4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people
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In the sixth priority field of the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022, ‘Youth and society and the significance of the youth sector’, one priority subfield was introduced: improvement and enforcement of programmes that encourage and support social inclusion of youth with fewer opportunities. For the years 2020 and 2021, the implementation plan (Izvedbeni načrt) for the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022 for realisation of this subfield has the following eight measures/instruments.
- PUMO—Project Learning for Young Adults project (PUMO—projektno učenje mlajših odraslih). The programme aims to encourage organisations to hire unemployed young people and other job seekers under the age of 26 years or make them return to education, with an increase in the general level of education, under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
- Promoting the employment of long-term unemployed young people (Vključevanje dolgotrajno brezposelnih mladih v programe javnih del). This entails the integration of the long-term unemployed in public works programmes to encourage employment and social inclusion; under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
- Public tender for co-financing of social programmes with subsections (Javni razpis za sofinanciranje socialnovarstvenih programov s podpodročji). These programmes target children and adolescents deprived of a suitable family life; children and adolescents with developmental issues; Roma population with the aim of their social integration. The programmes runs under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
- Consultants for long-term unemployed young people (Svetovalci za dolgotrajno brezposelne mlade). The aim is to strengthen work with the young unemployed and to increase the quality of counselling and empowerment of young people to efficiently manage their own careers; under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
In 2017 the Government of Slovenia published a National programme of Measures for Roma for the period 2017–2021. The programme discusses social security, social integration, protection of children, women and young people and suggests measures to reduce the risk of poverty and increase social inclusion and integration of vulnerable groups such as the Roma population. The goals of the National programme regarding the Roma youth are the following:
- Reduce the risk of poverty and to enhance social integration of socially disadvantaged groups of the population
- Improve the availability and diversity and to ensure accessibility and availability of services and programmes
- Implementation of preventive programmes for the training of professional staff in social work centres on the guidelines and recommendations in cases of minors escaping to harmful environments
- Financing of advisory programmes for the Roma population on so-called early and forced marriages and the consequences of such practices
- Concerted and coordinated action by the competent institutions in the procedures for dealing with cases of cohabitation with minor.
- Promote the improvement of the socio-economic situation of Roma community members by establishing multi-purpose Roma centres, where thematic areas intended for their integration in society and the approximation to the labour market will be implemented.
Other state measures include the following.
- Subsidising tickets: By subsidising travel tickets for school pupils and students, the Ministry of Infrastructure contributes to changing young people’s travel habits in the interests of greater social inclusion. The Ministry allocates €39,800,000 annually for these subventions.
- The School Meals Act (Zakon o šolski prehrani) applies to primary and secondary schools, and to primary schools within institutions for the education of children and youth with special needs. The Act also regulates subsidised school meals. Beneficiaries are entitled to full or partial subsidies, depending on their family’s income or other details (e.g. pupils placed in a foster family; those who are seeking asylum); under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
- ‘Subsidised students meals’(študentska prehrana) is partly financed by the Republic of Slovenia and is intended for students during their study. Slovenia is the only country in Europe with a system of this kind. The purpose of subsidised food is to ensure that every student has at least one hot meal each day, consisting of a subsidised part (currently €2.69) and an additional payment, which every student has to pay. Anyone with student status (full- or part-time and foreign students) is entitled to this benefit under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. For more information, see Rules on Subsidised Student Meals (Pravilnik o subvencioniranju študentske prehrane).
- ‘Government scholarship’ (državna štipendija). The purpose of the government scholarship is to promote education, providing a higher level of education for beneficiaries and creating equal opportunities. The scholarship is intended to cover the costs associated with the educational process; it is awarded to those who fulfil the conditions for average monthly income per family member (i.e. students from poorer families); under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
- ‘Young and entrepreneurial’ (Mladi in podjetni). The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport prepared this programme in 2011 for early school leavers whose personal and social development is under serious threat.
- ‘ZONE - Community programmes for youth’ (CONA - Skupnostni programi za mlade) provides psychosocial support for children, adolescents and their families, who need and seek support and assistance due to the resulting life situations. These children and adolescents from socially and economically disadvantaged families, are struggling with behavioral, emotional and learning difficulties and hardship. At the same time, they feel the need for change. Holder is The Centre for Social Work Ljubljana Moste-Polje, which operates under the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
- ‘Youth center Vič’ (Mladinsko središče Vič) – prevention of social exclusion, integration of socially excluded children, adolescents and their families. Holder is The Centre for Social Work Ljubljana Vič Rudnik, which operates under the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
- The Public Work (Javna dela) programme offers employment to the most vulnerable groups (including youth) for more than one year. However, as the programme does not usually allow for further employment, the problem of (youth) unemployment remains unresolved in the long term. Nevertheless, it does offer an opportunity to acquire (new) work experience and greater social inclusion for young people who are long-term unemployed. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
- Reducing the employment rate gap between women and men was a measure adopted within the National Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2015–2020 to increase the employment rate among women, especially young women with tertiary education and other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups; under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. The Ministry of the Interior, the Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for National Minorities and the Office for Youth are also involved.
- Structured dialogue projects have included Youth dialogue! (2012) and Youth Dialogue 2.0: Including!’ (Dialog mladih 2.0: Vključujemo! 2013-2014) and Youth Dialogue 2.1: Include yourself! (Dialog mladih 2.1: Vklopi se!). The central theme of the third cycle of the structured dialogue (2013–2014) was social inclusion. Structured dialogue is of great importance for the social inclusion of young people and for their social, cultural and civic competences.
- The network of expert institutions to support children with special needs and their families. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport published a public tender to co-finance activities for the establishment of specialist support centres for children and adolescents with special needs. Using new solutions, strategies and working methods, professionals will also provide support to families, kindergartens, schools and other institutions working with children and adolescents with special needs.
- The Implementation Plan for the National Social Assistance Programme 2013–2020 includes a measure involving inter-ministerial coordination to launch the project ‘Transition into the labour market for young people with disabilities’ (Prehod mladih s posebnimi potrebami na trg dela). The aim is to increase the employability of young people with special needs to ensure greater equality with their peers; under the auspices of the Association of Occupational Rehabilitation in Slovenia (Združenje izvajalcev zaposlitvene rehabilitacije v Republiki Sloveniji). The deadline for implementation of the measure is December 31, 2018; activities within the framework of the measure will also be implemented after expiry of the deadline.
- ‘Gostilna dela—vocational training of young people’ (Gostilna dela—poklicno učenje mladih) offers vocational training to vulnerable groups of young people (aged 17–25 without formal education, those with disabilities and those with special needs) who are at risk of long-term unemployment because of the specifics of their situation. Gostilna dela is one of the results of the 'Work factory' (Tovarna dela) project, which provides training for young people at risk of social exclusion. On completing the three-month training period, participants receive a National Vocational Qualifications Certificate.
- Local authority measures include financial assistance; in 2012, 16% of municipalities launched municipal grants for socially disadvantaged young people.
- Youth aid centre (Društvo center za pomoč mladim) – ‘Counselling with the support programmes’ (Svetovalnica za mlade s podpornimi programi), where they tackle problems of young people, associated with school, relationships with loved ones, social exclusion, unemployment, drug abuse, or violence. Counselling is meant for young people in need and takes the form of personal conversations.
The largest proportion of funding comes from the government and municipal sources or from NGOs’ own assets. Projects are financed principally by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth. In some cases, sources of funding for social inclusion activities are dispersed, and little systematic information is available on this matter.
The 2020/2021 Implementation plan funding differs in various segments and the funds for realization are presented below:
- Public tender for co-financing programmes and projects of Roma associations: 2020 and 2021: 20.000,00 EUR annually.
- Public tender for co-financing programmes of federations of associations of members of the Roma community: 2000 and 2021: 193.000,00 EUR annually.
- Public tender for co-financing of social programmes with subsections: 1,000,000 EUR.
- PUM: 2020: 2.152.154,50 EUR, 2021: 2.152.124,48 EUR.
- Promoting the employment of long term unemployed young people: 2020 and 2021: 8,000,000 EUR annually.
- Consultants for long term unemployed young people: 2020: 710.800 EUR, 2021: 710.300 EUR.
Funding of other programmes is as follows.
- Subsidising tickets: The Ministry of Infrastructure allocates €39,800,000 per year for the subventions.
- Youth Dialogue 2.0: Including!’ (Dialog mladih 2.0: Vključujemo! 2013-2014)): The requested amount of funding was €49,648.50.
- Youth Dialogue 2.1: Include yourself! (Dialog mladih 2.1: Vklopi se!): The requested amount of funding was €23,710.
- The ‘Young and entrepreneurial’ (Mladi in podjetni) project was financed by the Ministry of Education and Sport and the European Union (through the European Social Fund).
- The network of expert institutions to support children with special needs and their families: Budget is €4,000.000.
- ‘Transition into the labour market for young people with disabilities’: Funding of €4,200,000 (as confirmed by Decree of the Government) will be provided by the European Social Fund and the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the period 2014–2020. One of the indicators is integration of 420 young people with disabilities annually. For this matter, according to the implementation plan for 2020 / 2021 the funding for 2020 is €1,221,086,20, whereas the funding for 2021 is €906,040,00.
- Between 2009 and 2011, the Gostilna dela project was financed by the European Social Fund and the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The project no longer receives any financial aid.
The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth and other competent supervisory authorities monitor the targeted use of funds acquired through public tender (see Rules on the Implementation of the Act on the Public Interest in Youth Sector, Article 20).
Some measures include monitoring of the numbers of beneficiaries reached (see Implementation plan (Izvedbeni načrt)).
- Public tender for co-financing programmes of organisations of the Roma community: Number of young people involved in the programme of activities of Roma community organisations
- Public tender for co-financing of social programmes with subsections: Number of users
- PUM: Number of young people under 26 years involved in programmes to increase social inclusion within the framework of the measures and active employment policy programmes, by gender; target of 500 per year (1,000 in 2016 and 2017), of which 50% are women
- Rules on subsidised student residence: Number of recipients of housing grants and resources available; occupancy rate of beds in public and private institutions.
An evaluation study of the PUM programme found that 83% of participants regarded their participation in programme as the reason for (positive) changes in their lives. More than 98% of participants described their experience of the PLYA programme as essentially different from formal education.
The Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia issued several research reports on poverty and social exclusion:
- Poverty and social exclusion among families with children - tangible and intangible face of poverty – 2015 (Revščina in socialna izključenost družin z otroki: materialni in nematerialni obraz revščine)
- Assessment of the extent discovered and hidden homelessness in Slovenia (Ocena obsega odkritega in skritega brezdomstva v Sloveniji)
- Poverty and social exclusion of single parent families (Revščina in socialna izključenost enostarševskih družin)
- Monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the National Programme for the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 (Spremljanje in ocenjevanje izvajanja Nacionalnega programa aktivnosti Evropskega leta boja proti revščini in socialni izključenosti 2010)