The steps towards, and benefits from, adopting common European standards in monitoring and evaluating career guidance were discussed during a Cedefop event on 21 and 22 March.

The two-day virtual workshop, under the title ‘Supporting careers and learning: towards common standards for monitoring and evaluation in Europe’, featured presentations of expert papers and discussed the ongoing work in the area as a first step towards common methodologies in career guidance monitoring and evaluation.

Researchers, experts and specialists from international and European organisations and stakeholders from the career guidance field exchanged views on policy and practices in career guidance.

Participants discussed effective methodologies and advantages/disadvantages of developing an overarching minimum set of indicators for regular monitoring of the lifelong guidance system.

Authors presented research papers, based in five lifelong guidance systems (Finland, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Wales in the UK) from the recently published Cedefop Working paper series No 9: 'Towards European standards for monitoring and evaluation of lifelong guidance systems and services (Vol. I)'. The six research papers cover a range of existing and proposed methodological approaches and in-depth reviews of previous work in the field, identifying gaps and considering solutions for monitoring and evaluating adult career guidance and career development services.

The second day focused on work in progress produced as part of a Cedefop project aiming at developing policy tools for evidence-informed policy-making in career guidance. The work conducted has explored the common and diverse ways in which countries gather evidence and monitor outputs and effectiveness of their publicly-funded services, the potential role of partners and stakeholders, and how evidence from evaluation studies and innovative methodologies can help lead to an integrated vision of the results of guidance interventions.

Draft framework an inspirational tool

A preliminary, draft framework, based on data collected between 2019 and 2021 and containing minimum target elements and indicators for monitoring and evaluating career guidance, was discussed with participants. They considered the framework useful as an inspirational tool and pointed to aspects that need to be elaborated further to capture the complexity of career guidance interventions.

Among the many salient points that emerged from the discussions is the need to improve public services continuously and outcomes for users by way of better use of research on monitoring and evaluation in career guidance and employing mixed methods, as well as targeted feedback data collected from career guidance users over time.

Various ideas were discussed on how services could be made more effective, particularly through improved collaboration on data collection and analysis to benefit users. There was also support for developing cross-sectoral strategies involving education and training, youth and employment.

The workshop is a starting point for discussing current policies in Europe at different levels of the lifelong guidance system, while exploring where there may be agreement on possible minimum requirements.