Case Study

KOBRA – Knowing what I can. Discovering where I want to go.

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Providers

KOBRA, an advisory institution that focuses on job orientation and career guidance for women, has been developing the tool since 2002 as part of the publicly funded Berlin counselling network.

Target Groups

The tool Wissen, was ich kann. Entdecken, wohin ich will, formerly known as Kompetenzbilanz online (competence record online), is designed for two main target groups:

 

  • It predominantly addresses women at different stages of their education and professional
    career, but can also be used by men
  • Moreover, it provides valuable tools for career advisors, including manuals, didactic materials,
    evaluation support, exercises and handouts.
Objectives

The tool aims to achieve the following objectives:

 

  • Allow for structured assessment of the user’s competences and interests
  • Open up prospects for alternative professional careers by offering a broad range of more than 548 potential occupations (which is continuously updated)
  • Provide professional orientation during education, but also in the event of re-entry into the labour market after a long absence (e.g. due to parental leave) or for professional reorientation
  • Enable reflection on potential differences between your own perception and external image, provided via parallel assessment of the user’s competences by confidants, leading to enhanced selfesteem
  • Support career advisors with substantiated and structured materials and tools for professional orientation
Intervention Approach

Wissen, was ich kann consists of the following core elements:

 

  • Assessment of occupation-specific capabilities and interests for 27 fields of occupational activities
  • Assessment of 15 transferable skills (e.g. capacity for teamwork, empathy, communication skills)
  • As an outcome of the assessment, a selection of suitable occupations (out of > 548 occupations) is presented, including comprehensive visual analysis of users’ compliance with required skills
  • The range of occupations also include non-formalised job profiles which are not yet formally recognised as job profiles but which offer potential for decent work and income (e.g. yoga teacher)
  • Besides self-evaluation, the tool also foresees assessment of the users’ competences by up to 2 confidants as a basis for a dialogue on potential differences between self-perception and external image
  • An exploration of potential occupational fields (Jobs to click), based on a broader assessment of interests and competences within 27 fields of occupational interests, and further detailed information on occupational profiles

 

Wissen, was ich kann has been designed as a stand-alone digital self-evaluation tool, but it can be used as part of a blended advisory approach, which also includes personal meetings with KOBRA advisors or advisory workshops. Both the tool and the advisory meeting are free of charge.

Activities

The following measures are required for development and dissemination of the assessment tool:

 

  • Development of a didactic concept to elaborate suitable questionnaires for transferable and occupation-specific competences and interests, including visualisation of results
  • Analysis and visualisation of relevant labour market and occupation-specific information
  • Development of a suitable IT application
  • Development and implementation of a marketing strategy
  • A mechanism for continuously updating occupational information
  • Provision of offline advisory options (e.g. within a network of NGOs)
Resources

In line with the activities described above, a range of different expertise and resources is required:

 

  • Pedagogical / adult education and labour market experts
  • IT experts
  • Marketing / social media experts
  • Resources for continuously updating job-related information
  • Advisors

 

In addition, financial resources are required for hosting the website.

Results

The tool has contributed to an enhanced focus on identifying job-related interests during professional orientation in particular for women, in addition to an in-depth assessment of acquired competences and labour market requirements. Through this approach, women at the stage of professional (re-)orientation are not solely reliant on their diploma or certificates, but are encouraged to identify their interests and explore occupational opportunities and training needs.

 

Furthermore, the tool has contributed to an enhanced understanding among users on the importance of competences acquired outside the world of work. In particular, women often undertake activities or take on responsibilities that are not formally recognised as a qualification, but help to build specific skills and competences that they can recognise and benefit from for furthering their professional career. The tool includes such competences in the assessment grid.

Tips for Practitioners
  • Do not underestimate the need for continuous updates: The tool will only remain attractive if the suggested occupational profiles are up to date. This means including newly emerging job profiles and updating existing occupational profiles.
  • Use existing labour market and occupation-related information as much as possible: Wherever available at the required level of quality, the tool should provide access to and use labour market and job-related information, as analysing such information is usually time-consuming and expensive.
  • Use as much experience compiled during direct occupational counselling as possible: The tool is not designed to be used as a general assessment tool for generic competences. It is intended to be as specific as possible regarding relevant competences required in each job profile, while also taking into consideration the specific mind-set and situation of women in a career (re-)orientation phase. This experience is generally gathered in direct advisory situations as implemented by advisory institutions, and should be used to the maximum possible extent in design of the tool.
  • Apply a blended advisory concept: While the tool can be used on its own, it is highly recommended that a neutral advisor supports professional orientation. This will ideally complement or help interpret the outcomes of self-assessment, and support the further steps towards attaining the desired job-profile, while it also boosts self-esteem and encourages the user.
  • Support the user throughout the digital assessment process: As it is designed as a stand-alone e-learning tool while it also tackles a potentially sensitive topic touching on the user’s self-perception, the application should guide and address the user as much as possible throughout the assessment process.
  • Apply a wide spectrum of marketing for the tool: Besides standard channels such as social media and links to relevant websites, the tool should also be promoted through conferences, networks and workshops.
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