The Challenge of Change: The Reebok Presentation
At the Conference of the North West IAG Partnerships at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton, a further presentation on the The Challenge of Change was undertaken. It used the same feedback questions as in the previous four launch seminars. (See website entry for February and report in News and Views Spring 2004.)
From: Jonathan Brown
For NAEGA Membership details (and additional copies of The Challenge of Change) contact the NAEGA Administrator at:
NAEGA, PO Box 459, BELFAST BT2 8YA
The Challenge of Change: developing educational guidance for adults
North West IAG Conference Presentation - 27 February 2004
Feedback from pairs discussion
In the main it was possible to cluster the written responses around the two questions that delegates were asked to address. However there were a series of comments that were about tensions in the guidance role and practice that deserved separate heading of Tensions in guidance practice. Phrases in italics are direct quotation from the written responses.
Compared to previous groups those attending the Reebok event were more aware both individually and collectively of recent policy announcements on the future of IAG in England. This awareness and the accompanying concerns about future organisation and practice was well articulated both in the discussions on the day and in the written feedback sheets.
This feedback note will be posted on the NAEGA website naega.org.uk where it will join feedback in a similar format from four previous Challenge of Change seminars.
A digest based on these first four reports is published in NAEGA News and Views, Spring 2004 [which also contains four papers on the recently published Information, Advice and Guidance for adults, the National Policy Framework and Action Plan]
Question 1: How far is the The Challenge of Change still relevant to your current practice?
1. In the main the report is still relevant. The terms used varied:
2. There were comments on specific items/ideas in the report which were seen as being key ones. These comments included:
3. There were some delegates who had not come across The Challenge of Change before: it is and was relevant but I was not aware of it. In addition the relevance of the 1986 report to current practice raised issues about training in guidance not only for guidance workers but also for tutors and librarians. The report highlights the need for trained professionals.
Question 2: What significant current issues are missing from The Challenge of Change?
1. The most significant 'missing' issues were those associated with IAG and the recently published Information, Advice and Guidance for adults: the National Policy Framework and Action Plan. These issues were expressed in a wide variety of ways and are echoed in the later 'tensions' section of this feedback. The issuess on IAG included:
2. The importance of IT, the internet, CAG and Learndirect were noted as 'missing'. This applies not only to practitioners but also to clients: adults without ICT skills are now disadvantaged.
3. The impact on guidance practice of work with hard-to-reach groups of clients was a missing element. There is a need to overcome specific barriers. There was also concern about other 'special groups' including:
4. Specific practice issues of IAG in the wider partnership setting. In schools, colleges (what is the role of tutors in FE?), the community and libraries. Not all clients will be seen by traditional guidance workers. Coal-face IAG below level 2 is provided by tutors not guidance practitioners. Also well articulated as 'missing' was guidance in the workplace.
5. Missing is the link to rentention, achievement and the economic case for guidance.
The 'Tensions' issue: Tensions in guidance practice
The structural arrangements do not balance the needs of the individual client on the one hand with employer needs and government policy on the other hand. In discussion at the Reebok Stadium the contrast between the rhetoric of the new IAG Framework policy with its avoidance of the word guidance with the quality standards (NVQs and matrix) which are based on client-centredness. This tension was expressed in a variety of ways including:
The response to these tensions sharply divided delgates on the day and this is reflected in the paper comments. On the one hand there is the plea for the tight criteria for adult guidance to be broadened to provide a universal service. On the other hand is the view that this is an unreal agenda. The point of adult guidance being client-centred is all well and good, but it misses the point that guidance is funded to meet a national agenda i.e the competitiveness of the UK... perhaps we should be less impartial and actually start working towards a national agenda in terms of curriculum dvelopment and... forecasting of future skills needs. In this sense The Challenge of Change is not in the real world [but] funding for this ideal would be wonderful.