Final European Conference online: a multitude of perspectives and inspiration for more peer-led training for IAG practitioners

Heading towards the end of Good Guidance Stories 2.0 the Final European Conference took place online on the 6th October under the headline ‘Professional Development in Career Guidance and IAG – the peer led learning approach of the Good Guidance Stories 2.0 project’. For two hours, about 40 practitioners and managers of Information Advice and Guidance services as well as policymakers from across Europe came together to discuss the future of guidance.

The main questions leading through the event were: What kind of continued professional development is needed to ensure the delivery of effective guidance? What role can the Guide Project case studies play in this? And which (new) competences, approaches and training opportunities are needed in facing the pandemic and the digital leap the sector is currently experiencing?

In the first part Julie Parish, from Rinova who is the main coordinator of the project gave an introduction to the core concept of Guide 2.0 and the work done during the last two years. In the following panel discussion different perspectives on professional development and recent challenges due to the pandemic and learnings from it were shared.

Matteo Barbetta, teacher and tutor for vocational students at the Ciofs- FP vocational training centre in Trieste shared his experience being part of the Guide 2.0 Community of Practice and how the cooperation within Action Learning Sets made him reflect on the potentials of the Communities of Practice in his daily practice. In the following Mick Creedon, manager of the Ballymun Job Centre in Dublin told us about the strategies in dealing with the pandemic in the last months and that a lot of important learning took place within local ‘inter-organisational’ networks of practitioners. Dr Lyn Barham from the Career Development Institute in the UK presented her current work on ‘Practitioner Action Research’ as a means of professional development and learning for the individual practitioner but as well generating valuable knowledge on less investigated aspects of IAG and career guidance. Renate-Anny Böning, vice chairwomen of the National Forum for Counselling in Education Career and Employment e. V. (nfb) gave us insights to her work advocating for further professionalisation and quality assurance of counselling and guidance services in Germany in the light of new policy reforms, digitalisation and the ‘Covid-situtaion’.

After the break participants split in three breakout sessions focusing either on the case study methodology and the use of case studies in the working context; the lessons learned during Guide 2.0 from the implementation of an international Community of Practice and Action Learning Sets; or on the ‘Digital Future’ – meaning the transformation of services and practitioners’ professional development

In the end it became clear, although Good Guidance Stories 2.0 is coming to an end the work is not finished. Need-based continuing professional development for IAG and career guidance practitioners is highly important and should be steadily developed further along with the fast-paced changes the sector is experiencing. The Guide 2.0 partnership is currently thinking about ways to further developing and digitising the case study approach and to broaden the concept of an international Community of Practice for IAG practitioners and the event gave important insights and inspiration to go on!