FET News

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.


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