BEST Institute for vocational training and personal training GmbH

Appearance Matters

Optimising the outcomes for vocational guidance counselling and vocational training


Social interest in “looks” has a long history. Until recently, this interest has been considered largely benign; however, a critical body of evidence now charts the extensive and damaging impacts of dissatisfaction with appearance on physical and psychological health. The negative consequences for young people and adults in key areas of living including social, educational and vocational functioning are now evident. In addition, one in five people has a disfigurement from congenital defects, disease (e.g. acne), trauma (e.g. burns) or medical treatment (e.g. tumour excision). For many, this ‘difference’ negatively impacts self-esteem and social functioning (Rumsey & Harcourt, 2010). Individuals with disfigurement encounter stigma and are discriminated against in educational and vocational situations.

If service providers have limited understanding of factors contributing to appearance, related distress and of the consequences of this, they are less able to provide the appropriate guidance or vocational training and optimise outcomes for the participants.

Aims and target groups

The objective of this project is to deliver guidance and learning opportunities to individuals with disfigurement and/or appearance dissatisfaction in vocational guidance and training by guidance counsellors and/or vocational teachers who have been made aware of the respective aspects and approaches to use.


The project will produce new guidance tools and methods as

  • Good PracticeGuide – working with individuals with disfigurement and/or appearance concerns in vocational training and guidance
  • Curriculum and supporting materials

drawn from a range of disciplines and supported by other materials available to guidance counsellors, such as web based resources, articles, case studies and reports of relevant research.

EU-Program: Leonardo da Vinci Multilateral Project
Coordination: University West of England (UK)
Contact: Karin Kronika
Duration: October 2012 – September 2014

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.