Implementation and aims
The establishment of an Advisory committee set up the stage for information sharing between service providers linked to the target group. The information sharing was of great value for setting up connections between stakeholders and cooperative partnerships. Improved cooperation has led to more knowledge, for everyone involved, about available resources for the target group which increased the quality of the service provided in GOAL and hopefully future guidance services. The method group was established to identify useful tools and methods. Career counsellors received additional training in using new methods. The training was effective in building competences suitable for the target group. The cooperative partnerships and the counsellors’ training affected the counsellor’s competence and indirectly the service quality.
Strengths and achievements
The guidance services at the LLL-centres have gained more cooperative partnerships linked to the target group and received valuable information on what is in development among other service providers and on the situation of the target group. Ministries are more aware of the benefits of guidance. The sharing of information and knowledge has an indirect effect on service quality.
The methods and tools brought forth in the project were of high quality and the counsellors were trained in using them (i.e. Motivational interviewing and Career Adapt-Ability Inventory (CAAI) scale). It was very useful for the GOAL counsellors to have an opportunity to get a glimpse of the toolbox of other specialists working with the more vulnerable groups. Internal factors are in many cases the main barrier towards progress, but the training in motivational interviewing has proven to be very effective in detecting those issues and defining and dealing with "resistance talk". The notion of identifying high and low resistance can also assist in regard to referrals to other professionals. Learning how to use new methods and tools was very competence-building for the counsellors and promoted service quality.
The counsellors were all professional career counsellors. Quality measures were in place (European Quality Mark in development). Guidance processes were in place, tailor made group counselling was developed. When participants were recruited/referred to educational guidance the tools turned out to be useful as long as the ‘readiness level’ was appropriate. In general, the guidance in GOAL has proven to be satisfactory for the participants. It has provided them with more self-confidence towards further competence development – be it personal or professional.
The information exchange that took place through the method group provided valuable learning. Mapping and discussions of methods and tools was useful to everyone. Increased knowledge of the target group is beneficial to all stakeholders and enhanced service quality. Through GOAL, partnerships have been strengthened. The Program partners and other stakeholders share a willingness to formalise and develop the partnership further, with the aim of working towards a more holistic high-quality service for the target group.
Challenges and barriers
The role of the counsellors and other actors in reaching out to the target group within companies remains a challenge. More cooperation is needed. The baseline for referrals to educational- and vocational guidance needs to be clear in regards to readiness of the client. There are policy and institutional borders that need to be discussed and addressed. It takes a lot of effort to get people joined in creating holistic high-quality services and a lot of commitment on behalf of policy makers. Lack of available financial resources can decrease the quality of the service by limiting options and opportunities for the service users.
Baseline and progress across GOAL’s five intervention strategies
The table below provides a brief evaluative summary of the quality of different aspects of the GOAL programme in Iceland, comparing quality at the start of the evaluation (baseline) and at the end. In this table, we provide numerical ratings for each of the five intervention areas, and an explanation of that rating for each category. These ratings and explanations are provided for the start of the evaluation and the end, with the aim of briefly summarising key issues and change over time. In addition to provide ratings and commentary for the five core GOAL intervention areas, we also address overall service quality and policy interest/support. The latter is a key factor in determining future programme sustainability.