Final conference: Results and recommendations

Worklife guidance – why, what and how?

The international conference took place on June 3rd, 2016 in Culemborg, Netherlands. A total of 90 professionals attended the event. The objective of the conference was to present and debate an integrated approach, methods and tools in anchoring guidance, HRM and VPL in the workplace as a means for enhancing lifelong learning and employabililty through an enjoyable approach. The main products of the project were introduced, keynote speakers were invited to present themes linked to worklife guidance and several workshops were offered to participants.

The conference was organized by the Foundation EC-VPL partner in cooperation with the partnership. It was also co-hosted by NOLOC, the Dtch organisation for professionals working in career guidane and management.

Kees Shuur (Foundation of EC-VPL) opened the conference. He expressed that the importance of worklife guidance is increasing and also the nature and characteristics of guidance are changing. Changes in technology, economy and society makes continuous professional developmnet at work a necessity for employment. A diploma is not a guarantee for a job, a job is not gueranteed for life. Lifelong learning is a necessity and many jobs that exist now will dissapear and not be replaced; while new jobs will be created. There is increasing need for flexibility and competence in managing one’s own career in life and at work. This requires visibility and recognition of various formal, non-formal and informal competences. A focus on employability and a process of informal valuation  with an open market space that suport the changing needs of  a flexible labour market, different contexts and the socio-pshycological changes of a human throughout life. The development of sustainable management of competences and careers, as well as guidance, in this process is important both frm an economic and societal perspective.

Recommendations

At the end of the conference (after four keynotes and eight workshops),, there was a discussion about the way forward with worklife guidance. The audience expressed the need for better and more guidance through a focus on:

  • Innovation in approaches and methods, increasing the effectiveness of guidance – leading to adjusted ways of working
  • Changes in education and training
  • Awareness of the need for change
  • Guidance that is more embedded in the workplace
  • Continuous improvement of career coaches (lifelong personal development)
  • Position of companies: Work more with guidane, competence development and validation of prior learning. Focus on co-creating a work environment in which employee stay employable
  • An environment in which employees will stay “fit”, in the perspective of competence and health
  • Implementation or improvement of the HR policy, especially for small enterprises
  • Policy of a sound balance of life and learning
  • More support from the government in bridging, funding and coordation, for example by setting up a task force for the issu of worklife guidance
  • More data/statistics that prove the added value and cost/benefit of worklife guidanc

During the discussion the need for more dissemination of results and other information about worklife guidance was expressed. At a European level the support by European organisation like Euroguidance and EPALE would be appreciated and at national level this could be taken up by organisations like NOLOC. Some suggestions for dissemination given by participants  were:

  • Supporting  motivational enterpreneurs
  • Enhancing the entrepreneurial attitude
  • Clarification on why working should be successful and satisfying
  • Showing the different values of work
  • Discussion about independent basic income (e.g. Switzerland)
  • Guidance counsellors and guidance professionals

The participants saw many benefits in the outcome of the conference and would appreciate more conferences on the issue. The benefits identified were f.ex:

  • International dimension, showing differnt work cultures and ways of working
  • Attention for worklife guidance and the introduction of the worklife guidance Toolbox
  • Good networking possibilities
  • Cooperation, co-creation and bridging
  • Encouraging, inspiring, trust, transparency, shared values and transparency
  • Knowledge, good content and a learning space
  • How work is changing and how specific measures could be used towards supportin workers in this change  (e.g. reducing burn-out)
  • Early adaptors, pro-activity and “just do it”
  • A better idea of how to approach companies and how to work together with them in guidance of the employees
  • Working with local government

The conference was higly appreciated by participants as the conference evaluation conducted by MERIG revealed. It gave more insight into ways of thinking and solutions for worklife guidance through the different persepectives presented and international examples. The worklife guidance Toolbox (http://wlguidance.wix.com/toolbox) was regarded as a welcome support for professsionals in worklife guidance.

Keynotes and workshops

Keynotes:

  1. Guidance for work and life: Challenges and benefits. Fjóla María Lárusdóttir presented
  2. Sustainable Employability and some Dutch lessons for lifelong guidance. Professor Judith Semeijn presented
  3. Risk taking, courage and creative pro-action: Developing entrepreneurial competences in contemporary careers. Gert van Brussel
  4. Lifelong Career Guidance: Current situation, obstacles and solutions. Tom Luken presented

Workshops:

A. Worklife guidane – raising awareness. Teea Oja, Marja Kevä Järvi and Tea Remahl (Finland)

B. Rockwool rocks. John Geven (Netherlands)

C. Team 3.0 (Together everyone achieves more). Ronald Verhaaf (Netherlands)

D. Course card. Sietse Rauwedink (Netherlands)

E. Career story interview. Mieke Verbaarschot (Netherlands)

F. Tools for worklife guidance. Arnheiður Gígja Guðmundsdóttir (Iceland)

G. Life management. Bert Wissink (Netherlands)

H. Creating cooperative partnerships. Klas Tallvid (Sweden)