Implications for future programme development
The guidance service is not yet structurally developed and there is no professional back office to support counsellors in the development of specific tools. This lack of systematization contributes to diversity of tool used amongst counsellors. This is of course also linked to the custom-fit approach. However, throughout the GOAL project, the need had been identified (especially by new counsellors) to have supportive tools throughout the guidance process. A tool such as the flow chart or description of different steps in the process could support the coherence of the process and its quality throughout Flanders.
A professional back office could also be useful in analysing data derived from the data-monitoring system. In the context of the micro-contacts and use of social media it will be necessary to develop an ethical framework for guarding certain boundaries.
The counsellors have described some minimum criteria for a registration system to be developed in the future, when the GOAL service will be structurally developed:
Text fields should be avoided and only be used as support for the counsellor. The quantification of data is difficult in text fields. All information relevant for statistics should be entered in drop down lists.
There should be a link with the data base of the Ministry related to educational routes in the past and obtained qualifications by a person.
Ideally there should be a link with other databases (integration, welfare and labour) in order to have an overview of the statutes of the clients (E.g. integration program, employment guidance, social welfare support, etc.) and the contact persons in other guidance programs to exchange information with
The system should be web based and be accessible from every computer
It should be possible to include relevant documents of clients in the system
Alert system should be included to support counsellors in following up on actions.
Implications of policy
Right now both de Stap and de Leerwinkel do not have a structural embedment. Counsellors and coordinators of the services are responsible for their own data-analysis. As they have limited knowledge and expertise in data-analysis, it could be helpful to hire an external person. Leaving this part as one of the responsibilities of the counsellors, may produce distorted results which are not always accurate or meaningful.
At the moment there is no exchange of data possible between the current registration system and other systems (Ministry of Education, PES, Integration Service, etc.). Therefore, counsellors are very dependent on the information that the client provides to get the complete picture of the client’s context, his educational past, statutes related to unemployment support, etc. Or the information must be acquired from persons from other organisations, which is time consuming. The lack of exchange of data is linked to privacy regulations and the lack of structural embedment of the GOAL service.
Implications for policy
Structural embedding of an educational guidance service would be helpful in developing a professional back office that supports the development of specific tools and which is able to monitor and analyse registered data on a micro-level.