State of the Art

The majority of the European countries is still experiencing difficulties in integrating and interlinking different sectors of education and training. There are still too many structural barriers and blind spots in learning provision often combined with lack of flexibility and transparency mostly affecting adult learning. Adult education is stagnating with a participation rate of 9%, remaining far off the EU’s 2020 target of 15%. The participation of adults to learning activities is closely interlinked with literacy proficiency levels. Adults with already high levels of key information-processing skills participate the most, while those with lower levels of skills participate the least (Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) (2012), Tables A5.7 and A5.8 (L).).

Often low skilled adults encounter multiple problems: social, financial, health and others and various kinds of learning needs which needs to be addressed in a holistic way and in partnership or in a network with other relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, low skilled adults have often faced negative learning experiences in the past through failure, disaffection, disappointment with the initial systems, social and financial constraints, etc. As a result they often have low confidence in themselves and learning opportunities need to be brought to them. In this context guidance plays an extraordinarily important role in specifying the individual level of competences, learning interests and learning objectives in order to develop individual learning paths. As the problems of these adults are multidimensional, combined and tailored measures are needed. Furthermore, guidance services need to be flexible enough to adapt to adults different experiential background related to measures of validating and integrating their previous knowledge and skills acquired or measures enabling them to take responsibility support them making their own choices based on individual needs (P. Federighi et al (2009) Enabling the low-skilled to take their qualifications "one Step Up" ).

The partner countries have already some form of guidance services for adult learners or specific policy strategies that focus on educational guidance and orientation. However, the existing services or the structures on which these services rely, are not suitable to reach the adults mostly in need of education. Furthermore, existing services are often focusing on short term employment and less on identifying educational pathways that lead to more sustainable employment and social inclusion. Therefore it is crucial to develop models based on a meta-analysis of the existing structures and services, opportunities and needs in order to specifically reach low educated adults. In the next 3 years, project GOAL aims to identify criteria, conditions and critical factors of success to develop a structural support amongst decision makers and stakeholders for scaling up the most suitable models in partner countries and beyond.