Feasibility study "App-based peer group counseling"

Implementation of app-based peer group counseling

Youth unemployment as well as long-term unemployment or the unemployment of people who are difficult to integrate into the labor market and who have to overcome one or more hurdles on their way back into working life entail far-reaching problems for those affected and for society:
Youth unemployed have been shown to suffer from an increased risk of unemployment, lower salary expectations, and health problems for the rest of their working lives. Especially for young people in the transition from school to work, further innovative solution concepts are needed that do justice to the reality of young people's lives: In particular, a successful transition from school to training is a key factor in combating youth unemployment.
In the case of the long-term unemployed, health restrictions, a lack of or outdated vocational qualifications and other hurdles reduce the chance of successful reintegration into the labor market. It is not uncommon for the long-term unemployed to become frustrated and demotivated after several unsuccessful attempts and training courses. In addition, over time, those affected may also lose confidence in reintegrating into the labor market.

Overcoming these problems and risks presents society with an enormous challenge. This raises the question: Can modern information and communication technologies (ICT) make a positive contribution to this and, if so, how?

The feasibility study "App-based peer group counseling" aimed to find out whether the implementation of app-based peer group counseling in the portfolio of the Federal Employment Agency for the target group of young people and the unemployed under difficult conditions is to be recommended. Within the framework of the feasibility study, a target group-specific approach was developed in each case, based on the peer group idea. Peer groups form when individuals with similar interests, challenges, or goals join together. Members of peer groups can benefit from each other's experiences, develop a common motivation, or experience support that is difficult to find otherwise. In the feasibility study, peer groups were implemented via the messenger app Threema Work. Individuals can thus network with each other regardless of time or location and maintain their anonymity.

Client: Federal Employment Agency

Project period: November 2017 - January 2019


As part of the feasibility study, a new specific approach based on digital peer groups was developed and piloted for the target groups of young people and the target group of unemployed people under difficult conditions.

By means of a field experiment, positive effects of the approaches on both target groups could be determined in the tendency: Among the youth, positive trends were observed in terms of career choice status, search intensity, activity, and attitudes toward career choice. Among the unemployed under more difficult conditions, positive tendencies were measured in terms of willingness to acquire qualifications, digital skills, networking, and interaction with the 1:1 counseling provided by the Federal Employment Agency's mediator. Overall, the app-based peer group counseling thus represents a value-creating and implementable supplement to the usual individual career counseling or job placement.