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to one third (28-35%) in Norway and Finland. Some reported giving informal feedback about services to their counsellor, either verbally or by e-mail (20-49%), whereas others had been given a chance to take part in surveys, either on paper (12-15%), the web (7-32%) or through telephone interviews (1-11%). When asked about involvement in shaping services and policymaking somewhere between 75% and 92% of the respondents, depending on country, said that they had not participated in any decision making and designing of strategies about guidance services. However, results from both focus groups interviews and the web survey show that users of guidance feel that it is important that users of guidance are consulted and are interested in having their voice heard on different aspects of guidance services.

Discussion The results of previous chapters are discussed in chapter 10 with the research questions in mind. It cannot be deduced from the results that listening to users of guidance is a priority in the lifelong learning sector. Adult guidance is often not evaluated, even though users think it would improve guidance practice. On the whole, users are neither involved in the organisation of guidance services nor in policy making. The main channels of user involvement that are mentioned by respondents are discussions with counsellor, teacher, mentor or discussion groups and they stress that their opinions need to be taken seriously. Formal channels of user involvement need to be

created, that secure that user’s voices are heard. Examples of such channels are user forums or representatives of users in policy committees. Delivery of guidance is in a rather traditional form, with an emphasis on face-to-face interviews and the outcomes of guidance are educational and personal, rather than vocational, i.e. in guidance clients learn more how to deal with educational and personal problems, rather than vocational ones. The fact that the sample is drawn from adult education centres might be an influence here, but then this might suggest a weak link between guidance in adult learning centres and the labour market. There are indications that more recent approaches are being used, such as the strong emphasis on information and communication technology in Finland. Users of guidance look at themselves as active participants in the guidance process, something that has been stressed by more recent career counselling approaches. It is clear from these results that clients are satisfied with the adult guidance services, many are content with the counsellor’s part in supporting them and they get assistance with a number of issues.

recommendations Chapter 11 lists recommendations from this research. Quality assurance mechanisms need to be installed with an emphasis on user involvement. Channels of user involvement need to be established and capacity building or training of

both professionals and users is an important precondition of successful user involvement. A good way to start engaging users in policy making would be to establish a consultative user forum. The enhancement of vocational learning outcomes is also recommended, such as career decision making competencies, job readiness, job search skills, etc. Methods of delivery in guidance need to improve in terms of variety and the key to such improvement could be methods within systematic and comprehensive guidance systems. A prerequisite of such systems is an evaluation programme of quality. This evaluative study on guidance in the five Nordic countries is launched by a Nordic network on effectiveness and quality in guidance for adults and funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers through the strategic funding of the Advisory Group for Adult Learning (SVL) and the Nordic Network of Adult Learning (NVL). The study was designed and implemented by the team members under the leadership of the Icelandic team of dr. Guðbjörg Vilhjálmsdóttir, Andrea G. Dofradóttir and Guðrún Birna Kjartansdóttir. The team members in Denmark are dr. Peter Plant and Carla Tønder Jessing. The team members in Finland are Minna Koivunen and dr. Raimo Vuorinen. The team members in Sweden are dr. Anders Lovén and Tomas Mjörnheden and Norway is represented by Erik Hagaseth Haug.

The research report and annexes are available at

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Voice of users  

This present evaluative research, titled Voice of users – promoting quality of guidance for adults in the Nordic countries, examines both th...

Voice of users  

This present evaluative research, titled Voice of users – promoting quality of guidance for adults in the Nordic countries, examines both th...