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SymfoS Newsletter #1

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SymfoS – Symbols for success 

SymfoS: the education and career guidance method for everyone!

SymfoS – Symbols for Success project promotes an innovative education and career guidance method, especially addressed to young disadvantaged people, based on the use of symbols. Symbolwork can offer clients an additional language to express themselves.

The project, co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme, KA2 Strategic Partnership VET, officially started in November 2016 and will last three years. The five project partners are working to reach the following main aims:

  • Provide support to those young people who encounter difficulties in finding their own pathway within the education system and labour market to set their own goals for their future;
  • Make available to educational guidance and professional operators a holistic method that improves the overall quality of counselling.

Education and career counselling: why SymfoS is different?

Traditional education and career counselling methods show limitations when addressing young people with difficulties in reading and writing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Working with symbols is an opportunity for all youngsters, especially for those who can’t express their situation easily. With SymfoS they can use a universal language to do it. Symbols help clarifying the own vision of the future.

Symbol work is different because:

  1. The counselling sessions take place in non-formal way and in a supportive and confidential setting;
  2. SymfoS method combines the personal involvement of the client with the support of a group of peers. All under the guidance of an experienced trainer;
  3. The working tools have been designed especially for this program, with attention to details and using a variety of materials. Clients will interact, hold, display objects to explain themselves,
  4. The client has the opportunity to reconnect with her/his inner world, and, without being judged, she or he will identify opportunities, resources and obstacles, will set goals and will define concrete actions for the future.

Why working with symbols? The answers in the Generic Framework for symbol work

The Generic Framework for symbol work is the first project result and the document that describes SymfoS basic approach and method.

The Generic Framework for Symbol work answers to the following questions:

  • Why working with symbols in the field of education and career guidance field?
  • What are the fundamental principles of the Symbol work and Its methodology?

The annex “National Reports” (with Research Results in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain) focus on different traditions and understanding of Symbols in these countries and on how Symbol work fits in these national systems of education and career guidance.

For whom is Generic Framework for symbol work?

  • Trainers who can use the Generic Framework as training material to learn about the method and to understand the power of symbols.
  • VET managers who can use it to have an understanding of SymfoS basic approach and potential use in their working environments.
  • Policy makers who can use it as basic document for the national and European recognition of SymfoS as career guidance method.

More to Generic Framework

12 trainers SymfoS are ready for practical work in their own countries

During the SymfoS project lifetime, two main transnational learning activities and several national workshops are foreseen. From the 6th to the 10th of march, 12 trainers from the partner organisations met in Nideggen (Germany) to participate in the first SymfoS “Train-the-Trainer” transnational learning activity. The training was conducted by Stefan Henke (Sozialwerk Düren) and Paul Schober (Hafelekar), both experienced counsellors and coaches in psychological symbol work, together with Wilfried Schneider, the prime developer of the symbol work sessions.

During the training the participants experimented different active roles of the counselling process (counsellor, client, observer) and learned how to conduct symbol work sessions and use the working tools. Once back home they will put into practice the methods learned and will provide career guidance and creating future prospects with clients from the SymfoS target group.