Youth are socially excluded in Finland – effective help through collaborative action
Up to 69 000 Finnish youth are left out of school or work. Unless there is effective support, they are at risk of social exclusion. Joint action by municipalities, organisations, and businesses is needed to correct the situation.
From the viewpoint of Finnish society youth social exclusion is a serious problem with a heavy financial and human cost. As many as 69 000 young people aged between 15–29 have been left out of school and working life. The Vamos youth service of the Helsinki Deaconess Institute has observed that the risk of youth social exclusion often deepens in adolescence and the support network for young people doesn’t guarantee equal starting points in life for everyone.
According to Vamos Service Area Director Sari Nyberg, some young people are left alone with their problems. In such situations help often arrives too late or is uneven.
“If a young person is out of work or education for long, the problems accumulate and the risk of social exclusion increases. The greater the problems become, the harder – and more expensive – it is to treat them.”
Collaboration is the key
According to Nyberg, young people at risk of social exclusion need versatile and tailored services that begin with needs of the young. Because no single body is able to meet all such needs, services must be produced in partnership with the public, private, and third sectors.
For instance, Vamos has been able to support young people effectively through joint collaboration.
“Young people need personalised support, guidance and coaching that is easily accessible and coordinated by one’s own employees. This will support young people in being sustainably attached to education and working life”, explains Nyberg.
Corresponding preventive and welfare services are often easy targets for making savings. Therefore, Nyberg believes, the need for collaborative measures will be further emphasised.
Similar preventative and welfare services are often easy savings. Therefore Nyberg believes that the need for co-operation will be further emphasized.
“The integration of services in joint collaboration is indispensable. Isolation is not in the interest of society let alone young people. No young person deserves the anxiety and insecurity caused by problems piling up. Especially when young people can be effectively supported. For example, 53% of Vamos’ youngsters are able to attend school or go to work. ”
Sari Nyberg, Vamos Service Area Director
Vamos is a low-threshold activity designed to strengthen young people’s resources and support their involvement in education or work. Vamos operates in six locations: Helsinki, Espoo, Kuopio, Lahti, Oulu, and Turku.