Implications for future programme development
A clear and unambiguous definition of the target group is likely to facilitate recruitment and promote efficient collaboration amongst partners. The lack of commitment and readiness among the target group in the GOAL project, that resulted in many dropouts and no-shows, implies that these are important factors to take into account for future project development. It took time to form cooperation and an effective referral process with appropriate organisations, but when in place, it turned out to be the most successful way to reach out to the target group. The success of the cooperative partnership in the referral process and the usefulness of the steering group are an important implication for future program development. The lack of willingness to cooperate among companies suggests that agreements regarding collaboration, commitment and partnerships should be in place at the early stages of program development, in order to maximise the efficiency of outreach efforts. In short, all future programme developments will need to make realistic estimates of how much resource is needed to bring clients to the programme. This may involve some organisations making bigger commitments to gather a certain number of clients for the project.
Implications of policy
In Iceland there is lack of funds for flexible opening hours at the LLL-centres. This could be a barrier for potential service users who are employed full-time. There are no incentives in place that motivate employers to participate in a project like GOAL.
Implications for policy
Outreach services could possibly be stronger where there is top down assistance and cooperation at the policy level regarding identification of efficient services and partnerships for the target group. It was for example challenging to get into companies – managers must be interested and open the gateway to potential service users. How to get them interested is sometimes too much of a challenge for the counsellor and extra effort is needed from higher levels. Policy may be able to provide incentives for employers to invest in their staff by working with projects such as GOAL. Also, the development of a job role for someone in the counselling service to work specifically at company recruitment, could be one way of addressing this.
An efficient referral system between professionals, so that the target group is referred to educational- and vocational guidance when they have reached the necessary readiness is essential. There may be a need to reinforce the ability to identify the appropriate readiness for learning- or career development among referral agents. If the aim is to reach low-qualified workers, then there is a need to analyse the cost-effectiveness of flexible opening hours, e.g. making counselling available in the evenings and/or on weekends.