Implications for future programme development
It is not guaranteed that the increased referral of clients by partner organisations will continue in the future. These referrals require persistent, ongoing efforts on the parts of de Stap and der Leerwinkel in promoting the educational guidance service. However, this requires a lot of energy and time from staff members.
Focusing on the further development of outreach strategies to reach the target group (and even the most vulnerable), asks for an expansion of counselling capacities. If more clients are reached and enrol in a guidance programme, more counsellors will need to be made available. The specific characteristics of the clients require intensive guidance and close follow-up. Therefore future programmes should provide sufficient resources.
There is still different types of target groups that haven’t been reached, more in particular ‘NEETs’, older low educated adults and working low educated adults. Strategies for additional partnerships in future programme development have to be developed to explicitly focus to reach out to these groups.
Implications of policy
Due to a lack of structural embeddedness the organisations deal with limited resources and time. Structural embeddedness could make the service of adult guidance more familiar with other organisations and with clients.
The lack of structural financial support and lack of resources, puts limitations on the efforts to reach out to more clients. More clients means a higher case load; this in turn means that new clients will not be served with the same level of quality their current clients receive.
Implications for policy
All relevant policy domains (education, work, social affairs and integration) should work together to endorse a long-term policy strategy to develop and support the GOAL service. In this strategy, commitments at policy level would include: finances, promotion of the service to reach out to the target group, collaboration regarding infrastructure and logistics (e.g. to organise outreach locations following the example of de Leerwinkel), referral of clients, information sharing and follow-up of clients, etc. These engagements should be made at central (national) level and being concretized at local level. A central back office of the GOAL service should support these policy engagements, interact with policy actors at central level and coordinate with networks and stakeholder collaboration at local level.
Policies related to outreach strategies should, in other words, be part of a wider policy framework within which the GOAL service should be developed and implemented. This policy framework has been described in an additional policy paper for further development of the GOAL service in Flanders.
As indicated in the section above, a structural embedment of the services could make the referral system easier. This way partner organisations will be familiar with the organisations and could refer clients to the service.