Implications for future programme development
Although there are certain similarities among the GOAL clients (age, employment status), counsellors face a diverse group of people that require a tailor made approach. There is a strong diversity in terms of language, cultural and social background as well as learning barriers faced by clients. The multiple barriers make clear that educational guidance is more complex than only bringing different educational possibilities under the attention of clients and that a client-centred, solution-focused approach is necessary.
Since the data show that many clients deal with a low level of self-efficacy and that many of them indicate that negative prior experiences constitute a barrier for restarting education, a special focus during the guidance should be laid on developing self-awareness, confidence and self-efficacy. A focus on these qualities should be perceived as fundamental to succeed in an educational track.
Most clients, however, demonstrate a positive learning attitude and a high level of learning objectives. This can be explained by the fact that the clients who are referred to the service have demonstrated a learning need and learning interest in previous services based on which they have been referred. It is important that referral partners focus systematically on recognizing this learning need and interest, and developing a habit to refer persons with a learning need to the GOAL service. The counsellor can further explore the learning need, further develop the learning intention and finally translate them into a learning demand which leads to an educational choice and active participation in education or learning.
Although the majority of the clients in the GOAL target group are young adults, staff members, stakeholders and policymakers emphasize that it is not only young people who need the service. The intervention did not have a particular focus to bring older clients to de Leerwinkel, where people of all ages were targeted. As a result only 17% of the target group of de Leerwinkel is older than 36. Given that low educated older job seekers and employees are especially vulnerable on the labour market and have needs to be re-educated or get a higher degree, future programme development should focus on developing partnerships that can reach older low-educated adults, both unemployed as employed.
The current guidance service is mainly reaching low-educated unemployed adults. This is a sensible focus as 1 in 2 unemployed or inactive persons in Flanders is low-educated. Nonetheless, there is also a considerable number of employed adults who are low-educated, with 1 out of 5 employees lacking a diploma of higher secondary education. They are in a precarious situation as they often work in economically sensitive sectors (for example, sectors in competition with low-salary countries) or are pushed out of the labour market by the higher educated. Therefore, a future service should also develop strategies to reach low-educated adults in the labour market through relevant partnerships such as for example sector and employer organisations, trade unions and companies. It should however be taken into account that adults who want to combine studying with a job and a family might often face even more barriers than young unemployed adults.
 The development from educational need to educational participation is based on a model from Herman Baert as explained in following article: Towards the conceptualization of ‘learning Climate’, Baert H., De Rick K., Van Valckenborgh K. In: Adult education: new routes in a new landscape / De Castro, R.V.; Sancho, A.V.; Guimaraes, P.P. (Eds.). - Braga: University do Minho (pp. 87-111). Braga: University of Minho.