The MOTIV-ACTION project aims to create new career opportunities for unemployed adults by increasing and improving digital guidance services in Europe. Project partners will create a set of digital tools supporting unemployed adults to access learning or career opportunities. The project also develops innovative methodologies for employment counsellors, career guidance professionals, and adult education providers.
The MOTIV-ACTION project kicked off in November 2020, and since then, partners have been busy collecting good practices throughout Europe. The European Association for the Education of Adults has successfully gathered ten national examples from nine countries. With each of them, we have conducted 30-minute interviews and prepared two-minute videos to promote the initiatives. The videos will be available on the MOTIV-ACTION website (www.motiv-action.eu) together with the others created by the partners. Based on the lessons learnt from the practices, the consortium will prepare a handbook and an online course.
An overview of the national examples
The EAEA examples address both career and educational guidance. Some are more recent, but the majority represent well-established practices within the country. They mostly offer free services and pay particular attention to accessibility. Special emphasis is put on vulnerable groups and disadvantaged users. The Slovenian, Estonian, Slovakian, Maltese, and Danish e-guidance services are part of the Public Employment Services and are considered additional tools for unemployment offices. One step up (Ireland) and fit4internet (Austria) are managed by a partnership of public and private sectors, which makes them capable of covering a great variety of needs and target groups, as well as adopting a forward-looking approach. Skills forward from the UK is the only service promoted through other providers, like universities or colleges.
How (e-)guidance changed during the pandemic
One of the questions we asked in the interview was about the impact of the pandemic on the guidance services. All the interviewees confirmed they had to digitalise their day-to-day work. Some of them (like Skills Forward in the UK and the eGuidance system in Denmark) had no problems in that sense, as they had functioned completely remote before. The Danish system is particularly accessible in that regard, as anyone can contact them for a one-shot counselling session through phone or Skype during their long opening hours. The Estonian eGuidance and the Maltese Jobsplus were able to ensure their online presence in a career fair and offer supporting materials for users to profit fully from their services. The attendance and success were higher than expected, and thus they are considering using hybrid methodologies in the future. In countries like Slovakia and Slovenia, the employment and guidance online services could keep meeting their clients in periods with a low rate of Covid-19 cases.
Not only national initiatives
Our main goal was to find national examples of e-guidance. However, we wanted to include also the GOAL project. GOAL developed or expanded guidance and career orientation interventions for low-skilled adults in six countries: Belgium (Flanders), Czech Republic, Iceland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Slovenia (https://adultguidance.eu/about-the-project). Even though the project ended in 2018, it is still considered one of the most successful projects on the topic. We were able to talk to the project coordinator Nadia Reynders and find out more about the main outcomes of the various pilots. In particular, the one carried out in Belgium. The main recommendation she gave us was to set up an independent service to allow learners to get guidance and information on more diverse educational paths.
If you would like to find out more about the practices described, you can visit the following websites:
- Three digital portals for gaining work competences and searching vacancies; www.kaminkako.si, www.esvetovanje.si, poiscidelo.si, Slovenia
- One step up; https://www.onestepup.ie/, Ireland
- Skills Forward; https://www.skillsforward.co.uk/, UK
- GOAL (Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners); https://adultguidance.eu/, EU
- fit4internet; https://www.fit4internet.at/, Austria
- PES Estonia; https://www.tootukassa.ee/eng, Estonia
- Labour Market Internet Guide; https://www.istp.sk/, Slovakia
- Jobsplus; https://jobsplus.gov.mt/, Malta
- eGuidance Service; https://www.ug.dk/evejledning, Denmark