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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth Work

Last update: 28 November 2023

In Finland, youth work holds a strong statutory position, which is quite a rarity when compared to other European nations. The role of youth work is not restricted to only offering targeted forms of youth work such as outreach youth work, youth workshops or peer support groups (see Youth Wiki/Finland 4.7 Youth work to foster social inclusion), but rather, it also offers youth work services to everyone in supporting their wellbeing and in having a good life in general. As in formal education, the responsibility of how to organise the services within non-formal learning processes is given to local-level municipalities. The civic society — the non-governmental youth and youth work organisations both at the national and local levels — plays a very active role as well.

Youth work for all operates both through open access services in free-time facilities (buildings), in mobile spaces (such youth work vans) and in web spaces (self-service use of databases or receiving support from youth workers or/and peers), as a part of multi-sectoral services (one-stop guidance centres) as well as outdoors situated outside a school area, or on school premises after school hours or during the school day, in which case it is considered as ’school youth work’, see more what Finnish youth work is in Youth Wiki/Finland 10.1 General context. 

Most of the youth work and youth activities are organised in the evenings, on weekends and during the school holiday. They are arranged by municipalities, non-governmental youth and youth work associations, national youth centres and parishes, and these are based on the funding regulations such those in the Youth Act, while young people themselves need to have an active role in planning, realising and evaluating these activities. Recently, there has been more and more attention given to making youth work services more accessible. One reason for that is the Non-Discrimination Act, which obligates the municipalities to organise, for example, an equality mapping in order to develop the accessibility of the services (see more about participative youth work and quality assurance in Youth Wiki/Finland 10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work).