Implications for future programme development
GOAL guidance took place at two types of institution that provide adult education guidance using two specific methods: ISIO centres have a standardised guidance procedure, while secondary education centres provide guidance services in line with how active the centre is in the field of adult education.
As clients began to take part in the GOAL programme, a decision was taken to include only those who required more sessions, or who were involved in education or the acquisition of qualifications and who were returning to a counsellor for that reason. We wished to pilot the uniform guidance model at the two types of institution so as to establish the possibility of standardising adult education guidance and ascertain the differences and the preconditions that must be met for adult education guidance to be regarded as being of sufficient quality. We wanted to test the conviction, one that is present in many educational institutions: that guidance is every discussion between a client and a counsellor.
Guidance structured according to the protocol defined by the GOAL monitoring questionnaire allowed all counsellors to test, in practice, a structured and guided guidance process using the same set of questions. We thereby established a uniform structure for the guidance process – one that could, of course, be upgraded with individualised content in line with the client’s needs and the counsellor’s professional knowledge.
Implications of policy
In Wave 1, counsellors highlighted the greatest obstacle to the participation of vulnerable target groups in education as being a lack of co-financing of education and training programmes. The counsellors believed that this fact meant that they were encouraging clients to make decisions which, in light of objective circumstances, they would be unable to realise.
In Wave 2, various projects were implemented through which different training programmes in Slovenia are being co-financed. However, they aim solely at certain target groups. As the programmes had been designed with the aim of achieving national objectives, they often did not correspond to individuals’ personal objectives and needs. Counsellors are bound by the counselling doctrine to set the guidance process in such a way that it follows the wishes and objectives of the clients; however, they are limited by the objectives of the programmes to which they direct their clients, regardless of the wishes of those clients, since the programmes often do not correspond to individuals’ personal objectives.
Therefore, adult education guidance programmes, like other programmes that aim to encourage adults to become involved in education and training and are co-financed from various national and European funds, pursue objectives that are largely determined by labour market and employment policy. It is difficult for vulnerable groups (the disabled, the over-50s, migrants, adults with special needs) to achieve these objectives. Special programmes should be developed for these groups, which would enable guidance to be provided in a form that corresponded to individual target groups and do not merely pursue direct objectives that lead to a change in the client’s position on the labour market.
Implications for policy
In Slovenia, the biggest obstacles to establishing continuous guidance services for adults and low-educated adults are the uncertainty and fixed term funding based on projects and of the action plans developed as part of national strategies.
For that reason it is necessary to overcome those obstacles with new measures that ensure continuous financing of guidance services for adults in education, and a continuous range of education and training programmes that do not correspond only to the goals and needs of the labour market but also to individuals’ personal goals and to active participation in society, especially for vulnerable groups.