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Door to Learning

Policy Instrument

Door to Learning

Opin ovi
Finland

Description

Timespan

2008-12/2014

Stage

No longer operational

The door to learning was a European Social Fund project, which meant that it has a planned starting and ending point from the beginning. The projects connected different educational institutes and created plenty of material to support the guidance and information services. The rationale was that the created model would go on without formal structures i.e. the educational adviser could help the student to make choices, taking account all the available education. It is a recognised risk that the model would depend on the people who participated on the project and it won't be functional if the people change.

Foundations

Policy area

Door to Learning's target was to help the adult population to make better educational decisions.

Policy goal

The goal was to develop educational counselling and professional guidance services so that they meet the needs of all working-age adults and improve the availability of skilled workforces in the different regions of Finland. The instrument offers information, guidance and counselling services to those who: (1) are looking for information on educational possibilities and jobs; (2) wish to improve their professional knowledge; (3) wish to change professions or move to a new job; or (4) wish to improve the professional skills of their workplace or community.

Mismatch

Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

There is a wide program to develop life-long learning and related guidance. Door to Learning is a part of that.

Administrative level

National

Main responsible body

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Ministry of Education and Culture

Stakeholders

The network of educational institutes at different levels, mainly vocational colleges, adult education centres and universities of applied sciences. They are responsible for counselling and guidance services. The network included also other officials.
At the regional level, The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment were responsible for funding.

Funding

In the project phase there was project funding from ESF and ministries. Since then, it was expected that the network created and service model would keep working with normal budget funding of the participating educational institutions. Each of them have some resources for information, guidance and counselling services.
The total funding was around €25 million for the years 2008 - 2013. The source of funding was public: including ministries, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the ESF programme. Participating educational institutes also contributed to some parts of it. The breakdown is not available because the project is an umbrella/coordination project comprised of more than 50 regional or side projects.

Intended beneficiaries

Adults in working age. They are expected to benefit from guidance and support when they are making choices to (re-)educate themselves. Better guidance is expected to lead to better educational decisions.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

LMSI is used widely as background material for both counsellors and students so that they can take employability into account while making educational decisions. In principal, the Door to Learning project was aimed especially at those adult students who were not customers of employment services. The guidance is targeted to make better decisions based on the individual life situation. For that reason, the employability is only one variable.

Financial schemes

The project was based on European Social Fund - funding and national funding. The project was an umbrella project bringing together many regional projects, and there may have been some regional funding as well. The services are free for the beneficiaries. The project could be seen as on-the-job training for the counsellors.

Frequency of updates

LMSI outcomes are a part of the background material used to develop the model for new services. There was a need to match services with needs of the labour market. According to the evaluation report the connection could have been stronger.

Development

The project consisted of several sub-projects aiming to develop working model information, guidance and counselling services. For that reason, there have been several adjustments and learning from others through the projects.

Barriers

The evaluation report shows that one of the main barriers were the organisational changes in the educational institutions and employment offices - networking was challenging when there were changes in personnel. It was also difficult to develop new services during other organisational changes. It seems that there are constant organisational changes especially in educational institutions.

Success factors

Bringing together the available resources of the educational institutions that participated in the projects.

Monitoring

There is no regular on-going monitoring of the Door to Learning project. Only a final evaluation report is available. The evaluation is mainly qualitative with some Likert-scale statements from the survey. There are also data about how many people/companies have participated in the project.

Innovativeness

Very innovative

The innovativeness is based on bringing together several sources of information, guidance and counselling through the networking of the different actors, especially educational institutions. Besides that, the project created vast amounts of material for different kinds of guidance situations or customers (people with learning difficulties, immigrants etc).

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

The main outcomes achieved are the regional networks between educational institutions and their personnel. The networks provide information, guidance and counselling. One of the main outcomes of the project is the created networking model. The beneficiaries can be found at two levels: (1) personnel working in information, guidance and counselling services get new tools and resources for their work; (2) the final beneficiaries are students or people searching for learning possibilities, and who get improved services for that purpose. According to the evaluation report, both these groups have benefited from the project. Completely unexpected costs were not reported. The challenge is that after the project ended in 2014, the model was intended to keep running by educational institutions that participated to the model. Due to budget cuts, there have been problems to find funding for the information, guidance and counselling services. That has lead to some problems - when new employees enter the organisation they don´t know the network and there are no available resources for keeping up the connections with the whole network.

Engagement of stakeholders

After the project phase, there is no guarantee that the engagement will last. Some of the actors have made contracts to continue the cooperation, but there is still a risk that the service model will not endure.

Transferability

Not easily transferable

The project idea and structure can be transferred. The possibilities to provide information, guidance and counselling services depend on the context. It requires co-ordination and collaboration of many elements, in order to end up with similar kind of impact.

Sustainability

There is a risk that without targeted funding the model will not continue, at least not at the level created during the project phase.