Effectiveness of youth workshops, and resources and efficiency of outreach youth work

Workshop coaching encouraged 21–24-year-olds and young people with upper secondary education to continue studying and 17–20-year-olds and young people with only basic education to complete their upper secondary education. However, the coaching did not have an impact on employment. Outreach youth work in municipalities is not always related to the service need.

The National Audit Office of Finland examined the results and effectiveness of youth workshops in 2013–2016, and the allocation of the resources and cost efficiency of outreach youth work in 2014–2017. Outreach youth work and youth workshops are tailored activities that aim to help young people facing the risk of social exclusion.

In 2013–2016, particularly 21–24-year-olds and young people with an upper secondary degree started to study for another upper secondary or tertiary degree after their workshop coaching. In addition, 17–20-year-olds and young people without an upper secondary degree completed their upper secondary education more often than the reference group within a year after the coaching period. However, the coaching was not found to have an impact on the employment of the young people. The development of the youth workshops should therefore be continued so that they would more clearly support under 20-year-olds and young people without an upper secondary degree in their studies and in completing their upper secondary education.

Outreach youth work is available in almost all municipalities in Finland, which has also been the target of the funding of the activities. However, the provision of service in municipalities in 2014–2017 has not been directly related to the socio-economic factors representing the service need among young people, e.g. the share of unemployed among the 18–24-year-olds or the share of those not in education or training among the 17–24-year-olds. Nor have these factors had an impact on the costs for organizing outreach youth work. The efficiency of outreach youth work could thus be improved by allocating discretionary government transfers also according to more specific local service need. So far discretionary government transfers have been granted according the number of 15–29-year-olds in the operating area of the Regional State Administrative Agencies and the share of unemployed among them.

According to the Programme of Prime Minister Marin’s Government, the operating conditions and financial resources for outreach youth work and youth workshops will be reinforced within the next few years. In the Government’s project for extending the compulsory education, youth workshops will also be one of the study and support forms included in compulsory education. Youth workshops and outreach youth work are funded with about EUR 26 million per year in discretionary government transfers.