Youth support needs have increased during the corona pandemic


Teenagers with a bike.


Concerns about the impact of the corona pandemic on young people are growing, and for good reason. The situation different from during the recent economic crises because when the current emergency began young people were already a highly polarised group in society. Some have fared well while a small number have managed poorly. The impact of the corona year was clearly visible in the activities of the Deaconess Foundation’s Vamos youth service for the most vulnerable young people, as the need for support for youth increased towards the end of 2020.

2020 was a particularly difficult year for young people. Youth unemployment increased, already arranged summer jobs were canceled, the transition of young graduates to the labour market was hampered and students became accustomed to exhausting and self-directed distance learning.

For the past 13 years, Vamos has been providing intensive individual and group coaching and interaction for young people at risk of exclusion. Vamos’ results for 2020 show the impact of the pandemic period by the fact that the number of young people seeking and needing help increased, while the number of those who left the service decreased. It was even harder for young people to get into work and study.

The director of Vamos’ services, Terhi Laine, says: “For 2020, it’s noticeable that transitions to work and education pathways have become more difficult, and youth unemployment has risen sharply. This is also reflected in Vamos’ appraisal, according to which there were fewer people who got into work and education than in the previous year and more new young people.”

Transitions, for instance from school to paid work, have not proceeded as previously , and the numbers of those requiring assistance grew.

Deepening polarisation?

The dichotomous situation of young people seems to worsen with the corona. Indeed, there is a danger that polarisation will deepen as the ongoing health crisis eases.

In 2020, a total of 1 845 young people took part in the Vamos service, which operates in thirteen locations in eleven locations around the country. 1 300 new youth joined and 741 left the service. Some 47 per cent of those who left continued on work and education pathways.Over Vamos’ thirteen years of work, about 13 000 young people have participated in its activities.

Vamos in a nutshell

  • Deaconess Foundation’s service for young people who are not in education and working life.
  • Prevents the exclusion of young people between the ages of 16 and 29 and helps them to integrate into society, education and employment.
  • At Vamos each young person has their personal coach, who has overall responsibility for the young person’s situation and for identifying their individual needs.
  • The service is based on intensive group and personal coaching, as well assembling the services a young person needs.
  • Vamos operates in Espoo, Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Kemi, Kuopio, Lahti, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Siilinjärvi, Tampere, Tornio, Turku and Vantaa.

Further information:

Terhi Laine
director, Deaconess Foundation’s Vamos service, 0400 237 775

Jenni Sarolahti
Communication Manager, Diaconia and social responsibility, 050 372 0828

Read more about Deaconess Foundation
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