NICE Glossary

NICE Glossary

The NICE Glossary comprises terms, which NICE uses in a standardised way. Many of the terms reflect the common language, which we have tried to develop in NICE through our collaboration on identifying common points of reference (CPR). Some of the terms, which were defined in the first NICE Handbook (NICE 2012), have been replaced or refined in this glossary, which reflects the achievements of NICE Handbook Vol. II (NICE 2016). This refers, in particular, to the titles of the NICE Professional Roles and the modules of the NICE Curriculum Framework.

Academic cycles The Bologna Process harmonised three academic cycles across Europe.  Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level degree programmes sit at the EQF levels 6, 7 and 8 respectively.
Academic training In NICE, we prefer to speak of academic training, when we refer to higher education offers in career guidance and counselling. The term ‘training’ stresses the practice-orientation of such offers. The term ‘academic’ emphasises that career practitioners should engage in specialised offers of higher education as an entry requirement for their practice.
Affective resources Psychosocial resources that bring about the motivation and volition (individual will) of people to do the right thing. Important types of affective resources are internalised values and attitudes. In the NICE Curriculum Framework, affective resources are a type of learning outcome. The EQF does not spell out generic level descriptors for learning outcomes in terms of affective resources. Instead, the area of “responsibility” is included in the level descriptors for the domain of competence.
Attitudes A type of learning outcome and a type of psychosocial resource, upon which competence is based. In the NICE Curriculum Framework, attitudes are featured in the category of affective resources. The EQF doesn’t spell out generic level descriptors for learning outcomes in terms of values and attitudes. Instead, the area of “responsibility” is included in the level descriptors for the domain of competence.
BA Bachelor, see academic cycles.
Behavioural resources Behavioural resources are frequently referred to as skills or know-how. They are action-oriented psychosocial resources and are based on practice in doing something. Cognitive skills include logical, intuitive and creative thinking as well as the application of knowledge. Practical skills involve manual dexterity, the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments. In the NICE Curriculum Framework, behavioural resources are a type of learning outcome. They correspond with the domain of skills in the EQF.
Career Advisor One of the NTCPs: Career Advisors are important sources of basic information and support for people facing career-related challenges. Career Advisors are teachers, placement managers, psychologists, social workers or public administrators (among others). They are not career professionals, but professionals in another field, who offer some career support in addition to their primary roles and tasks. Often they are the first persons to whom people come for advice. They should be able to offer basic support and advice at a reliable level of quality and immediately understand when a person would benefit from professional career services, which is why we also define competence standards for them.
Career Assessment & Information One of the NPRs: Career Assessment & Information describes the professional role of career practitioners to support people in attaining relevant information about themselves (e.g. their interests, talents and competences), the labour market, and educational or vocational options – depending on their individual information needs. In NICE 2012, we referred to “Career Information & Assessment”. We have changed the order because there should first be an assessment of the informational needs of clients, before they receive relevant information.
Career Counselling One of the NPRs: Career Counselling describes the professional role of career practitioners to support people in making sense of the situations they are experiencing, working through issues towards solutions, making difficult career decisions, and realising personal change.
Career Education One of the NPRs: Career Education describes the professional role of career practitioners to support people in developing their career management competences, i.e. the competences, which they need for career-related learning and development.
Career guidance and counselling (CGC) In NICE we have agreed to generally refer to “career guidance and counselling” (CGC) as a fixed term for the description of our field of research and academic training. The NICE Professional Roles, which we identify as central to the practice of career guidance and counselling, comprise career counselling, career education, career assessment and information, social systems interventions and career service management. See Chapter 4 in NICE 2012 for more information.
Career management competences The competences, which people need in order to shape their educational paths and their work lives autonomously and responsibly. Career management competences include the ability to become aware of own resources and needs, understanding the functioning of labour markets, vocational and educational systems, the mature use of career information systems, developing career plans, making career decisions, adapting to change pro-actively, self-presentation skills etc.
Career Practitioner When we speak of career practitioners, we mean all people involved in the provision of career guidance and counselling, whether they do so as full Career Professionals, in addition to their primary occupation in another field (as Career Advisors), or in some kind of special function (as Career Specialists). We therefore distinguish three types of career practitioners, the NICE Types of Career Practitioners (NCTPs).
Career Professional One of the NTCPs: Career Professionals are dedicated to CGC and see it as their vocation to support people in dealing with complex career-related challenges. In addition to the basic support offered by Career Advisors, Career Professionals need to be ready to support people who are facing uncertainty, multi-faceted problems and unpredictable situations, knowing that their career decisions could have a heavy impact on their lives. They support the development of strategic approaches, offer access to highly specialised knowledge, and help clients in facing stressful phases of transition and projects of personal change.
Career Specialist One of the NTCPs: Career Specialists take on a special responsibility for the career profession and work towards the advancement of career guidance and counselling (CGC) in different ways. Some of them concentrate on practical matters, e.g. the management of career services, policy-making or the supervision of career practitioners. Others primarily engage in research and development or academic training in CGC. In addition to their ability to practise as Career Professionals, Career Specialists need to demonstrate substantial authority, scholarly and professional integrity in a particular area of CGC.
Career service Career services refer to the provision of career guidance and counselling through different types of career practitioners.
Career Service Management One of the NPRs: Career Service Management describes the professional role of career practitioners to manage themselves and assure the quality of their work.
CEDEFOP European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
CGC Career Guidance and Counselling
Cognitive resources Psychosocial resources, which mainly reflect knowledge that people have and can use to find solutions to specific questions or problems. Cognitive resources go beyond information (who, what, when) and comprise the understanding of theories (why, how). In the NICE Curriculum Framework, cognitive resources are a type of learning outcome. They correspond with the domain of knowledge in the EQF.
Common points of reference (CPR) In higher education, CPR provide a common language and understanding of central phenomena of the particular area of academic training. CPR provide orientation for higher education institutions, while not inhibiting their freedom to provide the individual, tailor-made study programmes, which best fit the needs of their relevant stakeholders. In NICE, we have developed the following CPR: the NICE Professional Roles (2015; 2012), the NICE Core Competences (2012), the NICE Curriculum Framework (2012), the NICE Glossary (2015; 2012) and the European Competence Standards (2015).
Competence The ability of people to meet complex demands in particular situations, drawing upon adequate psychosocial resources in a reflective manner. When we speak of competences in this handbook, we are talking about a specific educative concept, which builds a link between the more detailed types of learning outcomes for academic training and the requirements of the labour market. The EQF defines generic level descriptors for the domain of competences in terms of autonomy and responsibility.
Competence-based learning The aim of competence-based learning is to enable students to develop the competences, which they need to address the real-life challenges, which they will need to be able to deal with in practice.
Competence standard A shared agreement about the minimum level of competence needed to perform a particular task. Competence standards define a common threshold in terms of the competences required for a particular practice: competences, which should be measurable in terms of a predefined quality-level of practice through level descriptors.
Core competence The concept of core competences as in the NICE Core Competences (2012) has been replaced by the concept of competence standards with this second volume of the NICE Handbook.
CPR See: Common points of reference
ECS European Competence Standards for the Academic Training of Career Practitioners, see: European Competence Standards
ECTS Degree programmes in Europe award credit points to students based on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) to increase transparency and comparability between degrees in European member states. The use of this credit accumulation and transfer system also encourages the modularisation of degree programmes and generally aims at enabling more flexibility in higher education (e.g. in terms of learning mobility).
EHEA European Higher Education Area
ENQA European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
EQAR European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education
EQF European Qualification Framework for Lifelong Learning (2008)
ELGPN European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network
EU European Union
European Competence Standards (ECS) The competence standards for the academic training of career practitioners, which NICE has first published in 2015.
HEI Higher Education Institution
HR Human Resources
IAEVG International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance
ICT Information and Communication Technology
Generic professional competences The generic professional competences hold the other competences together as meta-competences and are relevant for the practice of all professional roles. They are based on the generic professional tasks, which have been identified as part of the task profiles of the three NICE Types of Career Practitioners.
Generic professional tasks Some of the tasks, which we identified as part of the task profiles of the three NICE Types of Career Practitioners, are relevant for several professional roles. This is why we define them in an additional category called generic professional tasks. This means that they are important for all of the professional roles.
Knowledge A type of learning outcome and a type of psychosocial resource, upon which competence is based. In the NICE Curriculum Framework, knowledge is featured in the category of cognitive resources. Cognitive resources go beyond information (who, what, when) and comprise the understanding of theories (why, how). The EQF defines generic level descriptors for learning outcomes in the domain of knowledge.
Learning outcomes Learning outcomes are statements of what learners know, understand, and are able to do upon completion of a particular learning process. Through the description of learning outcomes, degree programmes and qualifications are supposed to become understandable and comparable. In the NICE Curriculum Framework (2012), learning outcomes for the academic training of career practitioners are determined in terms of competences and in terms of relevant resource requirements.
Level descriptors The definition of measurable competences and competence standards requires the definition of a quality level at which a particular activity must be performed. Level descriptors are defined by expressing the context/ circumstances under which an activity shall be performed and/or which measurable outcomes are expected. The EQF (2008) offers generic level descriptors for eight qualification levels for the domains of knowledge, skills and competence.
Lifelong guidance The provision of career services to all members of society at all stages of their careers.
Lifelong learning The continuous education of all people in terms of citizenship and employability.
MA Master, see: academic cycles.
NCTPs See: NICE Types of Career Practitioners
NICE Network for Innovation in Career Guidance and Counselling in Europe
NICE Core Competences The concept of core competences as in the NICE Core Competences (2012) has been replaced by the concept of European Competence Standards (ECS) with the second volume of the NICE Handbook (2015).
NICE Curriculum In the NICE Curriculum (2012), learning outcomes in terms of competences and resource requirements are combined with suggestions for teaching, learning and assessment methods in nine modules.
NICE Professional Roles (NPRs) The NPRs together represent what we consider to be the professional roles of career practitioners across Europe. To live up to their societal mission, all career practitioners should be able to perform in each of the NPRs to a greater or lesser extent, and consider all of them as part of their professional identity. The minimum extent, to which the NPRs should be integrated in the practice of the NICE Types of Career Practitioners, is defined in their task profiles.
NICE Types of Career Practitioners (NTCPs) We distinguish between three types of career practitioners: Career Advisors, Career Professionals and Career Specialists. Each of these types of career practitioners has a distinct task profile. Competence standards are defined for each type.
NPRs See: NICE Professional Roles
Peer learning Peer learning generally refers to group strategies that involve learning through other learners (Topping 2001). In the context of academic training in career guidance and counselling, peer learning refers to planned workshops or meetings with the purpose of improving a study programme in a collegial way.
PES Public Employment Service
Professional roles Professional Roles define the broader societal expectations associated with a particular profession. They provide professionals and their clients with a basic idea about the profession.
Psychosocial resources Affective, behavioural, and cognitive resources are considered to be relevant categories of psychosocial resources for competence. In the NICE Curriculum Framework, learning outcomes are defined for these three types of resources.
QAA See: Quality Assurance Agency
QAE Quality Assurance and Enhancement summarizes all formal and informal activities of higher education institutions to assure and enhance the quality of their study programmes. See: Quality assurance and quality enhancement.
Quality assurance Quality assurance relates to the activities undertaken by universities and programme leaders to ensure the quality of a degree programme from the outset.
Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) QAAs assess quality standards, evaluate institutions, accredit degree programmes or benchmark the performance of higher education institutions against each other (most of them at the national level).
Quality enhancement Quality enhancement relates to diverse activities to improve the quality of a degree programme continuously once the programme is delivered.
Skills A type of learning outcome and a type of psychosocial resource, upon which competence is based. In the NICE Curriculum Framework, skills are featured in the category of behavioural resources. Cognitive skills include logical, intuitive and creative thinking as well as the application of knowlege. Practical skills involve manual dexterity, the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments. The EQF defines generic level descriptors for learning outcomes in the domain of skills.
Social Systems Interventions One of the NPRs: Social Systems Interventions describes the professional role of career practitioners to support people and organisations in designing and developing adequate career pathways.
Task Tasks explain to the public what career practitioners actually do in practice. The purpose of task descriptions is to offer a clear idea about a person’s job, which is also understandable for laypersons.
Task profile Task profiles, which comprise several tasks, are used in human resource management to define the occupation of an employee or a category of employees.
Values A type of learning outcome and a type of psychosocial resource, upon which competence is based. In the NICE Curriculum Framework, values are featured in the category of affective resources. The EQF does not spell out generic level descriptors for learning outcomes in terms of values and attitudes. Instead, the area of “responsibility” is included in the level descriptors for the domain of competence.