A day in the life of Biserka, a GOAL counsellor in Slovenia
My ordinary day within the GOAL project depended on my location – either I worked at our institution, at the Guidance Centre Velenje, or at another institution. At our institution I first checked and replied my e-mail. Then I prepared all necessary materials and guidance tools for working with clients (forms, statements, questionnaires etc.).
Usually, all my counselling sessions with clients were pre-arranged and scheduled. The sessions lasted between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the planned activities. Especially when clients needed multiple sessions, the length of the first session was longer because together with the client we prepared an individual plan, numbered the tasks and then followed through with the plan. For this purpose I had prepared a form – possibilities of enrolling in a free formal or informal education programme and the possibilities of validating non-formal and informal knowledge (compilation of a portfolio and validation of specific competences: digital, language, learning to learn and career planning competence).
For example, with three clients we also conducted a procedure of German language competence validation, including all the accompanying documentation. In order to carry out this procedure I planned a two-hour-session with a German teacher, which included written and oral testing of German language skills. With the German teacher we prepared an assessment of the language competence that the client included in her portfolio.
With every client we have identified their acquired competences and strengths. We also tried to visualize where they see themselves in an ideal scenario in 3 years. Then we tried to find ways how to get there (by using the form). Sessions that included enrolment in a formal education programme lasted particularly long because the client and I had to check entry requirements, nearby institutions providing a specific programme, curriculum, course of education programme, recognition of exams, enrolment process etc., depending on each individual case. The clients filled out a questionnaire on learning styles, because it is important for them to find out what type of learner they are and how they can learn the most effective. Before every session with a client I prepared myself for the session by checking which of the planned steps the client had already taken and what their next step was, what we would do on that day’s session. At the end of every session, we filled out a GOAL questionnaire, which was based on the GOAL data monitoring database.
On a daily basis, I provided this type of counselling to up to 3 clients. If I offered counselling at a partner institution, I had set a date, time and place of the individual session with clients beforehand. On those days I had more sessions than usually because of the 25 km drive. Working with those clients was very demanding, since the clients were vulnerable low-qualified adults. I checked my e-mail on my phone and replied it upon my return or on the following day. I had to bring all the necessary materials and tools with me to this location.
After I had finished work with clients, I had to enter all data and questionnaires in an excel table (data monitoring database), which required great precision.
Besides working with clients, almost all my days included other activities: I was required to work on our partner network, formulate and conduct meetings, make preparations, write meeting minutes and period reports with all supporting documentation required by the project. I also had to arrange meetings in other institutions that work with our target groups, present the project and the clients’ possibilities and enthuse them about collaboration. My work also included working on the promotion in the media, on our website, on Facebook and on presentations to future clients. This part of my work was not as interesting as working with clients.
My work was disrupted when unannounced clients stopped by, whom I couldn’t receive, so I set a date and time for sessions with them in the following days.
All in all, working with clients gives me energy and brings me joy, because between individual sessions I can see progress, changes, new beliefs, enrolment in education programmes and build good relationships with my clients. The feeling that I do a lot of good for my clients is priceless.