The Good e-Guidance Stories research report compiled by our partners captures the response of the information, advice, and guidance IAG services in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, and Greece to the Covid19 Pandemic. The methodological approach implemented in this report included both desk research and a qualitative inquiry, which was composed of interviews with IAG service managers and focus groups which targeted guidance practitioners and beneficiaries.
‘‘It is becoming increasingly obvious that the covid 19 pandemic has required us all to think differently about jobs – whether that requires working from home or a complete re-think about job prospects, we’ve needed to think outside the box.’’ (UK).
The reports main findings related to IAG services, and the process of digitalisation in each partner countries emphasises the following: IAG services in France are very digitally orientated with 70 % of public administration services already digitalised and the rest to be updated by 2022. In Italy, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan foresees a reform of IAG service including the introduction of guidance training modules targeted at 4th and 5th grades of secondary school to support students in making choices on their studies as well as further vocational training and preparatory modules for those willing to enter the world of work. In the case of Greece, there are several e-learning courses in the field of career guidance offered by Lifelong Learning Centres of the Universities in the sectors of education, social work, and even Medicine. In Germany (Düsseldorf) new emerging target groups were reported, including many with vocational training and university degrees, recently unemployed due to the pandemic, young EU foreigners and those who find it difficult to access face-to-face counselling due to time restraints. In this way, it was highlighted that ‘’online counselling can offer advantages especially for people with limited mobility, for people who cannot/would not leave the house (for example due to mental or physical illness” (Germany). In the UK, areas of improvement were identified for career guidance service including better quality e-resources and digital provisions for service users, more interactive IAG online provisions for youth and increasing funded training opportunities and support for IAG practitioners. Moreover, it was highlighted that ‘‘there are challenges in accessing young people most in need as some have become disengaged, here partnership working is vital for engagement and follow up’’ (UK)
The main conclusions of this report are that the pandemic has accelerated the process of digitalisation of IAG services, the digital gap has become a determining factor in job search and career development, and with respect to the organisation of services it emerges that all accredited public and private agencies responsible for IAG services have reorganised the services to adapt to the need for remote access. For the full report and conclusions see the link to the PDF in our library GeGS-Report-desk-research.pdf (goodeguidance.eu).
We are delighted that our mid-term conference “CHOOSING TODAY AND TOMORROW” has been approved to be an official partner of the European Vocational Skills Week 2022!
The European Vocational Skills Week, which in 2022 coincides with the European Year of Youth, is dedicated to celebrating all the very best practices in Vocational Education and Training (VET), welcoming events by local, regional, national organisations and other VET partners. Launched in 2016, the European Commission initiative brings all stakeholders – teachers, organisations, students, and trainers – together under one umbrella to showcase the many benefits VET offers young people and adults alike. With an eye to the future skillsets that will be required and the other on the realities of the current labour market, VET aims to equip everyone with the necessary quality skills to unleash their true potential.
Following the great success of the first five European Vocational Skills Weeks, the European Commission has organised the sixth Week to continue raising awareness of VET. The sixth edition of the Week was held as an online event due to COVID-19 safety measures. It took place from 16 to 20 May 2022 in Brussels and simultaneously online. In addition, hundreds of VET-related events and activities associated with the Week will be organised across Europe throughout the year.
Our event is now featured on the Week 2022 website and will shortly be seen on the map.
The Transnational Meeting of GEGS took place in Larissa, Greece, on the 11th and 12th of April 2022. It was the first face-to-face meeting of the partnership, and everyone was happy and excited to see each other and discuss the project process.
The event started with a short presentation about the regions of Thessaly and Larissa by our host and partner, Dimitra. Next on the agenda was the topic “context and relevance of GEGS from 2022 onwards “. Those partners, who are piloting the field trial in their country, presented their process, implementation, and the challenges they faced so far. Partners involved are Ballymun Job Centre, Ciofs-FP. Dimitra, gsub mbH, Eurocircle, and Rinova Ltd.
Afterwards, the ministries that lead the project strategically, presented policy measures in their respective region. Firstly, SenIAS provided a perspective from Berlin, including updates on labour market policy, digitalisation, and migration. Secondly, the Region of Thessaly talked about social characteristics, strategic objectives, and the social welfare sector in their region. Lastly, the Autonomous Region of Sardinia contributed to the discussion sharing updates on policy and practice in terms of new digital guidance systems in Sardinia.
Next on the agenda was an update by our technical partner Jobiri about their platform adapation for the German, Greek and Italian job market. They expect to launch the platform in September 2022, so watch this space to find out more.
Söstra GmbH, who is responsible for the external evaluation, shared results from their research and evaluation. The feedback from the partners on the project was positive, scoring mainly between “good” and “very good”. At the end of the first day of the meeting, participants worked in three groups to elaborate on points from the previous discussions on the field trial and subsequently presented them to the rest.
The second day started with a discussion on project management, followed by a presentation on the dissemination and exploitation strategy. For that, participants worked in two groups; the ministries and selected partners joined the policy peer expert group, whilst the rest worked on dissemination.
To sum up, it was a very productive meeting providing new input for the next 1,5 years. More than that, everyone appreciated the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas in person.
We are looking forward to the next meeting in October which will take place in Cagliari, Sardinia.
Meet our digital leadership group. Today we introduce three participants from the Ballymun Job Centre Co-op Society Ltd.
“I have gained a greater understanding of the use of digital technology and how it can play a part in the delivery of a quality employment service” (Mick).
Read on to find out more about Mick, Ruth and Tomás.
We are proud to launch the GeGS Case Study Training Framework developed by the partners of the Good e-Guidance Stories project, encompassing the IAG Practitioners Competencies outlined by CEDEFOP including Foundation (Practitioners skills and values), Client Interaction (Working with clients) and Supporting (Systems and networks) competences and informed in the conceptual knowledge and learning resources developed across the past years reflected in the curriculum.
Responding to the emerging need to modernise European IAG and VET provision, the Good E-Guidance Stories (GEGS) project builds on the highly successful Guide series, aiming to empower local career guidance practitioners.
Among the many innovations being introduced in GeGS, one of the most exciting aspects is the piloting of a digital career advisor based on artificial intelligence technology. Developed by Italian project partner Jobiri, the platform will be tailored to the needs of the regional ministries and practitioners participating in the project.
German partner Metropolisnet EEIG sat down with Jobiri cofounder and CEO Claudio Sponchioni to ask a few question about digitizing career guidance.
MetropolisNet: Why is a digital leap needed in Europe’s career guidance sector?
Claudio Sponchioni: The current pandemic situation has certainly accelerated the digitalization of career guidance services, even if there are still few institutions that have truly embraced the change. The hybridization of the guidance model (mixing physical and digital career support) is showing tremendous advantages in terms of efficiency, capillarity, and effectiveness of the service. Innovation is requested directly by the beneficiaries of the service: students, candidates and unemployed.
For example, let us consider when the offices of thousands of guidance centers had been closed for months due to the pandemic, or how they had to operate at reduced service: too many candidates were and are left on their own, without support. This scenario is no longer sustainable. The pandemic has shown us how important relationships between beneficiaries and career guidance practitioners are and how, in the same way, things can be done in a faster, more personalized, efficient, and effective way thanks to digital tools.
COVID has negatively impacted lots of industries and has not only worsened the situation of many young people and the unemployed, but it has generated a larger volume of people who now need career guidance support. The solution to newer and more pervasive problems cannot be faced with the tools and approaches of the past. To really scale and provide universal career services to anyone, a new digital approach is needed by the European career guidance sector to face new challenges.
MetNet: How do you view the future of career guidance?
Sponchioni: Increasingly, forward-looking institutions in the career support sector have decided to invest in innovation and have been able to quickly rebuild or recover the relationship with their beneficiaries while supporting them more effectively. The real challenge is to evolve the traditional guidance model, based on low technological commitment (which has always struggled to be universal and effective), towards a new model in which technology and humans can adequately and effectively meet: the e-guidance.
The new paradigm of e-guidance can be more successful in terms of the capillarity of the service (which goes beyond physical spaces and opening hours of the traditional model), the personalization of the service (offering different services based on the needs of the candidates) and the effectiveness of the investment. This effectiveness relates to the resources invested in technological tools and the related acceleration of supporting more candidates to be hired. This allows large savings on passive policies, and generating “resources” that can be invested to train career guidance practitioners, to help to raise the quality level of the service and also to hire new staff.
The diffusion of digital tools itself facilitates access: the more the technology is widespread, the cheaper and more available it is to everyone. As with the adoption of the light bulb, heating, or access to education or drinking water, in the same way, the more digital career services spreads, the more they can be perceived as rights and as such made as universal as possible.
MetNet: How will job seekers benefit from integrating AI technology in career guidance?
Sponchioni: Job seekers need a system which reflects how they use online technologies today. This means a system that is completely candidate centric, which does not waste their time and is easy to use. Integrating AI technology in career guidance offers them better choices: in their job plan; in what they do to find work (self-service versus more assisted); in the offered job opportunities; and in courses that allow rapid reskilling.
Job seekers will be supported by a dedicated, real-life career guidance practitioner reachable in the office and online. This process will be boosted by a very powerful online tool available 24 hours a day. The tool will be able to provide customized job postings, including recommendations for both linear path or career changes based on the qualification and skills, feedbacks and suggestions on how to optimize their CVs, provide data on the job market (required skills, salary, etc.) and job offers. Furthermore, job seekers can count on advanced career tools that allow them to intelligently build their CVs, their motivation letters, train for interviews and access hundreds of video lessons on how to tackle the job search effectively.
MetNet: How will guidance practitioners benefit from this technology?
Sponchioni: Caseloads of career guidance practitioners are very high and growing. Adopting smart technologies will free up time to be invested in job seekers who need the greatest support: marginalized job seekers who have fewer opportunities; and women who are trying to break through complex barriers in their lives.
Guidance practitioners will also be freed up to invest time in developing more meaningful relationships with jobseekers and employers. They will be freed up to focus on value rather than volume.
AI’s larger impact is in complementing and augmenting human capabilities of guidance practitioners. Smart technologies can provide richer and up-to-date market intelligence information, sorted by professional roles to better aid job seekers in identifying the best source of work in terms of location, company, current job requirements (ie: skills, etc.) or benefits (ie: salary, contracts).
Moreover, collecting, categorizing, filling and re-elaborating information (on vacancies, training opportunities, etc.) from multiple sources is a relatively simple task for a machine (well instructed) and this allows career guidance practitioners to focus on added-value support (mentoring, motivating, advising).
MetNet: How does Jobiri’s digital career consultant work?
Sponchioni: JOBIRI is the 1° AI-based digital career advisor able to digitalize employment services.
It is an integrated and smart ecosystem of career service tools that connect jobseekers, career guidance practitioners and companies. The platform has 3 interfaces: 1. The jobseekers’ interface: a smart AI Assistant which provides feedbacks on candidates’ CVs, offers customized job postings, up-to-date job market intelligence information, CV and cover letter builders tailored to roles and industries. 2. A self-service interview simulator, and 3. an employability skill building library with more than 140 videos and an integrated video conferencing tool, to connect the jobseeker with a career coach.
At the same time, Jobiri allows career guidance practitioners to: remotely assist jobseekers with video conference tools. This allows remote career coaching sessions, while respecting social distancing, providing a more personalized and prompter support based on data.
On the employers’ side, JOBIRI provides employer branding tools to attract candidates (it showcases companies’ workspaces, vision, benefits by creating a virtual tour of the company and allowing current employees to become company ambassadors), supports recruiters to identify the best candidates, and manages the sourcing process faster.
MetNet: What excites you about taking part in the GeGS project?
Sponchioni: Being able to participate in a European project which involve important institutions such as Metropolisnet, Employment Ministries in 3 countries, various European vocational schools networks such as CIOFS-FP and consulting companies specializing in career guidance and employment is a wonderful moment of growth. In fact, it makes it possible to measure ourselves in international contexts, with institutional partners of the highest level willing to truly innovate to solve complex problems, together.
It is an amazing opportunity to work in a collaborative and open environment where all the partners involved are eager to find effective answers on how to better support young people and the unemployed in today’s context. Taking part in the GeGS project is simply an incredible experience for Jobiri and all its team members.
“In recent years, Rinova has been working with an international consortium of partners through the European Union’s Lifelong Learning and Erasmus+ programmes to develop the ‘Guide – Good Guidance Stories’ case study-based methodology for Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) practitioners. In 2021, this work saw a substantial uplift with the approval of the Good e-Guidance Stories (GeGS) project, from the European Commission’s ‘Support for Policy Reform’ strand of the Erasmus+ KA3 programme.
Rinova, which coordinated the predecessor ‘Guide 2.0’ project, is joined in the consortium by a network of partners from Germany, Italy, France, Ireland and Greece, many of whom are also members of Metropolisnet, which is acting as project coordinator. Part of Rinova’s key role in the project is to lead the preparatory work in GeGS that is focused on the co-creation of an innovative digital case study-based learning environment addressing IAG practitioner competences (CEDEFOP 2009) and digital competences for IAG. All this experience will be combined with technical partner Jobiri’s e-guidance platform, as an AI-based digital career advisor.”
CLICK HERE to head to Rinova´s website and read the full article!
The labour market is continually changing. Words such as “digitalisation” and “automation” are well established with the future world of work and it is important that Career Guidance practitioners are supported and equipped with innovative tools to acquire the competencies needed to engage with clients effectively within a digitalised environment.
Read our project´s first newsletter to learn more about how we are modernising Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) services!