3.11 Current debates and reforms
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In the Facebook group “Representation of interests of Finnish Youth Sector” administered by the Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi, the plans of the government in relation to Youth Guarantee were commented on by Allianssi on March 9th, 2020. According to that post, the new government is dedicated to continuing the realisation of Youth Guarantee (for more information about the content of Youth Guarantee, see Youth Wiki/ Finland 3.1 General context. The planning operative body is a working group under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, in which Allianssi has a seat. Based on Allianssi’s perspective, the ministries have highlighted the need to concentrate on youth employment issues when it comes to Youth Guarantee. As a representative of the Youth field and a member of the working group, what Allianssi wants to bring into discussion is the need for measures that would formulate a more comprehensive picture of youth well-being.
In Finland, the National Audit Office of Finland (NAOF) audits central government finances, monitors fiscal policy, and oversees political party and election campaign funding. The role and duties of the NAOF are stipulated in the country's Constitution. The NAOF has recently evaluated youth workshops and outreach youth work. The detailed results of this evaluation can be seen in News published by NAOF. (More information about what is meant by ‘youth workshops’ and ‘outreach youth work’ in Finland see Youth Wiki/Finland 4.7 Youth Work fo Foster Social Inclusion). When summarised, the results of the NAOF evaluation are as follows:
- ‘Workshop coaching encourages young people to study but does not promote their employment’
- ‘The efficiency of outreach youth work could be improved by allocating discretionary government transfers, as well as according to regional need.’
NAOF’s recommendations, based on Principal Performance Auditor, Mrs Tanja Kirjavainen, are:
- ‘Youth workshops should be developed so that they would more clearly support under 20-year-olds and young people without an upper secondary degree in their studies and support them in completing their upper secondary education.’
- ‘The efficiency of outreach youth work could be improved by allocating discretionary government transfers also according to local service need.’
In its ‘News’ (in Finnish) on February 20th 2020, the Into – Association for Outreach Youth Work and Workshop Activities (earlier the National Workshop Association) comments on the results of the evaluation. It concurs with the Ministry of Education and Culture’s statement concerning the need to take into account the number of young people in the target group that are finishing their basic education, and that direct employment be clearly stipulated as an unrealistic objective to be achieved during the coaching periods in youth workshops. The association also agrees with the ministry in saying that when choosing the variables for measuring the effectiveness of outreach youth work, estimating the numbers of young people and the study level of the personnel is not enough, as there is an additional necessity to take into account, for example, also the availability of other services in the area as well as the actual needs of the individuals. Both the National Workshop Association and the Ministry were satisfied with the majority of the recommendations that were suggested by NAOF.