The second NICE Academy took place at the University of Split in Croatia from October 9-12, hosted by Prof Srecko Goic. The academy was organized by the NICE Foundation in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics of the University of Split, Yvor Broer from In Dialogue, and the European Society for Vocational Designing and Career Counseling (ESVDC). It was attended by 78 participants from 24 countries. Focussing on "Innovative Approaches to Career Guidance and Counselling", the academy included two interactive keynote lectures by Julia Yates (UK) and Jaana Kettunen (Finland), a variety of training workshops and presentation sessions from which participants could choose, as well as diverse learning and networking activities (see Programme here).
Fortythree of the delegates (55%) participated in an anonymous online evaluation of the academy between Oct. 28 and Dec. 9, 2019. Asked, how high the chance is that the participants would recommend a NICE Academy to a colleague on a scale from 1 (definitely not) to 10 (definitely), average satisfaction rating was 9.1 (SD = 1.4).
Moreover, we asked the participants, which impact the academy had had on them and their practice, asking ten impact questions (yes/no). 84% of respondents said that their knowledge about innovative methods for career support had increased through the academy. 77% of respondents indicated that they had formed new, international friendships or relationships through the event. 74% suggest that they identified approaches or practices that they want to adopt in their own practice and 72% suggest that the academy helped them to develop new ideas on how to innovate their practice. 58% of respondents found partners for future projects, indicating the large interest in international collaboration. More rarely, participants indicated that they now felt more competent in innovating their organization's services in the future (44%), that their confidence in improving their own practice had grown (33%), that their attitudes towards the use of ICT in career guidance and counselling had changed (28%), that they found solutions for problems or challenges they had been facing (19%) or that they had changed their attitudes towards clients' emotions in counselling (16%). On average, respondents indicated that they had experienced an impact in five ways (SD = 3.1).
Looking at the qualitative and quantitative feedback, participants particularly enjoyed the informal atmosphere of the academy, the networking activities, the keynotes and the training workshops, as well as the extracurricular activities like a tour through Split's old town through our host, a gala dinner and a buffet at the gallery of modern art. Respondents found the program well-balanced, on average, with the main impression being that there could have been more of everything (some people suggested to extend the academy, whereas others preferred the length). We also received a couple of helpful suggestions for improvements, e.g., in the selection of rooms for networking activities.
We are very happy about this positive feedback and hope that we manage to keep up this level of satisfaction in the future and improve the quality of our events even further. We thank all contributors and participants for the lively interactions and the fascinating exchanges, which let us look forward to the next academy in Paris ourselves.