European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database

[Print view]

Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

Workplace Guidance



I am proposing that this example will be published also in the KSLLL database


1. Background

What makes this an example of good/interesting practice/initiative/policy?
- The motivation of the initiative (What is the history/background of the policy?)
- Linkages with LLG policy priorities (Please add references to other national/EU policies or documents)
- Participants
•The motivation of the initiative
The Workplace Guidance (WG) project consisted of two consecutive WG 1 and WG 2 Leonardo da Vinci projects. The first one was a mapping and interview-based project; the second one focused on extending guidance and counselling practices to low-paid workers. The WG project developed, therefore, a number of educational materials and a training course targeted at vocational guidance counsellors, trade union activists and employers, in order to update their skills/competence in relation to the identified target group (low-paid workers) and to enhance access of low-paid workers to lifelong learning.

* Linkages with LLG policy initiatives
These overall aims respond to several objectives of the Copenhagen process and the Maastricht communiqué: to increase the skills and competence of low-qualified workers and enhance their motivation to enter in a lifelong learning process; to provide workers with lifelong learning guidance; to increase the attractiveness of vocational training and education.

The partnership included partners from 10 European countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Among these participants, the policy impact of WG was most significant in IS & DK. Thus, this report concentrates on these two countries as examples.

Aims and targets
- Objectives of the initiative (What did the policy set out to achieve?)
- Target group
- Methods applied to reach the objective (technological and /or pedagogical)
•Objectives of the initiative
The aim of the project was to assist lowpaid workers into lifelong learning through the provision of vocational guidance that is easy for them to access, i.e. at the workplace. Hence the project highlighted good practice, and also gave 100 hours training to vocational guidance counsellors, human resource workers and trade union activists in order to highlight the value of, and assist with, the provision of guidance to lower-paid workers.

•Target group
Low paid workers: the fact that the low-paid workers can receive guidance and counselling on-hand at the workplace increased their learning opportunities and enhanced their motivation to enhance their competence through acquiring new skills. Enhancing the skills of lower-paid workers in Europe is urgently needed to meet both new technological innovations and competition from other countries and continents.

The project delivered an online course on workplace guidance that included a wide range of materials on the website through which it was delivered. The project website contains all the education materials in 11 languages, as well as the online course.

2. Implementation

Strategy and actions (Please describe the approach adopted to make the reform work and any actions taken.)
- Level of implementation (national, regional etc.)
- Implementation (description)
Outreach Workplace Guidance was an experimental and somewhat fragmented practice in Denmark, initiated by trade unions. Subsequently components of the Workplace Guidance project were transformed into mainstream national guidance policies, especially in Iceland and Denmark, as mentioned below in Section 3

Monitoring and evaluation
- What has been put in place for monitoring and evaluation?
- What actors are involved?

3. Outcomes

Achievements (Please describe the main outcomes/results according to the following headings. Each option can be answered - up to 50 words)
- Specific results
- Cost effectiveness
- Budget
- Innovative aspects
Policy impact
The outreach guidance components of the Workplace Guidance project were transformed into mainstream national guidance policies. Thus, the concepts of Learning Advisors and of Guidance Corners were transferred to Iceland on the basis of the Danish experiences with guidance in the actual workplace, thus incorporating the concept of Workplace Guidance into the 9 Lifelong Learning/Lifelong Guidance Centres all over Iceland (see This guidance provision coverage is remarkable, considering that Iceland is a country with only 300.00 inhabitants. The outreach workplace guidance activities are supported partly by the education funds, which were already in place as part of industrial agreements between employers and trade unions.
In both the case of Denmark and of Iceland, the Workplace Guidance project played an active role in contributing and influencing current adult learning and adult guidance policies. As in the other Nordic countries, in an attempt to improve the skills and qualifications of the workforce, various learning policies have stressed the importance of reaching out the workers with low pay and low formal qualification. In Sweden, for instance, a national ‘Competence and knowledge’ campaigns (Kunskapslyft) stressed the dual purpose of adult learning: (1) the global competitiveness aspect in creating a knowledge-based society; (2) the aspects of social inclusion and democratisation.
In the Danish context, the economic competitiveness has been brought to the forefront, and guidance plays a pivotal role here. In a governmental white paper on the challenges of Globalisation, a whole chapter dealt with guidance, and of 333 concrete proposals, 30 were specifically on guidance, many of which focused on lifelong, and, in particular, adult guidance (see Fremgang, fornyelse og tryghed. Strategi for Danmark i den globale økonomi. København: Regeringen, 2006. 165 pages. Online: Fremgang, fornyelse og tryghed). In this policy-forming process, the Workplace Guidance project was presented by the Danish WG project member to the Danish Ministry of Education, both formally and informally, and explained in some detail to an inter-ministerial policy-making group, which took a special interest in the low-cost aspects of outreach workplace-based guidance, and of the potential synergy between formal and non-formal (peer-based: learning advisors/educational ambassadors). The ensuing political discussions lead, among other things, to a Parliamentary decision on a temporary Adult Guidance Reform, which alotted EUR 17 Mill over two years (2008-2009) to develop workplace guidance (in 22 regional networks), and a further decision to follow this by research into the effects of different approaches (see A new National Council on Adult Guidance was also established. On this basis, after a tender, a National Centre for Competence Development was established, with the brief to produce research results to underpin further policy developments in the adult guidance and adult learning field (see This approach was to be an example of truly evidence-based policy making. Ironically, this plan was overtaken by other policy decisions, whereby the mentioned 22 adult guidance networks were replaced by 13 new, regional adult learning centers (VEU-Centre, 2009), even before the evaluation of the trial period had come to an end.

Success factors (What key success factors have led to or prevented success?)
- Lessons learnt
- Unintended impacts (Have there been any unintended impacts? Positive or negative?)
•Lessons learnt
In both countries (IS & DK) the WG project was in line with current national policy-making, as described above. This gave momentum to the policy impact. Moreover, as an example of cross-national impact of an EU-project, WG had the good fortune to have project members who were themselves centrally placed in guidance policy-making.

•Unexpected outcomes
The Workplace Guidance project was awarded the EU 2006 Helsinki Award as an innovative Leonardo da Vinci project (see ), and it was subsequently chosen as one of the outstanding LdV projects with policy transfer potential at the conference in Ljubljana, May 2007 on The voice of Users in Guidance (see ).

Strengths and weaknesses
- What areas of the policy can we learn lessons from?
- Are there still challenges ahead?

4. Additional narrative description of the policy/practice/initiative

Project No
2003/ISL/03/B/F/PP-164 001

Project title
Vocational guidance for low-paid workers (Workplace Guidance)

Project promoter
Starfsafl Educational Fund

Contact details
Name Starfsafl Educational Fund
Address Sætún 1
105 Reykjavík

The partnership included partners from 10 European countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Project duration
Start date: 13.10.2003 / End date: 31.3.2006

Additional information

Name of contact
Peter Plant

Role (in policy initiative)

Organization name
Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitetsskole/Forskningsenhed i Vejledning / Guidance Research Unit

Tuborgvej 164 DK-2400 København NV

+ 45 88 88 94 07

+ 45 88 88 97 08


Website address

Documents and publications
Clayton, P (2007). The potential of workplace guidance in the development of lower-paid workers in Europe. In: Lorenz Lassnigg, Helen Burzlaff, Maria A. Davia Rodriguez, Morten Lassen (Eds.), Lifelong Learning: Building Bridges Through Transitional Labour Markets, Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis

Plant, P. & Turner, R. (2005). Getting closer: workplace guidance for lifelong learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 24:2, 123-135

Plant, P. (2008). On the shopfloor: guidance in the workplace. In: Athanasou, J. & Esbroeck, R.V. (eds) (2008). International Handbook of Career Guidance. London: Springer

Attached files


This information was provided/updated by:
Peter Plant

No comments by users.

ELGPN, good practice, initiative, interesting practice, policy, workplace guidance, vocational education, access, employed, Denmark