From education to employment

Lifelong Guidance: Different models to measure impact

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, UK, EU and International careers policy, research and practice specialist

Cedefop -Towards European Standards for Monitoring and Evaluation of Lifelong Guidance Systems and Services   (VOL. I)

This new first volume published today by the Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) is framed within a large European project (including contributions form the UK) that looks into individual support to careers and learning to shed light on the efficacy of current upskilling, reskilling and activation measures. It examines career development and guidance systems and services for adults. It aims to explore the potential for an integrated vision of the results of guidance interventions.

Supporting careers and learning is a key necessity in all parts of the UK now and in the future. For the government’s Levelling Up Agenda positions both people and places as central to the vision’s longer term success. To date, there has been limited dialogue on how careers and access to learning can increase beyond one-off government short-medium term initiatives.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee in England offers seeds of hope for all adults:

“This Government will help everyone to get the skills they need at every stage in their lives”(p.5).

As budgets tighten in the coming year(s), different models will be required to measure the impact of lifelong learning and lifelong guidance services. A renewed focus on the methodological options available for monitoring and evaluating career guidance and career development services will be necessary.

This new free volume of papers presents six research papers covering a range of existing and proposed methodological approaches and in-depth reviews of previous work, identifying gaps and considering solutions. This first Volume focuses on adults and offers differing ‘tried and tested’ ways to develop an evidence-base to inform Ministers, policymakers, researchers, managers and practitioners, including return on investment (ROI) pp.109 -138. The latter should be of interest to HM Treasury.

The importance of career guidance and counselling is increasingly emphasised in EU and national skills strategies and policies, along with discussions on better coordinated policy and authentic collaboration. Less so, within the context of England compared to the Celtic nations.

At a practical level, we need to gather further evidence on how systematic data collection through
monitoring and evaluation can be appropriately used to support professionalism of careers and employability practitioners including initial training, qualifications, quality assurance and continuing professional development, and system development.

The Cedefop report is framed within a larger project aiming to explore the feasibility of achieving an integrated vision of the results of career guidance interventions and establishing minimum standards for comparable monitoring and evaluation.

Contributions from Cynthia Harrison, Cedefop Ernesto Villalba-Garcia, Cedefop, Professor Alan Brown, Institute for Employment Research (IER), University of Warwick (UK) Michael Richardson, ICF International, (UK), Chris Percy (DMH Associates & the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS), Derby et al.

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE is Director, DMH Associates (Exeter) and Co-Director of CareerChat Ltd. She is also Honorary Associate Professor at the Warwick University, Institute for Employment Research (IER).

Related Articles