The past year has been an exciting journey for the editorial team, the reviewers and the authors alike. When reflecting on 2021, one of our most important achievements is that the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) approved NJTCG and included it as an open access journal. The DOAJ is an independent non-profit organisation committed to increasing the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage, and impact of quality, peer-reviewed, open access scholarly research journals globally. Many libraries, publishers, and like-minded organisations support DOAJ. With the continued financial support from Nordic universities, we offer open access to all articles to make science available to everyone. In addition, we share information about our publications using social media so researchers and practitioners can easily find us.
Most important to Scandinavian researchers, the Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series, and Publishers now identifies NTCG as a level 1 journal. In the coming year, the editorial team will apply for approval in similar research indicator systems in other Nordic countries. We encourage authors to do the same through their national registers of scientific work.
To continuously improve the journal, our editors strive to publish papers that contribute to the knowledge of researchers and practitioners in our field. During the last year, we have updated our author guidelines and revised the descriptions for article types. We separated practice and policy articles into two different categories to better share the development or implementation of policies and practices that fall within the scope of the journal.
In 2021, our editorial group changed as Norwegian country editor Erik Hagaseth Haug resigned his position, and Ingrid Bårdsdatter Bakke from Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences became the new country editor.
In October, the Nordic Research Network on Transitions, Career and Guidance (NoRNet) held the conference titled “Career in the Post-Welfare Society” as a successful hybrid event in Bergen. The presentations and topics discussed at the conference demonstrated that even in these challenging times, significant research has been conducted and important developments have been occurring in the career guidance field. NJTCG welcomes the presenters at the conference to submit their papers to the journal because we feel that these contributions are high-quality, important, and relevant for a wider audience.
Our second issue features four empirical research articles from contributors from four Nordic countries. The first article provides insight into multi-professional guidance for at-risk youth in Finland. Two contributions from Sweden explore the job prospects and the educational achievements of migrants. The fourth article from Denmark explores the phenomenon of mid-career stuckness. The common thread among the articles is the interaction of the citizens in need of guidance, the professionals, and the policies and institutional systems.
Sanna Toiviainen and Kristiina Brunila’s research article addresses how problems of and solutions for youth “at risk” are produced in policies and multi-professional actor networks put in place, by looking at the local case of Finland. The theoretical framework of the article is derived from Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault, respectively, with its focus on networks as assemblages and discourse production in policy documents and interviews with professionals in different strands of social work. Three lines of assemblages were identified: vulnerability, life skills, and future orientation. The shared multi-professional language is characterized by individualized ways of identifying problems and blindness to structural and institutional problems. The authors conclude that this demonstrates the effects of neo liberalization of youth services and deprofessionalization raising concerns about the policies and resulting practices.
In her research article, Elin Ennenberg identifies five distinct trajectories for newly arrived migrants in Sweden who used introduction programs offered by the public employment services. The programs are based on policy reform that emphasizes labour market participation, such as workfare and social investment in the integration process. Two groups of migrants referred to as the “Swedish learners” and “work settlers” utilized the opportunities provided by the programs and met their needs or their personal goals in the labour market. Two other groups, referred to as the “establishment strugglers” and the “frustrated job seekers,” did not succeed in the labour market. The fifth group, known as “hindered establishers,” struggled to participate in the programs because they lacked general well-being. The study shows that policies and programs serve newly arrived migrants differently and provide mixed results.
The article from Ali Osman, Niclas Månsson, and Carina Carlhed Ydhag also addresses the experiences of migrants in Sweden and focuses on the influence of significant others on educational achievement. The empirical data contains interviews with 35 high-achieving students aged 17-19 years who have an immigrant background. The writings of Pierre Bourdieu and James Coleman on social capital provide the analytical framework for the article. The authors determined that the high-achieving students received academic support from a nurturing adult that they trusted and respected and that peers played an important role in encouragement and academic partnership. The parents of the students provided vital emotional support in lieu of direct academic assistance and material resources. Interestingly, a nurturing environment and relationships (i.e., emotional capital) compensated for the lack of resources and facilitated the educational achievement of the students who came from immigrant backgrounds.
Iben Treebak and Rie Thomsen conducted a study on mid-career stuckness using a grounded theory approach based on in-depth interviews with five life science professionals in Denmark. The study indicated a preliminary grounded theory that separates career stuckness among mid-career professionals into two categories: career stuckness as an emotion and career stuckness as a situation. As an emotion, career stuckness is a long-lasting, complex sense of professional unfulfillment and stagnation in a job or career path. As a situation, career stuckness describes the relation between the individual and labour market conditions and discourses regarding successful or expected career development (i.e., external circumstances outside the individuals control to which they actively relate). Thus, the emotional experience of career stuckness is also rooted in corporate and labour market structures and the perception of ‘a good career’ as a linear and upward process.
The editorial team wishes to thank several Nordic universities for their continuous financial support to the journal. These supporters include the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark; the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland; Department of Guidance Studies and Research, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway; Department of Applied Educational Science, Umeå University, Sweden. In addition, our new supporters include the Department of Education, Turku University, Finland and Department of Culture, Religion and Social Studies, University of Southeastern Norway. Furthermore, we want to thank the network of career counseling and guidance programs at higher education institution in the Nordic and Baltic countries (VALA) and Nordic Research Network on Transitions, Career and Guidance (NoRNet) who provide important support for the journal.
The authors have no competing interests to declare.