Adult guidance in six European Countries
Project GOAL was a European policy experimentation under the Erasmus+ Key Action 3 (Support for policy reform). The GOAL acronym stands for Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners
GOAL aimed to develop or expand guidance and orientation interventions for low-educated adults in six countries: Belgium (Flanders); Czech Republic; Iceland; Lithuania; the Netherlands, and Slovenia. Running from February 2015 to January 2018, GOAL was coordinated by the Flemish Government’s Department of Education and Training. The evaluation was carried out by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), London, in partnership with local evaluation teams in each country.
The context for GOAL is that adult education provision in the six countries is fragmented and there is a lack of coordination between the different providers and stakeholders that are involved with low-educated adults. Moreover, although the partner countries have some forms of guidance for adult learners, or have specific policy strategies that focus on educational guidance and orientation, the existing services, or the structures on which these services rely, do not reach the adults most in need of education as well as they could or in sufficient numbers.
GOAL was a guidance pilot targeted at adults without upper secondary education (ISCED level 3). It tested the hypothesis that a guidance service centred on the needs of low-educated adults may help to increase the participation of this cohort in education and training. Each of the six partner countries piloted new guidance models at two or more programme sites to specific target groups within the low-educated adult population.
Though the specific focus of the GOAL intervention differed somewhat across countries, the pilot had four primary implementation objectives:
- developing and/or enhancing partnerships and networks with other organisations serving the target groups
- engaging in outreach activities designed to bring guidance services to those target groups
- defining the competences which counsellors require to enable them to address the specific needs of GOAL clients, and
- developing and effectively using guidance tools tailored to low-educated adults.
Through the combination of these four intervention strategies, countries pursued a fifth, overarching objective: to provide high-quality guidance services that optimised adults’ education and/or employment outcomes.
The six GOAL programmes were targeted at specific sub-groups of low-educated adults who were seen as particularly in need of guidance in their respective countries:
- Czech Republic: early school leavers, immigrants, and adults with a criminal record
- Flanders: unqualified school leavers, migrants and unemployed job seekers
- Iceland: vulnerable adults facing multiple barriers to progress in education and employment
- The Netherlands: adults with low basic skills
- Lithuania: early school leavers and low-qualified adults
- Slovenia: low-educated adults, migrants and people aged over 50.
Within each country, different intervention sites typically had different mixes of the national target groups, due to local demographics.