Developing and sustaining partnerships and networks
Developing partnerships and networks: programme aims
According to the needs and strengths analysis report, the main topics the GOAL project team attempted to address were the fact that participation of adults in non-formal education is below the EU 28 average, that persons with low or no qualifications are less likely to attend a suitable further education programme and the fact that there is no systemic guidance support for this particular target group at the national or regional level.
As it is mentioned in the needs analysis, career guidance for unemployed as provided by the Labour Office is not particularly sufficient. Despite the initial worries in the project implementation about, among others, reaching the target group, the GOAL project team has to point out that in the later stages of the project, an intensive cooperation with regional branches of the Labour Office has been established. Representatives of the Labour Office provided regional counsellors with suitable clients and the GOAL project offered a more sophisticated approach to the clients. Regarding the cooperation with regional branches of the Labour Office, the level of cooperation is currently at a very high level and beyond initial expectations.
Existence and scope of partnerships and networks
Cooperation with Labour Office is crucial in the Czech Republic, because they are the most important institution with regards to access to the target group of low skilled adults and the unemployed. The cooperation should also be done within the existing networks (e.g. networks of high schools etc.) and should include schools in order to get access to dropouts from the upper secondary education. Career counsellors must have extensive knowledge about adult education and validation system (e.g. National Register of Qualification). Within GOAL, regional counsellors have learnt that the most effective tool remains direct contact with the client. The GOAL project enabled this kind of opportunity for these clients, with the approach appearing to have a positive impact on psychological aspects and the confidence of the counselled clients.
Challenges and barriers
The initial worries of the project team focused mainly on cooperation with strategic partners (Labor Office) and on target group acquisition. Usually, the target group is very hard to reach given the fact that they don't have good experiences with services provided by schools or by the Labour Office. Within the GOAL project implementation, the project team managed to overcome both issues. Despite initial obstacles, the project team managed to highlight the benefits of mutual benefits and cooperation and convince them that regional counsellors are not their competitors. The eventual level of cooperation was at a very high level and was considered mutually beneficial. In terms of funding, there is a need for discussion which should be focused on finding a systemic solution and approach at the national level, because these services might help a client to determine his goals and motives but if we take into the account financial possibilities of this particular target group, they are usually not able to fund courses themselves. Within WAVE 1 attempts were made to establish cooperation with prisons, but this route was not possible as prisons already run their own programmes for inmates.
Strengths and achievements
The partners consider career guidance services provided within the GOAL project as a great tool to support the target group. They all expressed their willingness to participate in a similar project in the future. Regional counsellors would like to maintain contacts and exchange information with partners after the termination of the project. They would like to maintain cooperation at the highest possible level in order to have access to information. Maintaining the cooperation with relevant partners that has been established with regional partners is one of the biggest achievements of the project. In order to make this initiative sustainable it is necessary to resolve funding, since this target group is not able or willing to pay for the desired courses themselves.