career Management Skills framework

26/04/2022 News

Career Management Skills (CMS) are defined as a set of competences (knowledge, skills, attitudes) that enable citizens at any age or stage of development to manage their learning and work life paths [1]. CMS represent a main challenge for all people as the rapid changes in technology and in the organisation of work will require a continuous adaptation of one's roles, tasks and professional skills. This concept brings a shift of the traditional paradigms, moving from the idea of choosing a career to the process of lifelong career learning and lifelong career building.

The concept of CMS is, in fact, foundational within the European lifelong guidance strategy and the role of CMS was presented in the Council Resolution of 21 November 2008 where they were introduced as one of the four priority areas as well as the main objective of lifelong guidance programs [2].  

According to these premises, the Consortium worked to develop a new proposal of CMS framework based on a thorough desk research and participatory research which involved more than 400 practitioners and experts. 

The CMS Framework created aims to become a reference tool for practitioners, educators and teachers to guide interventions and for policy makers in planning services and programmes to fund or promote.

The Framework is described on three core elements: 

- The career learning areas which describe the skills, attributes, attitudes and knowledge that the framework seeks to develop in individuals.

- The levels of proficiencies which describe the stages of development that an individual goes through in and for each skill.

- The levels of activation required to the individual.


The framework groups career management skills into 6 thematic career learning areas. The grouping is the result of a comparative analysis of existing frameworks from all over the world and takes into account several aspects related to recent changes in the socio-economic and cultural environment specifically related to the main drivers of change in the European and international scenarios. The need for digital skills, the importance of sustainability at environmental, social and economic levels and the central aspect of democratic participation indeed played a role in shaping the framework and, in particular, the definition of the learning outcomes. 


For each CMS, the learning outcomes at different levels of proficiency are described. The stages are not mapped to educational or developmental tasks, and it is recognised that learners will move through these learning stages many times. The learning model comes from adaptation of Bloom's taxonomy (1956) and the main reference which guided the Consortium in this work was the Canadian Blueprint (Jarvis & Joan, 2000) [3]

The four stages of learning adopted in the definition of the learning outcomes are: 

1. Acquire (knowledge acquisition)

2. Apply (demonstration of knowledge)

3. Personalise (integration of learning and knowledge)

4. Act (knowledge transformation and creation)


Career learning areas are divided into three levels which describe the level of activation required by the individual. The three groups move from less to more action of the individual. The rationale of this innovative grouping is related to the aim of helping career guidance and career education providers in setting up a learning pathway for individuals. The proposed grouping works in a hierarchical manner where, in the first level, foundational learning areas are found. In the second and third levels, learning areas require a more active engagement of the individual in the management of their career.

The first foundational level is defined as “Expanding career knowledge” and includes key knowledge and skills which are fundamental for expanding knowledge and awareness in relation to self, the individual’s strengths, relationships, and the world with special focus on the labour market. 

The 4 main career management skills areas within this first level are:

1. Discovering myself; 

2. Developing my strengths;

3. Exploring new horizons;

4. Building relationships.

The second level is defined as “Monitoring and Reflecting” and includes the development of skills to support active engagement and monitoring of the individual’s career development. This level refers to continuous activation of the individual throughout the learning and career journey with a special focus on the importance of continuous monitoring and self-assessment of personal resources and achievements.

The third level is defined as “Planning my Career” and provides the skills needed to address the main steps and changes of the individual’s career. This level specifically refers to the ability to plan, design and make decision on the individual’s career pathway considering the complexity and the uncertainty of the contemporary society. This level becomes particularly salient during transition windows and requires a certain profile and skills set of the practitioner involved. 

The Framework is full described here:

[1] ELGPN, Guidelines for Policies and Systems Development for Lifelong Guidance – A reference framework for the EU and for the Commission, Jyväskylä, 2015, p. 13,

[2] Council of the European Union, Draft 2008 joint progress report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Education & Training 2021 work programme "Delivering lifelong learning for knowledge creativity and innovation", 31 January 2008, 5723/08; Council of the European Union, Council Resolution on better integrating lifelong learning strategies, Council Meeting Bruxelles, 21 November 2008,


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