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Finland: Unemployed youths get more attention

| Text: Carlo-Gustav Lindén

Finland’s youth guarantee means young people have become a higher priority within the public sector.

The Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy has reviewed the first year of the youth guarantee programme and found that the public sector is prioritising young people more than before. Regional employment offices have also been given more resources to help young people to find jobs. More young people keep looking for jobs and fewer give up. 

Another important factor is that an outreach programme which has been established nationwide, meaning more struggling young people have been given help.

Although youth unemployment keeps rising, young people do find jobs relatively quickly. In 2012 unemployment lasted for 12 weeks on average, in 2014 it was 14 weeks. This is still a much shorter amount of time than for older jobseekers. 

The youth guarantee is the present government’s most important project aimed at improving employment and education for young people while preventing groups of people falling outside of the system. The youth guarantee was introduced in early 2014 and the Minister of Labour, Lauri Ihalainen, believes the programme should continue when the next government takes office following general elections in April. 

“We should use what we have learned during this parliament to further develop the model. I think it is obvious that the youth guarantee is part of the next government’s programme,” Ihalainen says. 

The review concludes that the youth guarantee should be implemented long term and that young people should be offered more personal coaching. Youth support workers from different areas should also coordinate their work better. 

The service model aims to get everybody into jobs, apprenticeships or education within three months. Finland’s long term youth unemployment is the lowest in the whole of the EU. 

“The youth guarantee model has worked despite the difficult employment situation. The challenging economic situation means we have not been able to achieve our goals for youth employment as quickly as we wanted,” says Ihalainen.

At the same time, the current government has decided to reduce the number of vocational training places and cut in the support for adult education, which could impact negatively on young people’s opportunities. 

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