Labour Market Information (LMI) can help people in planning future careers or those planning a change in career in selecting training new careers pathways. However, its potential is vastly under-exploited in being directly available and understandable to people who are supporting transitions of people into possible employment or career paths.
Information and Communication Technologies can provide data-rich support for LMI in order to support the dynamic and interactive development of career pathways, whereby job-seekers, companies, education and training providers and other intermediaries can get in touch, get to know each other, innovate and shape new competencies in understanding their local labour markets.
LMI is also critical for professionals in supporting others in career decisions and for education and training planners and providers in determining future skills training provision and contributing to economic development, especially in new and emerging industries. LMI is collected by a variety of different organizations and agencies in the UK and in the rest of Europe including government and regional statistical agencies, industry sector bodies and private organisations. Some of this data is made available in a standardized form through Eurostat. However access to this data is uneven. Furthermore the format of the data is seldom usable for careers guidance, and there are few tools to enable its use by advisors or job seekers. This is especially an issue at a time of financial pressures on training courses when potential participants will wish to know of the potential benefits of investing in training. It is also often difficult to access potential training opportunities with the lack of data linking potential careers to training places. Specifically, for example, this data cannot at the moment be easily used by large-scale organizations, such as universities, in planning and devising their skills provision in line with labour market trends. At another extreme, this information cannot be used by those people who arguably need it the most, such as the burgeoning numbers of those not in education, employment or training throughout Europe.
We are developing tools which use Open and Linked Data (for more information see technology section) for the finding, matching, screening, validation, conversion, pooling, editing of Labour Market Information and data for use for Careers Guidance, for finding jobs and for accessing education and training opportunities and for planning education and training provision and curriculum development.
However we recognise that data alone (even with advanced visualization tools) is not enough for planning careers. Thus we are developing a social media layer to allow querying and sharing of data representations and visualizations and social interactions about its use in practice both by careers professionals and end users, to develop added use and value in understanding the meanings of such data.