Early School Leaving prevention
How can teachers prevent the Early School Leaving and support learners in undertaking the right professional/learning path?
The growing personal and social cost of early leaving from education and training, has led educational policy-makers all over Europe, to focus their attention on counter measures to eliminate this phenomenon. The majority of such measures focus on promoting student development and support their professional learning path, for example through Career Guidance and Services.
Career Guidance and Services, formulated by the OECD and the EU, includes activities like providing career information and advising, competence assessment, mentoring, supporting career decision-making, developing career management skills, which help citizens assess and identify their skills, competences, areas of interests and make decisions concerning training and employment. Thus, in the world of learning and working they should be able to make and manage their own decisions.
Teachers and trainers in the VET sector are specialists in particular subject areas, however they are not trained career guidance counsellors. Although they may have some knowledge of employment opportunities and the required knowledge, skills and competence for some jobs, their knowledge is not necessarily up-to-date.
CAPE – Careers Advice and Pathways to Employment- Project Studies (Country Desk Researches) analyse how these services are implemented in the partner countries and which are the strengths and weaknesses of the different systems, providing an overview of the careers guidance practices and initiatives in the partner countries (Spain, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Poland, Italy and Cyprus).
From the analysis of the countries Desk Researches came out that in some countries (i.e. Romania, Hungary) there is the lack of a coherent national/regional/local career guidance system targeting the initial and continuous vocational training.
Moreover in all partner countries the co-ordination of lifelong guidance as ‘a cross-cutting theme’ – in schools, vocational education & training (VET), higher education, employment services and social inclusion policies, needs to be strengthened significantly in the current system.
Unfortunately, in many cases career guidance still depends on whether school staffs are aware of the importance of it and whether they have the necessary information about available possibilities of career guidance and counseling.
All the country researches show that there is an increased interest in investing in Career Advice and Guidance services as well as in improving the relation of the School Education System with the labour market, even if the desk researches reveal gaps of actions and negative implementation of Career Advice and Guidance services.
Which are learners and teachers needs in Career Advice Guidance and Services? Which are employers expectations?
Additionally CAPE project studies identify education and training needs of the target groups (teachers and trainers, young people at risk of ESL, employers) involved in Career Guidance and Services.
Specifically the research consists in the analysis of:
- education and training needs of teachers and trainers on careers advice and guidance;
- knowledge of career options and existing careers advice of young people at risk of ESL;
- employees’ skills required by their employers.
Each of the topics mentioned have been explored through primary research using different methods according to the target group in Spain, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Poland, Italy and Cyprus. Precisely:
- a questionnaire administered to teachers and trainers (in total 36);
- a focus group carried out with young people at risk of ESL (in total 87);
- interviews with employers (in total 50).
The main conclusion drawn from this primary research show the interest by all the target groups involved, namely teachers/tutors, young people at risk of dropout and employers, in the development of more structured Career Advice and Guidance services in educational institutions.
In almost all the educational institutions involved in the research, those services have some limits and can be improved. They usually do not support students in the development of Career Management skills and are poorly focused on practical experience.
The main needs of the different target groups in the development of Career Advice and Guidance services are summarized in the following table.
On the basis of the different needs:
- teachers, tutors and counsellors in educational institutions should develop skills and tools to better support students throughout their school years. Most of the interviewees expressed the need for more training on how to develop students’ soft and career planning skills.
- There is also a need to develop more structured services and activities covering not only theoretical aspects (e.g., students’ aptitude), but also practical skills useful for students’ future careers. This could be fostered by a closer relation and collaboration between educational institutions and companies through study visits, meetings with professionals, internships, etc.
- According to most of employers, all students should benefit from Career Advice and Guidance services at least during the final school years and these services should be personalized and linked to the real labour market situation.
- Teachers and tutors could profit from collaboration with other professionals, as psychologists and social counsellors, to develop and acquire skills in fostering students’ motivation and self-awareness, considered two important characteristics by employers.
- According to interviewees’ answers, it is important to develop in students personal and social skills and the 8 key competences. For the 29% of employers the 8 key competences are relevant in their companies, while the 27% consider relevant the personal and social skills. Teachers and tutors think that Career Advice and Guidance services should help students in developing the 8 key competences (35%) and the personal and social skills (30%).
Which tools and methodologies/strategies should teachers adopt to prevent early school leaving?
The results of the studies mentioned above are the base for the development of “training the trainer programme” targeting teachers and trainers to provide them with the skills and knowledge to embed employer required competences i.e. career management skills, into the learning programme.
It aims to familiarise teachers/trainers, who are not experts, with the field of careers advice and guidance. Participants will learn about employer needs and how to embed the concept of career management skills into the learning programme. They will become familiar with methodology and resources/ tools to engage learners in career planning. Additionally it aims to foster closer links with employers, who have an active part in the learner programme through practical learning in a real working environment, not only improve the quality of the learning process, but also helps to address the needs of those at risk of ESL.
 European Commission Directorate General for Education & Culture, 2005; National Research Council, 2001
- To support and improve careers advice and guidance given to young people at risk of Early School leaving (ESL)
- To enable young people to develop career management skills and make better career choices
- To improve dialogue and activity with enterprises from across Europe and across sectors (VET, second chance and informal learning)
- To ensure teachers, trainers and counsellors to have the necessary knowledge and skills to support young people to develop Career Management Skills (CMS)
- Establishing of employer forums and networks, encouraging VET providers and second chance schools to bring together education providers and enterprises
- Conducting research on existing good practices and training needs analysis of teachers and trainers
- Developing a train the trainer programme, with 4 training events across Europe, and tested among the partnership
- Gathering and sharing of good practices in employer engagement from across Europe
- Training events for teaching staffs to improve links with employers and develop learning resources
- Literature Review Report on existing careers guidance practices in schools and VET providers
- Needs Analysis report on the education and training needs of the target groups: teachers and trainers, young people at risk of ESL, employers
- Guide to Good Practice in Careers Advice for NEETs
- Train the Trainer Programme and e-Learning Platform
- Trainers’ Handbook
- Careers Curriculum Framework
- Handbook of Teaching and Learning Resources
- Guide to Effective Employer Engagement
- Coordinator: Stowarzyszenie Profilaktyczno-Wychowawcze Fenix (Poland)
- Stichting EURICON (The Netherlands)
- EfVET – European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (The Netherlands)
- Scoala Gimnaziala Nr 5 Piatra Neamt (Romania)
- CECE Madrid, Confederación Española de Centros de Enseñanza (Spain)
- ANESPO – Associação Nacional de Escolas Profissionais (Portugal)
- Intercollege Nicosia (Cyprus)
- FSZK – Fogyatékos Személyek Esélyegyenlöségéért Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft. (Hungary)
Follow the project IN ACTION
Date of project: 01/09/2015 – 01/09/2017
DG of reference: DG EAC, Erasmus+ Key Action 2, Strategic Partnership in the field of VET
Contact: CESIE: firstname.lastname@example.org