Key findings

Guidance tools

Context and aims

A framework has been developed to map the existing tools that are used both in de Stap and de Leerwinkel. Within it, different steps in the guidance process are identified:

  • exploring the self (competences, interests, values and beliefs, self-confidence, studying skills)
  • exploring the environment (information on education and training, information on sectors and professions, conditions and obstacles, personal network)
  • crystallising, choosing and binding.

Both de Leerwinkel and de Stap have carried out mapping process of all tools they are using throughout the guidance process to identify suitable tools for each phase in the guidance process.

The existing registration system of de Leerwinkel has been adapted to the needs of the GOAL project, allowing for the registration of the monitoring data required for the evaluation and also for the registration of steps taken in the guidance process. The aim here was to improve the quality of the process and to better follow up on the results of the sessions and the agreements made with the client.

Different information and referral tools for stakeholder partners have been developed and/or improved by de Leerwinkel (cf. above).

New communication tools (What’s App and Facebook) were successfully tested and integrated by de Stap as part of their communication strategy with clients, to keep in touch more easily to follow up on progress and motivation.

Within the GOAL project a guidance flow chart has been developed based on the experiences of the GOAL counsellors throughout the project. The development of this flow included reflection on the guidance process in order to make counsellors aware of the most important steps to be taken in de process. It is to be used as a supportive tool rather than a step-by-step instruction manual for a (new) counsellor.

Tool selection, development and use

GOAL counsellors can use different tools to support guidance and orientation. Not every tool is as useful for every counsellor with every client. Much depends on the profile and needs of the client. The counsellor’s profile also influences the usefulness of the tool.

Tools are a means to support the achievement of a certain aim. Therefore:

  • The prescriptions about the use of tools must not be too rigid or strict.
  • Tools must be as user-friendly as possible. Especially the currently used data monitoring system partially fails, because, in gathering data needed for the evaluation of GOAL, it gathers more information than relevant to guidance and orientation towards adult education while some data that are relevant for monitoring (such as qualifications) are difficult to collect in the current system.
  • Information on websites of other organisations must be kept complete and up to date.

Strengths and achievements

Generally speaking, tools help counsellors to improve the service provided to clients. However, staff members believe in a balanced use of tools: scripts for guidance and individual action plans are useful, but they should not be too rigid and strict.

Some guidance tools, like text messages or certain information on the internet, seem obvious and therefore they are not always thought of as tools. However, their usefulness to GOAL should not be underestimated. The use of social media and micro-contacts facilitate the work of counsellors as they keep the counsellors updated about their clients and provide a way to counsel on a micro-level. It allows the counsellor to quickly check the motivation or the progress of the client and it gives the client a great sense of being supported.

The use of tools such as shared agendas and monitoring systems reduces certain barriers for clients and facilitate the counselling process.

Challenges and barriers

Attention should be paid to the side effects in the use of social media, more, such as boundaries in terms of time and personal space. Tools which provide data are not always easy for the counsellors to use. The use and analyzation of data requires additional time investment, supplementary expertise and knowhow.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A COUNSELLOR

Iceland
Iceland

"GOAL interview: a client came to discuss a program for validation of employability skills, in which she is going to participate."

"In-house discussions with other counsellors and project managers on an unexpected issue with a student. We tried to solve the issue together. We had to contact another school."

Lithuania
Lithuania

“Presentation for unemployed people about possibilities to get involved into the Goal project and get free of charge orientation and guidance.”

“Orientation and guidance of adult people. 2 clients are consulted: they are unemployed and have plans for learning a new profession in order to find a job.“

Netherlands
Netherlands

“The prison population and educational needs of the detainees are far from homogeneous.”

 “Usually, there are 6 to 8 detainees at a time, each with an individual program. I guide them. The guidance can be focused on basic education, vocational education or specific courses detainees are taking at that time”

Slovenia
Slovenia

"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 I can build good relationships with my clients."

 

"The feeling that I do a lot of good for my clients is priceless."

Czech Republic
Czech Republic

“At the start of every session, counsellors try to gather information about the client, his or her position within the family and wider friendship circles, and his or her health. They also explore the client’s feelings, ideas and motivation.”

“Based on the client’s answers, the counsellor selects ways to proceed in order to meet the client’s needs and goals.”

Flanders
Flanders

"All information, agreements made and steps taken during sessions are written down in the registration system"

“Even the names of persons clients have been talking about are registered in order to remember the whole communication line and, more importantly, to avoid them having to say things twice. It creates a sense of trust with our clients.”

TESTIMONIALS

from clients, counsellors and stakeholders

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