The future of guidance and career counselling in Europe

| 27 Febbraio 2012 | Comments (6)

eGOS: e-Guidance and e-Government  Services

 

The article was written by  Mariarosa Di Nubila and Maria Chiara Vita Finzi, Melius s.r.l. , Bologna-Italy.

In memory and on behalf of Cristina Cogoi

 

Il presente articolo affronta l’evoluzione delle politiche e delle strategie di orientamento scolastico e professionale in Europa, e le sue interazioni permanenti, lungo tutto l’arco della vita, con quelle educative/formative ed occupazionali. Di fatto il riconoscimento dell’orientamento come fase fondamentale per guidare i cittadini verso e all’interno del mondo dell’istruzione e del lavoro, (dall’ingresso fino al mantenimento e la crescita) ha fatto sì che negli ultimi 10 anni il dialogo fra istruzione/formazione e carriera professionale ed integrazione sociale sia diventato sempre più complesso e sistematico. Infatti,
le interazioni suggerite dall’orientamento, nel ruolo di ponte e mediatore fra mondo della formazione e quello del lavoro, hanno sviluppato metodi, prassi e strumenti di orientamento per meglio rispondere all’esigenze “glocali” di saper, saper fare e saper essere. In aggiunta al quadro storico europeo, in cui hanno preso forma Agende di intenti politici (Processo di Copenhagen, Agenda di Lisbona, etc) e finanziamenti e progetti, l’articolo segue con la presentazione di un progetto innovativo “eGos Service”, finanziato dall’Unione Europea ed ideato a Bologna (Italia), nell’ambito delle politiche dell’eGovernment. Il progetto punta a sperimentare ed implementare servizi di orientamento innovativi, integrati con quelli tradizionali, affinchè l’apporto del web e delle TIC (Tecnologie per l’informazione e la comunicazione), possano facilitare un aggiornamento continuo e veloce di possibilità di studio, lavoro e mobilità europea, oltre ad abbattere i costi di gestione e facilitare quindi l’accesso a tutti i cittadini, oltre a garantire così nuovi servizi di miglior qualità per tutti, compresi i cittadini più svantaggiati, con difficoltà di movimento o residenti in zone remote rispetto ai centri urbani. (disabili, madri-lavoratrici, giovani all’estero,  ..etc)

 

 

Introduction

This article aims at presenting the experience of eGos Project1 (eGovernment and eGuidance Services) which is being developed since October 2009 to April 2012 within the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) of European Union.

Before analysing each detail of this experimental challenge we like briefly define the eGos project as an ambitious attempt in 5 different European Countries (Bulgaria, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Romania) towards two innovative achievements/acknowledge:
1.    on the one hand the eGOs project has been implementing a new integration between traditional and innovative/digital guidance services for public and private bodies,
2.    on the other hand this project has been enhancing and supporting the idea of lifelong e-guidance by using ICT and Web 2.0 tools to facilitate and extend a further and easier access to the right of guidance for all traditional and new potential users/beneficiaries (citizens, professionals, students and practitioners, public and private bodies/institutions) in the field of education guidance and career-vocational consulting service.

As far as the developed concept and the adopted approach of guidance in eGos project are concerned, it’s fundamental to take a step backward, touching on the following important aspects:
–    the European history of “guidance” in order to realize how the idea of educational and professional counselling has been progressed in the past 50 years by public-private bodies, citizens and users involved in this improving process.
–    the relation between guidance and ICT&WEB 2.0 which has brought about a deep change into this sector arriving to create a new name “e-guidance”.

 

The history of guidance evolution: the start-point.

Mentioning the historical studies of A. G. Watts, Ronald, G. Sultana and J. McCarthy (The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History)2, this document illustrates that EU organisations, researchers and public and private bodies have been taking into consideration the issues of “guidance” since 1961, triggering a new trend into the EU policy scenarios: “The European Community’s first major policy attention to what was then termed “vocational guidance” was in the 1961 European Social Charter adopted by European governments (Council of Europe, 1961)”3.

After this first start, the topic of “guidance” has requested a long time to be analysed and integrated into different EU policies related to Education, Job Market and Social Improvement for EU citizens. Only within the improving process suggested and triggered by the “Lisbon Agenda, aimed at making the EU, within ten years, the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world” (Presidency Conclusions – European Council, 2000)”4 the name and the issues of “guidance” has been launched towards many fields. It was in 2000. Following the evolution of European Union, being at the beginning a small group of countries till now consisting in 27 Member states, the concept of guidance has signed a strong influence on all economical, social and cultural improvements of European policies.

The reading of this above-mentioned research (The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History ) is strongly recommended in order to have an integrated scenery about the evolution of guidance.
The history of guidance has been developed during three different periods as well as A. G. Watts, Ronald G. Sultana and J. McCarthy have defined5:

•    First period: Foundation (1957-1992)
•    Second period: Consolidation (1992-2000)
•    Last period: Elevation (2000 to the present)

Each period has been featured by an heterogeneous names and concepts of guidance strongly linked to the evolution of European policies in the field of Education, Job-research and market, social and cultural Inclusion.

In this first period of “Foundation” the right of guidance has been accepted by the EU Community:
“Everyone has the right to appropriate facilities for vocational guidance with a view to helping him choose an occupation suited to his personal aptitude and interests.”)6. This point was related to “the individual’s characteristics and their relation to occupational opportunity: this assistance should be available free of charge, both to young persons, including schoolchildren, and to adults”.
With these first statements we can see that the “vocational guidance” definition has been recognized as a fundamental step and activity to improve the EU Education&Training society in collaboration with many areas of Member States’ interests, in particular with those related to the vocational training for which “in 1963, the Council of Ministers accordingly established Guidelines for a Vocational Training Policy”. This action was an attempt to co-ordinate a responsive guidance services for young and adult people of European Community in line with common financial and human resources addressed to this kind of social and learning improvements.
In addition to it, these further improvements: “.. were complemented by more specific studies of guidance services for adults (Köditz, 1989), of transnational guidance activities (Plant, 1990), of the occupational profiles of vocational counsellors (Watts, 1992), and of career guidance services for disadvantaged young people (Chisholm, 1994)8.”
Moreover, this period has closed its political activities starting to pay attention also to“ counselling in order to identify individual problems and to provide motivation, particularly for those at risk of becoming long-term unemployed; such counselling should be available at regular and frequent intervals, take a properly structured form and place emphasis on follow-up measures” (87/C 335/01, OJ No.C355, 15/12/87)9.
During this “foundation period” a base about guidance services was finally implemented thanks to these above-mentioned new and first achievements and therefore the following period would have signed a further development.

With the second period of “Consolidation” which has lasted 8 years (from 1992 to 2000) a strong innovation has been implemented in the EU policies, as far as the development of guidance is concerned.
“A key aim of the Single Market was to encourage the mobility of goods, services and capital, which had major implications for the mobility of students, trainees and workers. To support the successful management of such mobility, a strong case was made for effective networking between guidance services in each of the member-states. This required action at EU level as well as within the member-states themselves. Career guidance accordingly began to rise on the EU policy agenda”10.
This is the fundamental step though which the guidance services have taken off: in a parallel way, the following programmes “Leonardo programme (covering vocational training) was complemented by such programmes as Socrates (covering secondary education), Comenius (covering pre-primary, primary and secondary education) and Grundtvig (covering adult education)”11. In fact, this programmes supporting “innovative transnational pilot projects, researches, and exchanges and placements”12 have allowed to give a stronger input to implement the guidance services and consulting in all EU Member states which have started to adopted the concept of “subsidiary” to collaborate and integrate different resources from each to other and vice versa.
All of these above-mentioned programmes have launched a new Employment Policy leaving the guidance services and actions towards a limited vision to prevent the exclusion of those people who would have risked to be unemployed for a long period.
Through this approach guidance has been adopted to redress a problem instead of being a measure to prevent and promote new solutions for a wide amount of EU citizens with the problem of marginalisation.
Other programmes have been developed to trigger new strategies for lifelong learning activities as well as the most important LLP (lifelong learning programme) has grouped in all above-mentioned actions.
Therefore, a wide range of activities have been funded and budgeted by the European Union in order to implement lifelong learning experiences and pilots, researches, studies and surveys. As consequence of it, the concept of guidance has needed to open a new dimension and cover a new important position in this new scenario of social and professional development for Europe.

In 2000 a new epoch has started to the present: the third epoch of Elevation. The guidance and career services have seen a bigger and more stimulate improvement which has allowed to achieve new roles and develop innovative forms and way of using.
“Memorandum on Lifelong Learning (EC, 2000) highlighted the importance of guidance in this respect. This led to a consultation process across Europe to identify coherent strategies and practical measures that could foster lifelong learning for all. The outcome was the Commission’s Communication on lifelong learning (EC, 2001): This reiterated the key role of guidance in national lifelong learning strategies, and included a recommendation that a European Guidance Forum be established”13.
At this point, a strong correlation between lifelong learning activities and guidance actions has been signed in a clear way.

“(…), a particularly significant European political development for the provision of lifelong guidance was the adoption by the Council of Education Ministers in 2004 of a Resolution on lifelong guidance (Resolution 9286/04 EDUC 109 SOC 234, 18 May 2004): the first time it had passed such a measure on this topic. Drawing upon the results of the international reviews, the Resolution identified five key areas where, across the EU, reform was needed:
•    The development of lifelong guidance systems.
•    The broadening of access to guidance across the lifespan.
•    The strengthening of quality-assurance mechanisms for guidance services, information and products, especially from a citizen/user perspective.
•    The refocusing of guidance provision to develop citizens’ career management skills.
•    The strengthening of structures for policy and systems development at national and regional levels”14.

After that, an added step in order to support the link between lifelong learning and lifelong guidance system has been carried out thanks to the further aspect: One of the most particular aspects of this period it has been the “recommendation to strengthen structures for policy and systems development at national and regional levels “by involving appropriate key players”15.

Following these ideas new groups of policy-makers, stakeholders and experts, supported by the EC and national public and private bodies have been become interested in promoting the above-illustrated key-strategies for lifelong guidance around Europe.

“Citizens were acknowledged as stakeholders who should be consulted in the development of policies and systems for career guidance. The Resolution thus reflected “a paradigm shift in how career guidance is conceptualised and delivered, and how to make the transition from traditional models to a lifelong guidance approach” (Sultana, 2008, p. 12)”16.

As said previously, the Lisbon Agenda which “ moved education from the margins of European governance to the centre of its policy-making, and tied it more closely to the realm of employment”17 has started an improving development which would have brought about a completed change of direction into the EU Education and Training policy.
Thanks to this acknowledge, education and all issues related to it have had the opportunity to be valorised, recognized and developed till the updated definition of nowadays.
“Within this context, “lifelong guidance” has replaced “vocational guidance” as the focus of EU policy formation.

The change is significant in two respects. First, the distinction between educational and vocational guidance is now much more blurred, in line with the merging of education and training. Second, the focus is now on providing guidance throughout life. This reflects developments in the labour market which suggest that, in knowledge based societies and economies, transitions between education, training and work are becoming less linear, and that consequently skills in managing education, training and occupational pathways are increasingly needed by all citizens throughout their lifespan.
Therefore a new definition and idea of guidance has been framed:
“The concept of “lifelong guidance” is a contested notion, as is the concept of “lifelong learning” to which it is linked. The move from “education and training” to “learning” moves the primary focus from structures and institutions to the individual learner; a heightened attention to guidance is a natural complement to this change. Some writers see such concepts as being informed by a neo liberal ideology and ethic that individualises public woes: In the lifelong learning/guidance discourse, it is the entrepreneurial individual who, as a “good citizen,” must constantly engage in learning/training to maintain “use value” in what has been dubbed “the ruthless economy,” where “market reform insists that we learn, all the time, about everything, exhaustively and exhaustingly all through our lives” (Seddon & Mellor, 2006, p. 209)19.
On the other hand, lifelong guidance can alternatively be viewed as a manifestation of “reclaimed citizenship” (Sultana, 2008, p. 17), inspired by a desire to empower citizens to understand and gain some control over conditions generated by a “risk society” (Beck, 1992), where lifelong job tenure and guaranteed economic security are increasingly threatened features in the social contract between the state and the individual. In such a context, career guidance is seen as one aspect of the state’s duty to provide support to its citizens as they navigate the challenging social and economic vicissitudes of contemporary life (cf. Watts, 2000).

Exactly within this above-illustrated scenario, the eGos project has implemented its challenge, providing innovation for users-citizens, private-public bodies and institutions in order to be available to face and solve problems and discover new opportunities in line with all modern issues and changes in the field of inclusion, job-market and education&training.

 

Guidance, ICT and web 2.0: eGuidance development.

The society of nowadays has different names which identify various trends and attitude of its development in the field of market, education, training, economic, health and social issues:
“Information Society”, “Society of knowledge”, “Human capital value time” are only some of the idea of the progress of the world today.
Behind each of this definition, we can look at different researches studying the increasing of new technologies, in particular those ones of information and communication which have been influencing the daily life of each person, citizen, professional, student, policy-maker and so on.
Within of this scenario a further aspect has been fundamental to realize how the human life is going to be changed for ever by the ICT and the web 2.0 tools.
Weinberg (2008) defines this epoch as “the democratisation of information” basing it on:
–    the possible and the real interaction among people from all over the world (at the same time being in different places) and
–    the opportunity to create personal-content based information which have been bringing about fundamental changes into each process of citizenship, social and economical participation/inclusion and also therefore into the environment of career exploration.
The parallel spreading of new technologies has been influencing the development of distance and on-line services which the creation of new on-line services providers (public and private bodies) are related to.
Framing our analysis within the topic of the career counselling and the education guidance services we can see how the development of ICT and web2.0 have been playing a relevant role also towards their new and digital progress, figuring out a “range of technological trends that are likely to have impact on the way this career exploration environment develops. Eight trends are identified:
1. Community: The internet is an important site for community interaction: technology has increasingly become a tool to facilitate a wide range of communication.
2. Collectivising knowledge: A feature of many Web 2.0 technologies is their ability to collectivise and aggregate the opinions of many.
3. Individualisation: Users are increasingly able to individualise and tailor their relationships with online content.
4. Recognising time and place: Technologies are now enabling us to interact with the web in ways that recognise and identify time and place. This is particularly important to career exploration.
5. Located in the cloud: The way in which both applications and data are stored and delivered to the end-user is changing and is increasingly located off-site and with third-party providers.
6. Free or almost free: The cost of publication and development has dropped, enabling a wide variety of resources to be delivered at a much lower cost than in the past.
7. Diverse and integrated: The internet is increasingly integrated into a range of technologies across our lives. In particular, the convergence between telephone and web technologies opens up new opportunities for career learning.
8. Games: Computer gaming is gaining increasing penetration across society. It is important that the potential of both commercially produced games and bespoke educational games are explored for the purpose of career learning”20.

The professor “A. G. Watts (2002) identifies four phases in the development of ICT in guidance:
–    “the mainframe phase (1960 to late 1970s),
–    the microcomputer phase (1980s to mid-1990s),
–    the web phase (1990s to early 2000s)
–    the digital phase (current).
He also identifies three trends that can be seen across the four phases:
–    increased accessibility;
–    increased interactivity;
–    more diffused origination (the trend towards more diverse creators and providers of career (..).
He notes that the role of ICT in guidance can be seen as a tool, as an alternative, or as an agent of change. While policy-makers have sometimes tended to view it in the first two guises, the main policy challenge is now its potential as an agent of change. It is important that these web developments are seen in the context of wider technological changes that have the potential to impact on guidance.”21
In addition to it, the most interesting aspect of this development which A. G. Watts has highlighted in his studies, is that to observe how these digital changes have a continuous and potential impact on the career exploration practises and how they have been integrated by a range of organisations which provide career counselling. Hooley, Hutchinson & Watts say that “technology has generally been used to help meet client demand in one of three ways:
1. to deliver information;
2. to provide an automated interaction; or
3. to provide a channel for communication”21.

The relation and the approach between digital users and information providers and then among different information and guidance services (public-private sector careers services, consultants, employers, recruitment companies and learning providers) is another relevant focus of the analysis by these authors. In fact, it can help us to understand the evolution of e-guidance and the eGos project practices. In this sense, the new on-line guidance providers and thus the eGos piloting activities have had to exploit these following attitudes related to the interaction between people and information, classifying the new technologies as tools to facilitate the following types of communication in personal, professional and political environments:
“1. one-to-one;
2. one-to-many and many-to-one;
3. many-to-many.
Each of these different forms of communication offers new potential for both career exploration and the delivery of career (…)22.

At this point another fundamental aspect needs to be taken into consideration.
On the basis of this above-mentioned analysis, eGos project and all other actions of e-guidance and e-career exploration and support services have had to face an further issues about the following points and policy recommendations, quoted on the document of “Careering Through The Web – The potential of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies for career development and career support services:
• supporting the growth of digital literacy to support career management;
• developing mechanisms for quality assurance and recommendation of career-related online resources;
• supporting the technical up of careers professionals”23.
These three points have been the compass for the eGos project development and implementation, but also the most met difficulties.
All EU Countries-consortium (Bulgaria, Iceland, Italy, Romania, Spain) which has taken part in eGos project have different levels of e-skills of either users or practitioners and the slow innovative development of e-system and e-government for public and private services and sectors has been influencing the achievement of eGos project aims and its spreading on the market of careers supporting services.
For these reasons, the eGos action has been facing and contextualising three variables at a local, a national and an international level:
–    Media and Digital literacy level of users, practitioners
–    eGovernment development of public and private bodies and institutions
–    eGuidance culture and attitude of both, above mentioned.

This following pages illustrate how the interaction of these three above-listed aspects have been treated by the eGos project approach which has brought forward its innovative strategies and tools to assure the right and the quality of lifelong  guidance for young, adult and all citizens in Europe.

 

eGOS Project (e-Guidance and e-Government Services):  a challenge for the future of eGuidance in Europe

Field of best practice
This experience has been thought and realised in the field of e-government services, more specifically in the e-guidance field. E-guidance is here defined as organisation and delivery of vocational and educational guidance public services at a distance and with the use of the ICT tools and methodologies.

Project commissioned by
The project has been funded in the frame of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) 2007 – 2013 – Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP), Call for Proposals 2007.
The project activities are to be realised in the period from November 2008 to October 2001 under the supervision of the Directorate General Information Society and Media (DG InfSo),  e-Government and CIP Operations Unit.

Promoter name and country
The project promoter is the Provincial Authority of Arezzo, Italy.

Partners name and country
The wide consortium involves 21 partners (including the promoter) from five European countries. All partners have a specific role according to their core competences: so there are
a)    core partners who have “built” the eGOS service in its four components (hardware, software, contents and methodology, communication) and will commercialise it jointly after the project end;
b)    trainer partners adapting the e-guidance training paths and delivering them to the practitioners involved in the project;
c)    tester partners, who are involved in the pilot of the service,
d)    evaluator partners in charge with the evaluation of the impact (they are mainly youth associations, syndicates, disadvantaged users associations).
In the meantime, the wide partnership has needed a two-level management structure: in each partner country a national coordinator collects all the national partners needs and suggestions and brings them to the transnational management committee, and  brings also back to all the national partners the decisions taken at a transnational level.
Furthermore, work packages committees have been created and lead each by a WP coordinator. The WP coordinators are involved when needed in the transnational committee.

 

ITALY

Provincia di Arezzo, Promoter and Tester
Melius srl, Transnational and national coordinator, Core partner (guidance contents and methodology)
Lynx srl, Core partner (software)
MasterStudio srl, Core partner (design and communication activities)
Totem srl, Core partner (hardware)
Cooperativa O.R.So., Tester
Cooperativa sociale Studio Progetto 2 di Oristano, Tester
GIOC, Evaluator
E.N.A.P., Trainer

 

BULGARIA

EA ECNIS, National coordinator
Data Concept Bulgaria, Tester
Polymetis, Evaluator
Znanie Association Sofia, Trainer

 

SPAIN

Diputacion de Jaen, National coordinator, Tester
Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Jaén, Tester
Ayuntamiento de Vila-real, Tester
FAFFE – Fundación Andaluza Fondo de Formación y Empleo, Trainer

 

ROMANIA

City Hall of Iasi, National coordinator, Tester and Trainer

 

ICELAND

Research Liaison Office of the University of Iceland, National coordinator, Tester
The East Iceland Knowledge Network, Trainer and Tester
Hafnarfjordur Municipality, Evaluator

 

Context and motivation of the project

The picture of ICT in guidance is fragmented; there is no Pan European development in this field. A constructivist approach and new learning styles, however, along with new ICT, open up new usages of computers in guidance.
With the advent of the Internet which in guidance has been predominantly used till now for informational purposes, it seems appropriate to look at the broader use of ICT, i.e. in the direct supply of guidance actions through ICT-based media.
One of the challenges that educational and vocational guidance services have to face, and that in the following years will be more and more demanding, concerns the use of ICT also for delivering guidance services and not only for the information management.
In a moment in which, at a local, national and European level at one side the cultural and digital divide, and at the other side the overburdened of informatics (information science) are essential elements for the guidance services, the experimentation of new methods to approach it to disadvantaged people (because of a distance from the services: geographic distance or distance connected to disability or personal difficulties) represents to our society an opportunity to a constant increase for the quality of its role in the educative and formative success.
About one third of the EU does not have access to ICT-based public services. Member States had committed themselves to inclusive eGovernment objectives to ensure that “by 2010 all citizens, including socially disadvantaged groups, become major beneficiaries of eGovernment, and European public administrations deliver public information and services that are more easily accessible and increasingly trusted by the public, through innovative use of ICT, increasing awareness of the benefits of eGovernment, and improved skills and support for all users.”  (i2010 strategy – European Information Society 2010). Inclusive eGovernment addresses social exclusion by focusing on delivery mechanisms along the supply chain so that all citizens, especially those most in need of government support, can benefit from the advantages brought about by eGovernment without necessarily using eservices themselves. Anyway, in 2010 this goal has not been fully achieved, if the European Commission survey “Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report of European Commission” (Brussels, 17.5.2010 -SEC2010- 627) states that: “Progress in the use of the internet is reflected in the increased availability of online public services — though the availability of services for businesses is much higher (83 %) than for citizens (63 %) and there are significant differences between countries. For businesses, use has kept up with supply, and the take-up of advanced services is also high. Progress for citizens is less positive than for businesses: take-up is lagging significantly behind supply. Evidence indicates that the large gap between availability and take-up may be linked to issues of usability as well as to rates of internet take-up.” In fact, in the five countries participating to the eGOS project the current situation, as shown below, represents a significant sample of the overall European context. Even in the more advanced countries (Iceland) under the broadband penetration and citizens’ use of the internet, the public services available for citizens can be highly improved, being not more than the 50% of the total public services against a citizens need of 75%.

 

Broadband penetration

 

 

 

 

 

Citizens use of  the internet

 

 

 

 

 

Public services available on-line

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aims of the project

The project  aims at improving employability and guidance practitioners’ capacity building through the activities of a prototype service that enables the delivery at a distance of educational and vocational e-guidance services, also to cross-border mobility.
This eGOS system allows decision makers in charge with educational, training and employment policies to reach also those citizens that, for different reasons, wouldn’t be able to take benefit from traditional guidance services. In a long term, the system will enable decision makers to reduce management costs and procedures of the services (i.e. less human resources needed, less clients to the traditional services, etc.).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-guidance practitioners have been trained during the project in order to be able to manage the system and to deliver “traditional” educational and vocational actions through the use of ICT tools hosted on a multi-channel open source platform (WISP – Web-based Integrated Services Platform). eGOS e-guidance services are and will be accessible from final beneficiaries from Internet on their home PC, from EG-kiosks placed in their living areas and from EG-stations within the tester partners’ or any associated organisation.
The project has not developed new technologies or tools, but has adapted existing ones in order to create a new service. So an e-learning open source platform, traditional kiosks for information purposes and an e-guidance training path created and also tested in previous European projects are used in an integrated and innovative way.

 

Description of the target group

Actual final users of the system are and will be:

  • Citizens living in remote geographical areas. They take advantage of the eGOS services from home or from EK-kiosks;
  • Citizens living in areas with no or few traditional guidance services. They take advantage of the eGOS services from home, from EG-kiosks or from EG-stations within other help services (for example of the associated organisations);
  • Citizens with little flexibility in time: workers, women with children. They can access the eGOS guidance services also after the closing time of the traditional guidance centres from home or from EG-kiosks;
  • Citizens with reduced mobility capacities: people with health or physical mobility problems, seniors. They take advantage of the eGOS services from home;
  • Social challenged citizens as school drop-outs;
  • “Shy” users preferring the intermediation of ICT-based instrument than direct relationship with a practitioner. They take advantage of the eGOS services from home, from EG-kiosks or from EG-stations

Furthermore, intermediate users are guidance practitioners using the eGOS system in e-guidance public services delivery. They have been trained to acquire guidance-related ICT competences during the project length and will use the eGOS prototype during the pilots and after the project end.

 

Methodology, activities and results

eGOS is an “integrated system”. When defining it as an integrated system we mean that:
1. The eGOS prototype can be jointly used with already existing traditional educational and vocational guidance services. Users who won’t use distance guidance activities have the possibility to receive help and advice in a traditional way as always. Thus, digital divide won’t be improved but, on the contrary, information and training activities for final users is being organised during the project length.
2. The eGOS prototype is based on a multi-channel open source platform called WISP – Web-based Integrated Services Platform – that enables e-guidance practitioners to deliver their information, advice and help services to final beneficiaries by using different ICT-based tools such as video-conferencing, phone calls, e-mail, chat-rooms, fora, etc.
3. The service is based on the integrated use of software, hardware and contents’ supply.
4. The eGOS e-practitioners have been trained following the methodology and training path developed in the former projects ICT SKILLS and ICT SKILLS2 adapted to the context and needs of the eGOS project.
The services delivered at a distance through the eGOS system are:
1.  Information on educational and vocational issues, also to cross-border mobility. That includes the following activities for final beneficiaries:

  • Collecting, organising and maintaining information on the WISP pertinent to education, training, occupations and employment opportunities.

2. Advice to educational and vocational issues, also to cross-border mobility. That includes the following activities with final beneficiaries:

  • Help clients in the effective use of information found out on the WISP;
  • Help clients in clarifying some information resources found out on the WISP;
  • Refer clients, when needed or required by them, to traditional guidance services available in their territorial area or in other ones

3. Counselling on educational and vocational issues. That includes the following activities with final beneficiaries:

  • Assisting individuals to select courses;
  • Make educational plans;
  • Overcome learning difficulties;
  • Prepare for post-secondary education/training;
  • Fostering the attitudes, beliefs and competencies that facilitate mastery of vocational development tasks, the ability to plan and adaptation to work-role transitions over the life-span;
  • Supporting individuals in their efforts to obtain occupational positions by teaching job search skills and creating employment opportunities.

4. Vocational guidance specialised actions. That includes the following activities with final beneficiaries:

  • Prompting self-reflection to clarify self-concepts, identify options, make decisions and resolve difficulties for what concern the insertion into the labour market or the change of the professional plan;
  • Measure an individual’s abilities, aptitudes, barriers, life roles, interests, personality, values, attitudes, educational achievements, skills and other relevant information for what concern the insertion into the labour market or the change of the professional plan;

Specialised guidance actions are framed into 3 main e-guidance interventions:

  • Group counselling for the active job search;
  • Skills assessment paths;
  • Tutoring and support paths to employability for people with more difficulties.

The high flexibility and adaptability of the eGOS system will furthermore allow wider and different services to be delivered. In fact, the system has been thought also for different services and more delivery modules could easily be added to it.

 

Conclusions, lessons learnt

The eGOS project is now in the third and last year of activity, finalising the pilot phase. Even if  we cannot still speak about conclusions, the development of the project and the interest shown by public bodies delivering guidance is highly positive.
A first strong point of the services system is the facility of integration with the traditional services as already delivered by the tester partners. From a technical point of view, small problems have been met in integrating the new services to the already existing procedures.
On the other hand, bureaucracy can be considered as a barrier to the innovation: most of the public services are subject to heavy and difficult processes for being changed. Most of the problems have been met in being authorised to settle kiosks in public places even if previously planned together with the public authorities, or in connecting wires for making them work. Small problems can affect the realisation of the innovation causing a delay of months and the increase of costs.
A further obstacle can be identified in the lack of networks among public services. In most of the partner countries there are problems in the cooperation among local services at different territorial levels and with different institutional tasks.
Even if slowly and with obstacles the European goal of offering to the EU citizens more, better organised, closer and innovative services can and has to be achieved. This kind of experiences and projects, if shared among the e-government communities and with the local decision makers, in our opinion can support this innovation process in a significant way.

 

Directions for continuation

The CIP programme envisages the commercialisation of the outputs of the project after its end. The owner, provider ad maintainer of the service will be a group of Italian SMEs, the core partners  which have developed the eGOS system. They have all competences, knowledge and experience requested, both from the technical, technological and methodological point of views, for managing the system and for assuring its maintenance also in the future. On the other hand, the project testers have strong interest in seeing eGOS results as that falls within their strategic active policies to improve the inclusion into the labour market of categories of disadvantaged users that wouldn’t take advantage from the traditional services. All the existing partnership will be involved in the future activities according to their role and competences.

 

1 www.egos-cip.eu
2 “The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History “2 A. G. Watts, Visiting Professor of Career Development- International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB, UK  E-mail: tony.watts@zen.co.uk- Ronald G. Sultana, Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta. E-mail: ronald.sultana@um.edu.mt, John McCarthy, International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, Careers Services, Level 4, CMC Building, 89 Courtenay Place, PO Box 9446, Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail: jmc@iccdpp.org .Keywords: guidance, Europe, policy)
3 Idem.
4 Idem
5 “The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History “2 A. G. Watts, Visiting Professor of Career Development- International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB, UK  E-mail: tony.watts@zen.co.uk- Ronald G. Sultana, Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta. E-mail: ronald.sultana@um.edu.mt, John McCarthy, International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, Careers Services, Level 4, CMC Building, 89 Courtenay Place, PO Box 9446, Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail: jmc@iccdpp.org .Keywords: guidance, Europe, policy)
6 idem
7 idem
8 idem
9 idem
10 “The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History “2 A. G. Watts, Visiting Professor of Career Development- International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB, UK  E-mail: tony.watts@zen.co.uk- Ronald G. Sultana, Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta. E-mail: ronald.sultana@um.edu.mt, John McCarthy, International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, Careers Services, Level 4, CMC Building, 89 Courtenay Place, PO Box 9446, Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail: jmc@iccdpp.org .Keywords: guidance, Europe, policy)
11 idem
12 Idem
12 “The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History “2 A. G. Watts, Visiting Professor of Career Development- International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB, UK  E-mail: tony.watts@zen.co.uk- Ronald G. Sultana, Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta. E-mail: ronald.sultana@um.edu.mt, John McCarthy, International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, Careers Services, Level 4, CMC Building, 89 Courtenay Place, PO Box 9446, Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail: jmc@iccdpp.org .Keywords: guidance, Europe, policy)
13 idem
14 idem
15 idem
16 idem
17 idem
18 “The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History “2 A. G. Watts, Visiting Professor of Career Development- International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB, UK  E-mail: tony.watts@zen.co.uk- Ronald G. Sultana, Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta. E-mail: ronald.sultana@um.edu.mt, John McCarthy, International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, Careers Services, Level 4, CMC Building, 89 Courtenay Place, PO Box 9446, Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail: jmc@iccdpp.org .Keywords: guidance, Europe, policy)
19 idem
20 Careering Through The Web – The potential of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies for career development and career support services -June 2010 . This work was funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills as part of a programme of activity to inform development of the proposals in ‘Ambition 2020: skills, jobs growth’. The report was produced by iCeGs and
authored by Tristram Hooley, Jo Hutchinson and A.G. Watts. (page, 3,4,5)
21 Idem, at page 8.
21 Careering Through The Web – The potential of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies for career development and career support services -June 2010 . This work was funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills as part of a programme of activity to inform development of the proposals in ‘Ambition 2020: skills, jobs growth’. The report was produced by iCeGs and
authored by Tristram Hooley, Jo Hutchinson and A.G. Watts. (page, 3,4,5)

22 Careering Through The Web – The potential of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies for career development and career support services -June 2010 . This work was funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills as part of a programme of activity to inform development of the proposals in ‘Ambition 2020: skills, jobs growth’. The report was produced by iCeGs and
authored by Tristram Hooley, Jo Hutchinson and A.G. Watts. (at page, 6)
23 idem

 

Web references

www.egos-cip.eu
http://www.epractice.eu/en/cases/egos

 

Bibliography

– “The Involvement of the European Union in Career Guidance Policy: A Brief History “. A. G. Watts, Visiting Professor of Career Development- International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB, UK  E-mail: tony.watts@zen.co.uk- Ronald G. Sultana, Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta. E-mail: ronald.sultana@um.edu.mt, John McCarthy, International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, Careers Services, Level 4, CMC Building, 89 Courtenay Place, PO Box 9446, Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail: jmc@iccdpp.org .Keywords: guidance, Europe, policy).
-“ Careering Through The Web – The potential of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies for career development and career support services” -June 2010 . This work was funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills as part of a programme of activity to inform development of the proposals in ‘Ambition 2020: skills, jobs growth’. The report was produced by iCeGs and
authored by Tristram Hooley, Jo Hutchinson and A.G. Watts.
– “Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report of European Commission” (Brussels, 17.5.2010 -SEC2010- 627)
– “Study on Assessment Criteria for Media Literacy”, Prepared for the European Commission, Information Society and Media Directorate General, Media and Media Literacy Unit, Project (Coordinator and Editor Paolo Celot, Scientific Coordinator Jòse Manuel Perez Tornero), Brussels October 2009.
– International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, Volume 10 No.2, July 2010, pp.89-107
– “GIANT Project, Guidance: Action and Tools for Systems Integration”, final publication Leonardo da Vinci Framework, Lifelong Learning Programme, Education and Culture DG, closed in September 2010.
– The User Challenge. Benchmarking The Supply Of Online Public Services. 7th Measurement | September 2007.
By Capgemini. URL:
http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/ eeurope/i2010/docs/benchmarking/egov_benchmark_2007.pdf 
European Commission. Directorate General for Information, Society and Media (2007).
– “ICT SKILLS2 Project, ICT tools and training for e-guidance practitioners”, final publication, Lifelong Learning Programme, Education and Culture DG, closed in October 2009.

Category: Ricerca e Innovazione, Scuola e Università

About Mariarosa Di Nubila: Mariarosa Di Nubila si è laureata presso la Facoltà di Scienze dell'Educazione e della Formazione dell'Università di Bologna, con ulteriori specializzazioni in "formazione interculturale" e "project management" in Irlanda e in Germania. Da 10 anni, in qualità di coordinatore pedagogico, progettista, manager e ricercatrice di progetti nazionali ed europei, sta lavorando come libera professionista per enti pubblici e privati interessati ad attuare nuove strategie di politica occupazionale e di implementatione di processi innovativi di apprendimento volte a facilitarel'integrazione sociale e il miglioramento delle competenze professionali da parte di adulti e giovani.  Al momento, sta collaborando con  Melius srl (Bologna-Italia) per il progetto “eGos Services”, nel campo dell’ eGuidance, eGovernment e della cultura digitale per l'apprendimento e la cittadinanza attiva. http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariarosadinubila She is graduated at the Faculty of Education and Training Science of Bologna University, with some further specialisations in "intercultural learning process" and "project management" in Ireland and Germany. For 10 years, as pedagogical coordinator, national and EU funded project writer and manager, she has been working on behalf of public and private bodies in several international projects to implement new employment policy strategies and innovative learning processes aiming at facilitating the social integration and improving professional skills by adults and young people. At moment, she has also been collaborating with MELIUS s.r.l.(Bologna-Italy) for the management of eGos Services Project, in the field of eGuidance, eGovernment and digital culture for learning. http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariarosadinubila

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