Report on the Testing of the Quality Development Framework in Brno

The German National Guidance Forum (nfb) who has the lead for the Intellectual Output IO4 had agreed with the Czech and Slovakian partner organizations during the project meeting in s’Hertogenbosch to organize a joint workshop with guidance practitioners, providers, and responsible staff  from public authorities to test the QDF model that was developed in Germany (BeQu-Concept) and to discuss its usefulness and transferability in career guidance systems in other European countries with different social and political contexts.

The workshop was jointly organized by the Czech and Slovakian partner organizations

  • SKPRK, CZE (Andrea Csirke)
  • BKS Úspech, s.r.o. (Pavol Kmet)
  • ZKPRK, SK (Tomas Sprlak)

and took place in the “Centre Education for All” in Brno.

The preparation of the programme and the implementation were in the responsibility of the trainers from the German National Guidance Forum (nfb), Susanne Schmidtpott and Karen Schober. The workshop was held in English language with some simultaneous translation facilities if necessary. The PowerPoint presentations and the workshop materials were available both in English and in Czech/Slovakian language which was quite helpful for mutual understanding and discussion. An introduction to the aims and objectives of the workshop, a preliminary programme and some excerpts of the QDF-Manual as well as the Czech/Slovakian Quality Standards for career guidance provider organizations were sent to the participants 1 – 2 weeks ahead of time.

The workshop was carried out with 22 participants from different backgrounds like for instance from a school authority, from labour offices, from an NGO, from professional career guidance associations, from self-employed career professionals, from Institutes offering “bilan de competence” etc. Following organizations participated on the workshop:

  • Labour office, Zlín, Czech republic (PES)
  • Labour office, Kroměříž, Czech republic (PES)
  • Labour office, Rožňava, Slovakia (PES)
  • Labour office, Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia (PES)
  • National Institute for Education, Czech republic (policymaking and funding body)
  • Centre “Education for all”, Brno, Czech republic (non-profit guidance provider)
  • Association for career guidance and career development (Czech and Slovak associations)
  • Municipality of Brno (policymaking and funding body)
  • Centre “Kariéra Info”, Pilsen, Czech republic (non-profit guidance provider)
  • Teamwork for better future, Veľký Meder, Slovakia (non-profit guidance provider)
  • A.B.A., Slovakia (non-profit guidance provider)
  • AGAPO, Czech republic (non-profit guidance provider)
  • NOVA Training, Czech republic (commercial guidance provider)
  • BKS Uspech, Slovakia (commercial guidance provider)

The workshop had two main goals:

  1. Presenting the German BeQu-Concept and its Quality Development Framework (QDF) as a tool for systematic and continuous quality development in career guidance provider organizations and making participants familiar with the different phases of quality development through practical exercises in group work during the workshop.
  2. Testing the transferability and application of the QDF in a wider European context and under the condition of different quality standards and quality assurance systems as a tool to prepare the organization for an external certification or auditing process. For this reason, we worked in phase 2 and 3 with the Czech/Slovakian Quality Standards.

Feedback from participants

The majority of participants thought that the QDF is a useful and reliable tool for continuous quality development because it systemizes the different steps and tasks to be carried out and provides a “backbone” for the process. Several participants articulated that they had already worked that way but on an intuitive basis and they find it helpful to rely on a recognized and acknowledged tool.

Some participants expressed their concern that they felt that their own organization is not yet ready for the implementation of such a quality development process. Nevertheless, they thought that the QDF is applicable for them individually. Others, especially employees of large organizations (e.g. labour offices, PES) felt that in their organization obstacles against such a participative and non-directive process were too high.

People from very small providers or self-employed career professionals said that they just lack time and resources to set up a QDF-process. Several participants admitted that they have learned that quality development needs time and cannot be implemented in a few weeks or months. This applies in particular to phases 1 and 2 of the QDF in order to really get involved all staff members, the management and also external partners and stakeholders. In general, it seems that there was a lot of information which made it sometimes hard to concentrate and keep track of what was going on.

Quantitative feedback also confirms a very positive reception of the QDF by the participants:

Summarizing the quantitative and qualitative results and feedbacks from the participants the workshop and the testing of the QDF turned out to be successful and of great value for most of the participants. From our point of view as trainers there was a very high level of involvement and engagement from the participants in the topic as such and also in the group work and discussions. and the plenary discussions.

Thinking of the QDF as a transversal tool which can be used by career guidance provider organizations to improve the quality of their service the feedback from the workshop indicates that the QDF can very well support such processes if the management of the organization are ready to engage in such a participative and non-directive process. This however depends largely on the type and size of the organization.

Regarding the usefulness for preparing for an external certification or auditing process the feedback was not so unanimous because in a certification process the organization has to follow prescribed procedures and react to prescribed quality criteria which does not leave it to the judgement of the staff members to identify the areas where improvement is needed most urgently. Nevertheless, the well-structured processes and procedures of the QDF were appreciated by all participants in the workshop.

Report on the Mentoring Programme Test in Germany

The mentoring programme developed for practitioners – candidates for certification was tested in April in Germany. The testing phase was organized by the National Guidance Forum (nfb) in cooperation with the IMBSE-GmbH (Institute for Models of vocational and social development – nfb member and partner) on their premises in Krefeld, a middle-sized town in Northrhine-Westfalia. The testing was carried out with 13 participants (9 participants from IMBSE, 3 participants from dvb, 1 Participant from NOLOC) plus 4 trainers from IMBSE and nfb.

The selection of modules presented in the testing of the mentoring Programme was subject to several discussions and decisions between nfb and the Slovakian and Czech partners during the partner meeting in s’Hertogenbosch and also between nfb and our training provider IMBSE. From the 22 modules available we chose 13 modules but combined some of them into one training unit.

Most of the presentations and works sheets were translated into German beforehand which very turned out to be very helpful for the testing. All the presentations, work sheets and some photo-protocols will be uploaded on the IMBSE Website in a special cloud so that all participants can download them if they want, but also on the google drive platform of the Qual-IM-G project.

The data from feedback questionnaires show that the modules

  • Mission and Vision
  • Ethics
  • Outcomes
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Networking
  • Career Portfolio

got the highest agreement in terms of being useful for a preparation for certification whereas theory, counselling techniques and reflection of own practice were felt not to be significantly important for this specific purpose. However, the participants indicated in one of our open questions that for their own benefit they would have appreciated to work more intensively on these modules.

A more detailed analysis shows that the highest standard deviation in results between the different evaluation criteria can be observed in the modules Reflection of Own Practice, Career Portfolio and Counselling Theory. The work sheets used for practical self or group work and the following plenary discussions were mostly appreciated although we mostly ran out of time. Some ore detailed feedback to some of the modules and the presentation of content can be found in the qualitative statements of the participants.

Summarizing the quantitative and qualitative results and feedbacks from the participants the workshop and the testing of the Mentoring Programme in Germany was very successful and of great value for the participants. During the whole workshop the participants actively participated in the programme as a whole as well as in the group work and the plenary discussions. The overall feedback however was, that there was not enough time in most modules.

For the final decision in the project how many and which modules should be selected for the final version of the Mentoring Programme, our recommendation is that with regard to the overall goal of the Mentoring Programme the following modules (from the modules tested in our testing phase) definitely should be part of the final programme:

  • M02 Mission and Vision
  • M03 Ethics
  • M04 Marketing
  • M05 Networking
  • M14 Career Portfolio
  • M19 Quality Assurance
  • M 23 Outcomes
  • M25 Evidence Based Practice

This of course has to be subject to further discussion among the partner organizations in the project.