The Evidence Base on Lifelong Guidance

Over the last year or so I have been working with the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network to produce a summary of the evidence base on lifelong guidance. The idea is to create a summary of what we know about the impacts of guidance and also produce a guide to evidence based policy. The guide is primarily aimed at policy makers, but it may also be of interest to academics and to practitioners.

It is published in three different version designed for audiences with different amounts of time on their hands.

The papers argue that there is evidence for the effectiveness of guidance in every sector – although in some sectors there is a stronger tradition of research than others. It makes a number of suggestions about how this evidence base could be improved.

It also proposes 10 evidence based principles for the design of lifelong guidance system. I think that this sets out the approach to guidance that government’s would take if they were interested in building on the best evidence available. These are as follows.

  1. Lifelong guidance is most effective where it is genuinely lifelong and progressive.
  2. Lifelong guidance is most effective where it connects meaningfully to the wider experience and lives of the individuals who participate in it.
  3. Lifelong guidance is most effective where it is able to recognise the diversity of individuals and to provide services relevant to individual needs.
  4. Lifelong guidance is not one intervention, but many, and works most effectively when a range of interventions are combined.
  5. A key aim of lifelong guidance programmes should be the acquisition of career management skills.
  6. Lifelong guidance needs to be holistic and well-integrated into other support services.
  7. Lifelong guidance should involve employers and working people, and provide active experiences of workplaces.
  8. The skills, training and dispositions of the practitioners who deliver lifelong guidance are critical to its success.
  9. Lifelong guidance is dependent on access to good-quality career information.
  10. Lifelong guidance should be quality-assured and evaluated to ensure its effectiveness and to support continuous improvement.

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