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National Institute for Studies in Education (NISE) Seed Fund Research Project


Project title:

An exploration of the provision of an expanded Adult Guidance and Information Service to adult learners in the Further Education Training (FET) sector.


Duration of Project: 2017-2019


Research Team:

Dr. Lucy Hearne, University of Limerick

Dr. Cathal de Paor, Mary Immaculate College

Karina Ryan, Mary Immaculate College

Dr. Petra Elftorp, Research Assistant


The overall aim of this research project is to explore the provision of guidance counselling to adult learners in the Irish FET sector in the context of the proposed Adult Guidance and Information Service in the FET 2016-2019 Strategy (Solas, 2014). Currently, the provision of adult guidance is primarily the remit of the national Adult Educational Guidance Service (AEGS) which was established in 2000 (DES, 2000; Elftorp, 2017). However, there are also pockets of guidance provision within the FET sector where qualified guidance counsellors are working with a diverse range of adult learners, but are not employed in the AEGS. This general situation is described as dispersed and poorly connected and thus has implications for the quality of guidance to adult learners (Solas, 2014). current study set out to establish the nature of guidance counselling delivery and the implications for professional practice arising out of the propositions for an integrated service to adult learners (Solas, 2014). findings from data collected from guidance counsellors through an online survey administered in Spring 2018 highlight the unique circumstances and experiences of practitioners working at the interface of significant policy and practice changes in the FET sector. The findings elucidate the complex psychosocial, social, educational and career needs of adult learners engaging with FET guidance services and education programmes, the impact of structural and systemic changes within the FET sector on the work of guidance practitioners and services, and the identified CPD needs of FET guidance practitioners working within this system.

For further information contact: lucy.hearne@ul.ie and Cathal.dePaor@mic.ul.ie