FET News

November 2019

AGMS and ongoing developments

The Adult Guidance Management System AGMS) is a client management information system developed by NCGE and DES over 10 years ago to support guidance service provision to clients, produce qualitative and quantitative reports to inform local and national guidance planning , and to ensure quality assurance of Adult Education Guidance Initiative guidance services nationally within the VECs and now within the ETBs.

In accordance with the requirements of SOLAS, for the continued development and delivery of appropriate qualitative and quantitative reports on guidance provision in the ETBs, NCGE began a phased process for the development of the AGMS into the future. Last January, NCGE established the FET GMS Working Group which currently includes representation from ETBI, AEGI staff and AGA, AEOA, SOLAS and DES.

Since January 2019, the FET GMS Working Group met 4 times to consider the development of the Adult Guidance Management System to support FET guidance services and planning for ETB FET guidance services into the future. The establishment of this Working Group has provided the structure to progress data gathering and the reporting of FET Guidance, thereby underpinning quality FET Guidance into the future.

With the support of the various working group members, the NCGE convened Working Group meetings have considered the challenges and potential to better capture and give evidence of the wealth of quality Guidance practice and meaningful support offered by FET Guidance services in the wide range of service provision contexts.

New Layer of access for Directors of FET

In September, following clarification from DES and SOLAS, issues regarding the appropriate level of access to the (existing) AGMS for Directors of FET and ETB management came up for consideration. Following on advice and consultation with GDPR experts NCGE recognised the need to develop a new ‘layer of access’ to AGMS reports for Directors of FET for their ETB. That new layer has been developed by the IT company and is now available to the Directors of FET for the ETBs.

Overarching Research on Data Gathered in DES/SOLAS/NCGE Adult Guidance Management System of the Adult Educational Guidance Initiative

In August 2019, NCGE confirmed their agreement with DES and SOLAS to generate an overarching overview report of the quantitative and qualitative data gathered on the current AEGI AGMS database from 2004-2018 which will include a report on the documented Case Studies provided as required within the AGMS since 2013.

From the NCGE Panel of External Consultant Guidance Professionals 2019-2020, Dr. Petra Elftorp has agreed to conduct this research on behalf of and in consultation with NCGE. Petra’s work will be to explore, consider and analyze the quantitative and qualitative data gathered on the AGMS from 2004 to end 2018. It is expected that the report of this analysis will inform the future developments and data-gathering of a Further Education and Training Sector Guidance Management System (FET-GMS).

October 2019

IAEVG Conference

In September 2019 NCGE FET and Post Primary Guidance Programme Coordinators had the privilege of participating, with a large international cohort of Guidance Professionals, at the IAEVG Conference 2019 in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The theme of the conference “Career Guidance for Inclusive Society“ is one that is significant across all areas of practice and is a core challenge in the developing world of Further Education & Training.
What is of interest was to note that this challenge is truly international with workshops and speakers offering expertise and experience which was received as familiar ground.
Over the course of three days we heard talks on topics such as:

  • Jessie Koen: The future of job security: where do we start?
  • Gideon Arulmani: Career Guidance in Transition Economies: New Lamps for Old?
  • Lenka Martinkovičová, Tomáš Šprlák: Finding a guidance system that promotes equality of opportunities – perspectives from the host country
  • Annamaria Di Fabio: Psychology of sustainability and sustainable development: crucial contributions from guidance and career counseling
  • Norman Amundson: Guiding Circles approach to career development and minority cultures

More information and downloadable resources available on the IAEVG website HERE

This Conference was heartening and inspiring and has already been a strong influence in the Collaborative Transnational Cooperation Activity that NCGE FET and LEARGAS AE & VET are planning in November.
This will consider the significant challenges for Guidance Counsellors in supporting adults in managing ‘career security’ in an insecure world. 


Developments of the AGMS (Adult Guidance Management System)

The AGMS – FET Working Group continued throughout the summer months

NCGE Director and FET Coordinator engaged with Directors of FET, SOLAS, DES and ETBI along with engaging legal advice and GDPR expertise with regard to the development of the appropriate GDPR Agreements to support the continuing development of theunique and valuable AEGS ‘Adult Guidance Management System’. The NCGE convened Working Group for the development of the system met in September 2019 to consider challenges and potential to better capture and give evidence of the wealth of quality Guidance practice and meaningful support offered by FET Guidance services in the wide range of service provision contexts.

September 2019

General update

Please refer to the latest NCGE Bulletin, available HERE

June 2019

AGMS Consulations 

The AGMS / Guidance Management System Working Group was established in January 2019,  following on from National Consultations considering the development of the system to support FET guidance services and planning for ETB FET guidance services into the future. Following on from the first meeting in January 2019, NCGE have hosted subsequent meetings of the Guidance Management System Working Group, in April 2019 and most recently June 2019. Further meetings of the Working Group are scheduled for 2019, with the potential to continue also in 2020. Ongoing developments with the Working Group continue to provide the context to develop and progress appropriate data gathering systems for reporting on FET Guidance, underpinning quality FET Guidance into the future.

Social Inclusion Forum 2019

On 22/05/2019 NCGE FET attended the Social Inclusion Forum 2019, held at the Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, D4. The theme of this year’s SIF was “Collaborative Working at Local and National Level”. It aims were to show what work is being done, what is working and what needs to change. It focused also on the levels of engagement between Local & National Organisations and Departments. Inclusion is an expectation and notable feature of Guidance provision across all forms of education in Ireland and NCGE welcomed the opportunity to network with relevant stakeholders at this event and to receive presentations from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, as well as comments from a range of organisations present.Community Work Ireland and the European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland presented feedback from people experiencing poverty and the groups working with them, which were particularly welcome as they accurately captured the accomplishments and the challenges of what is happening on the ground; valuable feedback which should inform our practice.

NCGE looks forward to the publication of the upcoming National Action Plan and Roadmap for Social Inclusion from DEASP as part of our ongoing commitment to Social Inclusion as demonstrated via NCGE CPD on Social Inclusion held in March 2019. 

April 2019

NCGE FET Guidance Programme CPD for Staff of Adult Education Guidance Services - March 26th to 28th 2019

While the development of the FET Guidance Strategy remains ‘on hold’ pending the outcome of the DES Review of Career Guidance, work in Adult Education Guidance services continues apace. Staffing in the services has improved during the last year and NCGE FET continues its engagements with SOLAS, ETBI and ETBs on a number of significant developments across the FET arena – including the Adult Guidance Management System for the AEGS’ and for Guidance in FET in general.

Policies, strategies and developments affecting AEGS delivery of Guidance to adults interested in or pursuing FET need to be continually noted and factored into service delivery.

Last November, Andrew Brownlee, Executive Director Strategy and Knowledge, SOLAS, made a presentation on Social Inclusion in FET and Guidance at the last (NCGE hosted) National Forum on Guidance. At this time, we felt that this was a very useful policy based piece. It is vital that AEGS Guidance Coordinators and Counsellors have the opportunity to learn about SOLAS policies and in particular any Social Inclusion policies.

Adult Guidance Services continue to be covered by the relevant operational guidelines (DES Adult Education Guidance Initiative Operational Guidelines 2012) which state: ‘AEGI targets individuals and groups that experience particular and acute barriers to participation and are more difficult to engage in the formal learning process.’ Social Inclusion is therefore already an expectation and notable feature of the AEGS model of Guidance provision. 

The Social Inclusion priority was further highlighted by news of the February ’19 launch of the IHREC Strategy Statement 2019 – 2021.
(See also - https://www.ihrec.ie/about/strategicpriorities/)

Equality and human rights are at the very heart of Guidance provision, social inclusion is the pulse of Guidance, and as we await developments on the development of the FET Guidance Strategy it seemed that the Guidance service staff would benefit greatly by hearing about ongoing policy developments in the area of social inclusion.

NCGE FET therefore secured the following speakers who contributed over the course of the 3 days

  • Ivica Milicevic and Robert McCulloch, SOLAS
  • Mary Kenny, EAL & ESOL Development Officer DDLETB
  • Livia Bartolome, Business in the Community Ireland
  • Rory O’Neill Irish Refugee Council
  • Marion Wilkinson, National Disability Authority
  • Donal Rice, Centre of Excellence for Universal Design NDA

NCGE invited Dr. Ebun Joseph to further facilitate the events – Dr. Joseph was very warmly received by AEGS Coordinators and Guidance Counsellors and we will be engaging with her again in the future!

With speakers from various areas of policy and practice part of the purpose of this CPD programme was to support AEGS Guidance staff in sharing knowledge, expertise and practice. The events  were a reminder of the challenges to sincerely inclusive practice; and the need for useful collaboration and necessary cooperation between services in this crowded landscape where many agencies and services may be working on behalf of different Government departments and associated policies and strategies and priorities.

73 Guidance Service staff from AEGS nationally attended the CPD days, and evaluations confirm that the days were well received.

Presentations from the day will be published to the FET Guidance Handbook soon.

March 2019

AGMS Consulations 

Following the national consultations regarding the AEGS AGMS developments / GDPR management (see February 'news' below), in late January, NCGE hosted the 1st meeting of the 'AGMS / FET Guidance Management System Working Group'. The establishment of this Working Group will provide the structure to progress data gathering and the reporting of FET Guidance, thereby underpinning quality FET Guidance into the future. In early March 2019 the NCGE Director & FET Coordinator briefed the Directors of FET on developments, at their forum in ETBI.

Attendance at Networking Events

The NCGE FET Guidance Programme Coordinator attended several networking events recently with relevance to FET Guidance planning and delivery. These included:

Euroguidance Ireland Study Visit

NGCE FET Guidance supported and collaborated on the 2019 Euroguidance Study visit, which focussed on the theme - Exploring the challenges of providing meaningful guidance in a multicultural context in the Further Education and Training (FET) system in Ireland with reference to upskilling and 'The New Skills Agenda'. You can access a report of the study visit HERE.

Additional developments

  • ESOL and EAL resources and Guidance supports were  part of work begun in February
  • NCGE has agreed to collaborate with Careers Portal in the development of a video resource. In this resource AEGS services will be represented by a learner who had AEGS support as he/she progressed from Adult Education - to FET - then HE - and on to employment. Learners from PLC provision will also explore the Guidance support that helped them along their journey.

February 2019

AGMS Consulations 

In NCGE’s work on the redevelopment of the Adult Guidance Management System for the AEGS, during November 2018 we hosted 2 national consultation days (in Mullingar and in Dublin) . 90 members of staff including Directors of FET, Adult Education Officers and staff of the Adult Education Guidance Services gathered for two facilitated days of presentations and discussions focusing on considerations for the development of the AGMS in support of FET guidance services and planning for ETB FET guidance services into the future.

NCGE have been discussing the necessary developments to that system in the emerging FET Guidance context, considering the very significant issues of the roles and responsibilities, legal issues and necessary agreements attached to gathering data (in light of GDPR obligations) and looking at ways to gather evidence of the value and impact of FET Guidance.

These two Consultation Days were the start point in a process that will take time and will be informed by Guidance services on the ground, service users and clients in collaboration and consultation with ETB management and with SOLAS oversight.

Below is a summary report outlining the key issues and questions highlighted through the initial consultations.

Facilitator’s summary re National Consultation Meetings held in November 2018 regarding the development of a new Adult Guidance Management System (AGMS)

Chris Chapman : The Change Exploratory

The consultation meetings proved very useful to both help define key characteristics for a new system and also the process by which a new system is developed

From a stakeholder's perspective, key issues highlighted that will need further definition and agreement nationally include:

  • a 'purpose statement' for the new system (acknowledging both that the system will have to meet needs at a variety of levels and that it will need to have the capacity to evolve over time)
  • a policy in relation to confidentiality, GDPR and communications with service users
  • a quality assurance policy that ensures consistency and user-friendliness
  • definition (updating) of categories
  • links between AEGI's and to other systems

In terms of the process of getting from 'here to there', there are key questions requiring attention in relation to:

  • archiving
  • formalising of interim agreements and necessary interim arrangements (including one common GDPR form)
  • training
  • timescales for development (i.e. a project management plan)
  • ongoing communications / consultations with stakeholders

The success of a new system will be dependent on it being:

  • Client-centred
  • Quality assured
  • Able to combine qualitative and quantitative data
  • Able to meet the needs of a variety of stakeholders
  • Able to link intelligently with other systems

To be successful, it is also clear the development process will need to be transparent, offer opportunities for continuing consultation and attend to interim issues in relation to GDPR and confidentiality.

The full report on the consultation meetings will be used by the Working Group overseeing development of the project.