Youth Prop-Up Programme Description

Youth Prop-Up (Noorte Tugila) is an action plan implemented in Estonia and targeting young people aged 15 to 26 years who are not currently engaged in any kind of academic study or employment. The Youth Prop-Up action plan has been developed for the period 2015–2018 by the Association of Estonian Open Youth Centres (Estonian OYC) with the aim of providing support to approximately 8,800 youths aged 15 to 26 years and not engaged in academic study or employment in this period.

Youth Prop-Up is a part of the wider Estonian Youth Guarantee National Action Plan initiated by the European Union with the aim of aiding youths who have lost employment or left school to return to being a productive member of the society as soon as possible. The implementation of Youth Prop-Up activities is funded under the ‘Inclusion of youth at risk of social exclusion and improvement of youth employability’ programme, approved by the Minister of Education and Research and co-financed by the European Social Fund.

The Youth Guarantee is a commitment by all Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of:

  • employment;
  • continued education;
  • apprenticeship, or
  • traineeship

within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.[1]

Look last report about Youth Prop-Up programme. 

Short presentation about Youth Prop-Up programme. 

Part I- What is Youth Prop-Up?

Youth Prop-Up is an action plan implemented in Estonia and targeting young people aged 15 to 26 years who are not currently engaged in any kind of academic study or employment. The Youth Prop-Up action plan has been developed for the period 2015–2018 by the Association of Estonian Open Youth Centres (Estonian OYC) with the aim of providing support to approximately 8,800 youths aged 15 to 26 years and not engaged in academic study or employment in this period.

Youth Prop-Up is a part of the wider Estonian Youth Guarantee National Action Plan initiated by the European Union with the aim of aiding youths who have lost employment or left school to return to being a productive member of the society as soon as possible. The implementation of Youth Prop-Up activities is funded under the ‘Inclusion of youth at risk of social exclusion and improvement of youth employability’ programme, approved by the Minister of Education and Research and co-financed by the European Social Fund.

The Youth Guarantee is a commitment by all Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of:

  • employment;
  • continued education;
  • apprenticeship, or
  • traineeship

within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.[1]

Not all young people in Estonia possess equal possibilities for diversified development and collaborative activities. It is necessary to pay continuous attention to the obstacles the youths are facing and make more use of youth work and youth policy capacities for removing these. [2]

Unequal opportunities are a significant risk factor in the development of the status of NEET youths. The European Commission report on related studies and literature points out that a third of youths in the European Union are at a risk of social exclusion. A significant number of young people experience obstacles in ensuring their fundamental rights and planning their future. The main factors for social exclusion are social inequality, including barriers to access to quality education and training, limited availability of sufficient and suitable jobs, discriminating attitudes and conventions, as well as possible exclusion based on the place of residence or citizenship.[3]

The reduced possibilities of youths to improve unequal (economic, geographic, social, cultural, linguistic, health-related, etc.) circumstances makes it necessary to increasingly implement the possibilities of the youth field for the prevention of social exclusion, more conscious engagement of youths at the risk of exclusion, and more efficient support of youths already facing difficulties.

The empowerment and support of youths is important not only from the point of view of the personal fulfilment and employment of the young person but also for ensuring the sustainability of the society as a whole.

Studies indicate that early school drop-out results in low employment, lower income, detrimental health effects, reduced willingness to take risks, and general dissatisfaction with life. Education has a significant effect on the capacity and motivation of the young population to exercise their political rights and actively participate in social life. Poverty and insecure employment relationships, as well as low income affect the economic insecurity of young people, housing problems, quality of education and training, cultural and leisure activities, health, and professional assistance in the case of emotional difficulties. Being out of education and work for an extended period of time leads to the long-term social and political marginalisation of young people, strengthening the feeling of dependence,
powerlessness, and distress.[4]

The efficient prevention and reduction of the risk of exclusion in a large fraction of youths requires the reduction of circumstances leading to social inequality. Past youth work experience shows that this is achievable. Making positive changes in young people’s lives requires targeted and holistic political measures. The promotion of educational and training opportunities, creation of specific opportunities for integration in working life, and devising activities reaching excluded groups of youths constitute a powerful mechanism of social inclusion.[5]

In Estonia, measures supporting working life under the Youth Guarantee programme are being developed by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, while educational institutions are developing measures facilitating diversified and flexible educational activities. The role of Youth Prop-Up is to implement youth work measures and carry out activities to facilitate reaching youths from the target group, inviting them to participate in civil society activities, helping them find motivation, and providing support in the choices they have made. The activities of Youth Prop-Up focus on the empowerment of young people and providing youths with important information and support in managing their own lives.

[1] European Commission. Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion.  /6 February 2017/

[2] Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020. Ministry of Education and Research.

[3] Youth Social Exclusion and Lessons from Youth Work. European Commission. ECAS.  /6 February 2017/

[4] Youth Social Exclusion and Lessons from Youth Work. European Commission. ECAS.  /6 February 2017/

[5] Ibid.

Part II- NEET-youths as a problem and a target group

According to a Eurofound analysis (2012), in 2011, the European Union was home to 7.5 million youths aged 15–24 years and 6.5 million youths aged 25–29 years who were not in education, employment, or training, respectively, 12.9% and 19.8% of all youths of the corresponding age group. In Estonia, NEET youths made up 14.9% of the 15–29 age group in 2011. In the younger age group (aged 15–24), the corresponding figure was 11.8% and in the older group (aged 25–29), 20.2%. The percentage of NEET youths in Estonia has fluctuated greatly over the past ten years, as changes in the economic environment have significantly affected the employment possibilities and labour market behaviour of young people.[1]

Based on the Youth Field Development Plan 2020, the action plan developed for the implementation of the European Youth Guarantee, the analyses of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee published by the European Commission, and the changes in the status of Estonian youths over the years and the goals established by Estonia, special attention must be paid to negative trends, such as increasing youth emigration, high unemployment among youths 15–19 years of age, the number of NEET youths, high relative poverty, and problematic health behaviour, especially risk behaviour among young adult males. The focus on these trends mainly means focusing on their causes, the prevention of possible consequences, and the mitigation of their undesired effects. Attention must also be paid to ensuring the continuation of positive trends.

[1] Kasearu, K. Trumm, A. (2015). NEET – Noored, kellega keegi ei arvesta ja kes kuskil ei käi. Noorteseire Eestis. Praxis. ENTK. Poliitikaülevaade 3/2015

The main focus of Youth Prop-Up is on more vulnerable youths excluded from the educational system and the labour market. In order to bring them back to the community and the civil society, the primary focus will be on the identification and motivation of NEET youths and youths at the risk of social exclusion through outreach youth work and local network intervention in order to encourage the youths to acquire knowledge and skills or enter the labour market. Youth Prop-Up will not reject any young people qualifying as NEET youths. All youths will be engaged in the programme independent of the criteria. Equal treatment characteristic to open youth work will be employed.

It is extremely important to both handle existing NEET youths, as well as prevent the appearance of new NEET youths based on the experiences of the former by helping young people discover their talents at an early age and support youths in their self-determination and personal fulfilment through the development of these talents. The methods used by Youth Prop-Up will ensure that the young person will come to, for example, perceive the youth worker (specialist working with youths) as an opportunity, rather than a problem.

Taking into account the risk factors for the status of NEET youths, including education, immigration, special needs, divorced parents, unemployed parents, limited financial resources, place of residence, Youth Prop-Up has prepared for the fact that the work of the organisation will largely involve youths lacking domestic support and living away from large urban centres providing school and employment opportunities, and the main consideration is always finding educational opportunities that enable ensuring more successful labour market mobility.

NEET youths benefiting from the service may form groups with similar obstacles. In this case, group activities will be carried out that can be held either within a single service area or in collaboration between several service areas.

[1] Kasearu, K. Trumm, A. (2015). NEET – Noored, kellega keegi ei arvesta ja kes kuskil ei käi. Noorteseire Eestis. Praxis. ENTK. Poliitikaülevaade 3/2015

Part III- Empowerment

For many people, adolescence is a development period posing many challenges. Young people mainly experience numerous psychological risk factors, such as low self-esteem, despair, traumas, negative peer groups that can lead to antisocial behaviour, such as drug use, violence, crime, early sex life. Adolescence provides dynamic opportunities for development, increasing the strengths of young people and thus increasing the possibility of positive outputs. Interventions increasing protective factors in the attitudes, skills, and relationships of youths can have far-reaching effects on the capacity of the young person to overcome failures and carve out a successful transition to adult life.[1]

Empowerment is a process providing opportunities to increase capacities and confidence, learn and practise skills, as well as make important decisions. The process of empowerment enables the youths to develop cognitive and behavioural skills important for comprehending the surrounding social environment and for maturing into independent problem-solvers and decision-makers.[2]

The focus of Youth Prop-Up is on the empowerment of young people. The programme promoters understand that a young person is not a subject of youth work or social work. They have their own lives and youth work must be crafted around this. The programme is centred around understanding the different factors surrounding the young person. Before youth workers begin supporting the youth in the decision-making process, finding their own path in life, they must collaborate in identifying the key factors in the young person’s life. Which ones of these constitute significant obstacles and which ones are opportunities. The world of the young person depends on the conditions of their life, including both material and immaterial circumstances, such as employment status, access to material resources, living conditions, social environment, personal physical status. Youth work methods and counselling methods (MI, coaching) will be utilised for helping the young person find internal motivation for changes, identify available resources and solutions.

The youth worker must have a connection to the young person’s reality. This will help them see and perceive the world as a young person and provide them with suitable challenges and developing experiences. The youth worker must be able to understand the life-world and state of mind of the young person, and successfully utilise this knowledge. The task of the youth worker is to help young people find a balance between the safety and panic zone, and establish the correct learning rate for them. The youth worker should encourage curiosity in the young person, but also watch out for dangers related to excessive risk-taking, and help everyone find a suitable learning method.

In the course of the implementation of the programme, packages of opportunities provided in the course and as a result of youth support activities (individual coaching for the inclusion and motivation of the young person) will be prepared in collaboration with regional parties, taking into consideration the necessity of providing activities with different time spans.

[1] Morton, M. H., Montgomery, P. (2013). Youth Empowerment Programs for Improving Adolescents’ Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem: A Systematic Review. Research on Social Work Practice, No 23.

[2] Zimmermann, M. A. (2000). Empowerment theory: Psychological organizational and community levels of analysis. In J.Rappaport & E.Seldman (Eds.), Handbook of community psychology. New York: Plenum.

Part IV- Youth work as a field of youth support

Youth Prop-Up employs youth work methods in the programme activities. On the one hand, it is a youth-focused approach to the support process, on the other hand, it encompasses the creation of diverse opportunities for the young person, supporting their flexibility, and valuing non-formal education as a pillar of youth development. Youth workers are expected to contribute more to the development of the young person’s skills and knowledge in order to ensure their success in the contracting labour market. This cannot be reduced to the aim of teaching; the aim is rather to help the young people themselves understand and evaluate their situation, and the youth workers to support them in this process.

In the implementation of the programme, the Estonian OYC follows the principle that youth work is based on volunteer activities and the main focus is on creating interest in and empowering the youths, rather than forcing them to take part in activities. In the case of more problematic youths where lack of will is not the only obstacle but is accompanied by more complex problems, the young person will be supported in gaining access to services provided by other institutions that help them overcome these obstacles. The role of the youth worker is to assist them in participating in this special support programme.

On the one hand, youth workers must educate young people in order to help them adjust to the adult society. On the other hand, they must call into question the social conditions making integration possible, as well as the resources the youths have access to and can use. Youth work is thus simultaneously a transition zone between young people and the society, focusing on integration into established social order, and a social forum, highlighting problems in collaboration with the youths and calling into question the way that the established social order provides resources to some young people while rejecting others. In this sense, youth work is both an instrument of social education (it socialises young people, teaching them to behave in a socially acceptable manner and enabling them to strive to become active and social citizens), and a practice of social education (the foundation and place for calling into question and discussing the continuous transformation of social issues into pedagogical matters and vice versa). The strength of youth work as such derives from the fact that it can create a free space for young people characterised by safety, sense of belonging, sense of connection, art of conversation, challenge, friendship and relationships, opportunities and experiences. Youth workers also craft environments where young people have an opportunity to learn. This does not necessarily involve acquiring some measurable proficiency, skill or competency that the youths are expected to possess, at least not as the most important outcome. Non-formal learning processes focus more on the development of the identity of the youths, analysing their situation, and defining their needs.[1]

Whereas previously, youth centres have primarily focused on informing young people of their opportunities through youth information activities, Youth Prop-Up is not a passive information exchange initiative but a specific counselling and support measure for target group youths. Through the implementation of the youth counselling service for youth centres, Youth Prop-Up enables developing methods already in use today to bring them in line with young people’s needs.

The focus of the support activities is on the local level, i.e. as close as possible to the young person and their everyday environment. Youth Prop-Up centres are located all over Estonia. The country is divided into regions, each of which covers several local authorities. In 2015–2018, the programme is carried out by 45 youth centres, each of which has the facilities to support up to 30 participants each month. The overall aim of the programme is to ensure that at least 53 to 70 individuals receive advice and support through Youth Prop-Up at each centre each year.

Youth workers possess and they will be trained in skills enabling them to work independently to find solutions for youths who are generally unemployed, uneducated, unoccupied/non-engaged, youths looking for opportunities themselves. In the case of such youths, it is important for the youth worker to focus on the interests and needs of the young person and make use of these for finding suitable opportunities in education or the labour market.

Like social workers employed by local authorities, youth workers working under the Youth Prop-Up programme are caring case managers who need freedom in their work to be able to creatively support people.

Working with people means assisting people in need, and this can only be done well by following a personal approach and exercising creativity. Systems can hinder creativity. The role of the specialist is to value and take care of the growth and development of the client. By seeking to do their job well, the specialist will integrate their values into the job and attempt to find the meaning and significance of their profession. A specialist is like a barefoot helper in their work. A barefoot helper in the sense that they must walk softly when doing their job without leaving any traces in the client’s life, and be able to assist the client in such a way that the help-seeker will make their choices themselves, supported by the specialist’s guidance.[2]

Youth workers are prepared for work with youths living in significantly difficult conditions, but in their case, not all obstacles may be solvable by using the means of youth work. The focus is on those NEET youths who are experiencing barriers to gaining access to working life or education. Young people not in employment or education through their own free will are not a priority for the programme, although we still maintain contact with them, collect information on them and are prepared to help them when the circumstances change and they develop an interest. The role of the youth worker includes cultivating interest in changing one’s status.

The support programme is founded on the principles of social pedagogy that support activities involving children and youths in the youth work environment in a manner assuring their well-being, freedom and joy in common activities. The social pedagogical approach is centred on relationships; as a result, it emphasises listening and self-expression, as well as team work and supportive networks in the young person’s life-world, and the creativity of the child/youth.[3]

For this reason, the support activities of Youth Prop-Up are designed to be feasible and interesting to youths, to develop their creativity and emphasise their strengths; thorough and sustainable work alongside youth work specialists within the respective network, and with training and mentoring through theoretical learning, practical examples, and self-assessment. The focus is on the participant in the present moment, their interests and desires. The activities revolve around the skills that children and youths wish to develop. They can take an active part in designing their activities.

[1] Coussee, F., Williamson, H. (2011). Youth worker, probably the most difficult job in the world. Children Australia, Vol. 36, No. 4.

[2] Hamer, M. (2006). The Barefoot Helper. Russell House Publishing.

[3] Petrie, P., 2005. Schools and support staff: applying the European pedagogic model. Support of Learning, vol. 20, no. 4.

Part V-Youth Prop-Up activities

One of the objectives of the programme is to analyse the life-world of the youths to determine how they perceive the community they live in or the environment they act in on a daily basis. The life-world centred approach focuses first and foremost on the youth as an independent individual with distinctive experiences, requirements and desires. The young person’s identity is constructed through the means of their life-world. The young person must define who they are for themselves and who they are among others. In a social-area-centred life-world, the young person’s individual self-consciousness and development intersect with the social context and its effects. Proximate social area is an important living and learning space.[1]

According to the Eichsteller and Holthoff diamond model, a person is like an uncut diamond developing into an individual diamond in the course of their upbringing in the surrounding ‘social’ space – a happy and full citizen of the society. At the same time, the person is attuned to their environment in such a manner that they learn from everything, i.e. they learn to learn and take an active stance towards everything directly and indirectly related to them – learning and development takes place through experiences, and what has truly struck them will develop them the most.[2]

From the above, it can be stated that in order to work with young people and use methods for supporting them, we must first get to know their world and their requirements and desires that can then be developed into action strategies. Otherwise, the power of grown-ups over youths would still prevail and the methods practised would not ensure the expected effect, as there would be a lack of motivation in the youths for effecting changes and social cohesion between different age and stakeholder groups at an equal level.

Keppeler and Specht state that performing external analyses or social area studies should become a mandatory task for all institutions involved in providing social assistance to young people. A professional social worker will analyse the person’s everyday experience and integrate this into their personal vision of the situation and conditions where the person has to manage with practical problems. Social area analyses can be viewed as an attempt to integrate information about the living conditions prevailing in a certain social area and about the social environment in this social area. They will be brought together in a communication process between the relevant persons (subjects) and social environment experts (providers of social services). Hence, social area analysis must always account for both fields and identify the similarities and differences between information from both fields.[3]

[1] Selg, M. (2012). Lecture from the course ‘Theory of Social Work’. Lecture materials. Institute of Sociology and Social Policy. University of Tartu.

[2] Eichsteller,G.,Holthoff, S. The Art of Being Social Pedagogue Practice Examples of Cultural Change in Children+s Homes in Essex. /16 February 2017/

[3] Keppeler, S.,Specht, W. Social area analysis as a basis of Mobile Youth Work. Community work. www.mitteformaalne.ee

Part VI- Activity map

Regional activity maps will be drawn up for work with youths based on both regional possibilities and the requirements of the youths. The preparation of the activity map is based on a life-world centred approach, according to which all circumstances are interrelated and affect the young person located at their centre and the person’s experience.

The activity map provides background on the circumstances where the activities take place. It is not a static but a dynamic environment where the young person lives, that affects them, provides opportunities, and lives with the young person. Humans are related to their environment; as a result, their reality is affected by the conditions of this environment.

Life-world based activity maps are used for describing the opportunities of the youth in the centre of the case, and the information found in the activity map enables analysing how circumstances have affected the development of the young person and what kind of improvements should be planned. The activity map gives an overview of material and non-material living conditions, such as employment opportunities, formal and non-formal educational opportunities, activities supporting working life, other various support systems, living conditions, social environment, as well as the characteristic features and peculiarities of the young person in question.

The activity map must be continuously updated when circumstances change, and reviewed for each young person.

The activity map serves two important roles in the planned programme activities:

  • it facilitates sharing, analysing, and learning to know the local context, being aware of the institutions and communication networks operating there; the map is prepared and updated at the beginning of each year of activities.
  • It also facilitates understanding the young person’s life-world, as it is prepared and analysed in cooperation with each participant.

The activity map gives information on the support options provided to the youth by the region (networks, activities, funding, etc.). The preparation of the map takes place in parallel with the training programme for youth workers, and constant counselling is provided.

The activity map enables planning:

  • ways for applying existing resources for supporting the young person;
  • how to ensure initiating and maintaining direct contact with youths from the NEET target group;
  • how to ensure individual counselling and coaching to youths, which includes mapping their expectations and resources (a case file is created in the Logbook system);
  • how to contact different institutions and specialists who may be carrying out measures for supporting the participant in question;
  • how learning trips are organised for presenting working or educational opportunities in the region using group methods;
  • how group counselling is organised in the region;
  • how the analysis of the current state of NEET youth and future activities are planned.

The above is used to determine which types of specialists or support activities are unavailable or insufficiently available in the region. If necessary, the structural unit of the youth centre will be changed and specialists providing additional support services for NEET youths (individual work providers, mobile youth workers, etc.) hired with work load based on demand. Service provision can thus be split between different persons.

Part VII- Phases of Prop-Up activities

The activities of Youth Prop-Up are centred around four phases:

  1. identification of the youths through mobile youth work and networking;
  2. establishing a trusting contact with individuals in order to help them sort out their wishes and ambitions;
  3. empowering/motivating the participants through the possibilities of youth work, in order to assist them in developing their practical knowledge and skills or facilitate their entry into the labour market;
  4. keeping in regular contact with the participants for at least six months after their exit from the programme.

One to six months of active participation in the programme (with individual differences) is envisaged for each participant. All stages are documented in the Youth Centre Logbook – a monitoring system for youth centres enabling the centres to collect daily statistics and document daily activities. The Logbook system was created to enable all youth centres to collect data in a similar manner and thus render the collected data similarly interpretable, resulting in evidence-based statistics. Case files are used for documenting individual work.

Significantly more time resources are spent on youths who are difficult to contact. The possibilities of open youth work, mobile youth work, and networking are used for this. The task of youth workers participating in the programme is to empower youths they are in contact with, and use the means of networking to guide them to a specialist that can assist them in overcoming any obstacles. The operation of the entire network is extremely important here, and the results of this work do not only depend on efforts related to youth work, the particular programme, or other supporting factors. The situation of the youth can be influenced by a number of extremely different factors which may lead to a situation where the young person actually needs some sort of treatment, consideration of their special needs, social services, etc.

One of the target groups that can be encountered but cannot be given much support under this programme is youths working unofficially. They are officially reported as non-employed, yet still go to work. This falls into the sphere of competence of the Tax and Customs Board; the Youth Prop-Up programme can provide support here by explaining the importance of official employment to youths entering the labour market.

Youth Prop-Up activities and their average monthly volume:

  • mapping of regional opportunities and collaboration partners, updating and communication of information, 5%;
  • networking for identifying the youths and planning activities, 5%;
  • mobile youth work, other opportunities for contacting and finding young people, 25%;
  • individual coaching, 25%;
  • group counselling, 5%;
  • support and development of the contact between the youth and institutions, 20%;
  • joint activities and supervision targeted to groups, 15%;
  • analysis and planning, 5%.

Part VIII- Mobile Youth Work

The concept of mobile youth work is divided into four interrelated areas: individual aid, street work, group work, and community work. Mobile youth work is characterised by the way that all these four areas are intertwined.[1]

The concept of Youth Prop-Up also combines both group and community work, as well as individual work. The goal of street work is, first and foremost, finding the youths and establishing contact with them, as well as carrying out activities outside youth work institutions.

The importance of outreach youth work for the youths derives from:

  • the possibility of establishing safe, confidential, and non-binding contact in order to map one’s opportunities;
  • receiving answers about various services;
  • other support activities (only if sought by the youth themselves).

The application of mobile youth work is coordinated by the Association of Estonian Open Youth Centres and focuses on four areas of activity: street work or outreach youth work, work on the Internet, the provision of youth work services in other regions, and the provision of youth work services at youth hangouts. The key concept here is youth workers taking their activities where the youths are, instead of expecting all youths to find them at youth centres.[2]

Support activities include establishing contact, motivating participation, informing youths of their opportunities, mapping obstacles to entering working life or education, support in overcoming existing obstacles, and directing youths to services they need. These support activities ensure establishing contact with NEET youths, their motivation to participate, informing youths of opportunities, and mapping obstacles to entering working life or education, and support in overcoming these obstacles, including the direction of youths to services they need. Different methods of reaching NEET youths have different levels of efficiency in rural and urban communities.

Monitored performance indicators include establishing and maintaining direct contact with a youth from the target group; the participation of the youth in services provided under the project; general engagement of the youth in the activities of the youth centre. The provision of mobile youth work in the regions implementing the project is key to achieving results.

[1] Korp, E., Specht, W. (2007). Mobiilse noorsootöö kontseptsioon. Tallinn Children’s Safe Centre. Tallinn.

[2] Uued lõiked noorsootöös.(2016). Eesti ANK. ENTK.

Part IX- Group activities

Group activities can include a number of activities improving social skills, including various teamwork and simulation activities, rehearsals of job interviews, presentations, etc., trips, meetings with employers and entrepreneurs, participation in events supporting working life and educational life. All these activities are a part of youth work.

Some support activities for youths can be carried out by not only as a means for finding individual solutions but also as a group, whenever a group of youths with similar interests or requirements (interest, problem, or solution-based) emerges in the region, such as young mothers, youths interested in entrepreneurship, family problems, etc. Such activities would not copy groups already existing in the region. Solutions will be found for enabling the youth to participate in these or, in case the needed activity is not provided in the region, the consciousness and willingness to initiate them will always exist.

Support activities will be found by using the activity map for the area, beginning with a review of all opportunities related to youth work.

Part X- Networking

Networking means collaboration between different parties which include the social network of the person requiring aid / providing aid and the network of officials. Even if the person requiring aid is not conscious of their own problem, they can still be assisted. The purpose of the network is to solve the everyday problems of the person requiring aid. A network is made up of connecting and defining relationships between certain people or groups of people. A network presumes some kind of relations and communication. Networking is seen as an opportunity for fruitful cooperation in order to better share information and enable the person requiring aid to solve their problems less painfully.[1]

Consciously formed networks create synergy between the representatives of different sectors, facilitating the formulation of a more comprehensive solution. Hence, strictly following the boundaries of a single discipline or sector can often hinder innovative thought and the selection of alternative solutions. As a result, interdisciplinary networks are often more fruitful. Based on the Social Welfare Act, networking can be viewed at different levels: work carried out at the level of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the county and the local government, and by legal persons voluntarily participating in the provision of welfare.[2]

Based on their presumed effect, networks can be divided into those empowering the person for dealing with everyday issues and those making a professional organisation stronger in preventive work and problem-solving.[3]

Several institutional support systems have been founded in Estonia (Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, Rajaleidja career counselling centres, specialists in schools, etc.), but the limited institutional cohesion of NEET youths must be accounted for in youth work, as a result of which the activities provided under the programme play the role of support measures between the youths and institutions. Youths living in the most difficult circumstances will be provided individual opportunities in order to facilitate their access to suitable and necessary institutions. Mapping and designation of support services will take place within two weeks at the latest. Primary activities provided will be manageable for the youth. They involve mutually binding cooperation where the young person will make choices themselves and thus also take responsibility for these. In regions where the network surrounding the youth is not stable or does not exist, it will have to be founded with the help of the youth worker. Youths graduating from the additional support programme will be motivated to continue participating in youth work (as a part of the programme), which is done in collaboration with other community youth work institutions (hobby schools, youth associations, etc.), as well as other service providers (welfare services, etc.). The goal is to help a NEET youth or a youth at the risk of exclusion to reinstate themselves as an active or law-abiding member of the society. For this purpose, it is important to continuously ensure that the everyday activities of the youth centres correspond to the expectations of the youths of the area in question.

Preventive work is a key factor in networking, enabling to prevent the appearance of NEET youths. Community information activities (communication plan and possibilities of mobile youth work) will promote the awareness of the society of the needs of NEET youths and their engagement in community activities in order to improve their ‘visibility’ and participation opportunities.

[1] Lastekaitsetöö kohalikus omavalitsuses.(2004). Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. National Institute for Health Development.

[2] Juhtumikorralduse käsiraamat. (2006). Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. University of Tartu, Pärnu College.

[3] Ibid.

Part XI-Individual approach

Case management is a process for coordinating services based on the individual requirements of the client helping to ensure each client access to timely and sufficient aid.[1]

In essence, the Youth Prop-Up programme is a form of case management with a specific target group, NEET youths. The focus of the activities is on the young person and their circumstances.

Case management is, in essence, a process for service provision and coordination for the purpose of providing the client individualised aid that would result in more efficient resource use. Case management can serve the interests of a broad range of client groups, and professionals from very different fields can fulfil the role of the case manager. As a method, case management is used in institutions providing various services in the public sector and the third sector, as well as the private sector. Case management is inseparable from the praxis of empowering social work. The aim of the work of the case manager is to ensure that people are more empowered to deal with their everyday life.[2]

In the process of empowerment and handling the case, the youth worker will use an individual approach. Each young person, each case is unique. Coaching and motivational interviewing methods will be used for uncovering the potential of the youth and identifying their own desires and obstacles.

Using an individual approach will enable empowering the youth strictly based on their own motivation and readiness. Coaching/MI enables the youth to find a path and a solution themselves, while the youth worker acts as a guide and supporter in determining the young person’s own desires.

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a counselling method designed to induce positive changes in people’s behaviour. It teaches to use everyday communication skills in a manner increasing the person’s internal motivation, the ability to make significant changes in one’s life, and to keep these changes alive.[3]

Discussions regarding the process will be carried out with the youths whenever necessary, in order to avoid possible miscommunications or negative emotions. This will be followed by carrying out activities based on a plan. Feeling of success is ensured by starting from small steps and moving on to more wide-ranging plans. This method will ensure that the young person has a desire to move forward. It is important to ensure that solutions are not proposed to the young person by others but they are found based on the young person’s personal world and desires and their readiness.

The work of Youth Prop-Up is related to changes.

Assisting a client means seeking for the most comfortable and suitable road to changes. Changes must take place in a caring and gentle manner in order not to damage everyone’s values and beliefs, the surrounding world. Individual work enables us to help people take the lead. The kind of lead they can take will be identified with the help of the specialist who will find the client’s strongest resources in cooperation with the client, helping them carve a path to their own internal resources. It is important here that no signs of the specialist’s work remain in the client’s life; instead, the client will be left with the knowledge that they could and managed to achieve the positive results by themselves. The specialist is like an artist who must use a lot of creativity in communicating with people. Working with people does not involve a specific predetermined path from point A to point B; all specialists will create their own relationships and methods for working with clients based on their personal skills and creativity. Of course, they will also have acquired knowledge of various means and methods, but using these depends on each person’s individual approach.[4]

[1] Juhtumikorralduse käsiraamat. (2006). Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. University of Tartu, Pärnu College.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Estonian Association of Motivational Interviewing and Training (2017).  /18 February 2017/

[4] Hamer, M. (2006). The Barefoot Helper. Russell House Publishing.

Part XII- Maintaining contact

Maintaining contact is a part of the networking process. It involves cooperation with institutions that have at their disposal the means and possibilities for supporting youths. The principles of Youth Prop-Up allow achieving the solution most suited to the youth by creating and taking into account the young person’s internal motivation.

People actively seeking for employment / continuing education will be assisted in finding a solution through existing structures (youth centre, youth associations, Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, Rajaleidja, educational institutions, etc.) and helping the young person find themselves and choose a place of employment or educational opportunity most closely corresponding to their expectations. The youth worker mainly acts as the outreach person / person proposing solutions / coordinator and a link between different institutions. For instance, in the case of a low level of education, the young person should be ensured the opportunity to continue their education or participate in training / schooling / activities providing experience and knowledge.

If the main obstacle is e.g. limited work experience, the solution can be related to either an existing structure (youth centre, youth association, hobby school, etc.) or guiding / creating new alternative solutions. Youth centres can provide alternatives through existing basic activities, through local providers, or through opportunities specifically tailored for this. This can include finding a support person, direction into hobby activities, finding training opportunities, creating an interest-based work group, etc. Work involving discouraged youths should begin with removing obstacles, including creating interest in self-education, improving one’s status, studying, or working. These youths should be assisted in finding internal courage and noticing their own potential. They key here is to understand the reason why the young person has fallen into NEET status. The youth worker should act here both as an outreach person and the person offering solutions for / coordinating ‘exiting the situation’. No single solution exists for a discouraged youth; an attempt will be made to support them primarily based on their own interests, needs, and possibilities. This part requires additional financial resources. The desire is to involve experts and use various methods, as well as both individual and group-based approaches.

Part XIII- Analysis and planning

The keyword for reaching youths is providing broad-based information about the opportunities available to the target group. It is important to focus on increasing the visibility of the possibilities of the support measure to enable the target group to notice them. In this phase, the broad range of both parties involved and the activities carried out for increasing visibility (flyers, documents, Internet, social media, etc.) is of key importance. One of the most significant activities is the so-called prep-work phase carried out in each region, in which the regional activity map and strategic plan for reaching youths are established. The creation of the activity map will involve all parties that NEET youths will reach one way or another. Thorough preparations for creating the activity map will ensure the provision of high-quality information, etc. As a result, all parties will know their target groups and less effort is required for finding them. All parties share the same information. To reach the youths, the youth worker can then use various activities forming a part of the mobile youth work – establishing contact with the youths on the street and popular hangouts, work in groups, work on the Internet. After establishing primary contact with a youth whether as a result of a meeting, an Internet conversation, or through an intermediary, the specialist can carry on applying an individual approach and choosing the most convenient means for the youth for communication – phone, social media, Skype, meetings, group meetings, etc. Different methods of reaching NEET youths have different levels of efficiency in rural and urban communities.

It is best to base the analyses on processes and experience, not success in following the plan. In real terms, the youth will be continuously monitored for at least 6 months by employing an existing specialist. For the evaluation of the progress of this process, we will use the Logbook system where these data will also be recorded.

Part XIV- Youth Prop-Up specialist

The key factor in the success of the Youth Prop-Up programme is the youth worker and their competence and willingness to work with youths.

The knowledge and skills of a Youth Prop-Up youth worker must correspond to youth worker, level 6 occupational qualification standard.[1] The worker must possess the knowledge and/or experience for organising the work of Youth Prop-Up, intermediating youth information, counselling youths, networking, communication with the public, developing a safe environment, developing the youth field, self-development. Knowledge of youth work methods for establishing and maintaining contact with youths and organising activities fitting into the world of the youths is extremely important in working with NEET youths.

[1] Occupational qualification standard. Estonian Qualifications Authority.  /13 April 2017/

Part XV- Preparation and programme for Prop-Up specialists

The work and personal development of a Youth Prop-Up specialist must be supported by the institution they are working for. In addition, joint trainings must be organised in order to develop a common knowledge and information space and a joint network. The required focus subjects for the Youth Prop-Up training programme are:

– ME MYSELF: resources, skills, attitudes, self-efficacy; I, a creator of change;

– ENGAGEMENT OF YOUTHS: the concept of youths, methods, supporting and encouraging youths;

– COOPERATION WITH COLLEAGUES: involvement of the network;

– PRACTICE: actual work and making the results of your work visible.[1]

The contents of the training course based on the focus subjects listed above and previous training experience, supported by the feedback of lead instructor P. Jeedas[2] are as follows:

Engaging NEET youths

The learning outcome is the ability to create a productive contact / trusting relationship with youths. Motivational interviewing, contact creation, the process of reaching a NEET youth. An inseparable part of engaging youths is proposing activities in collaboration with the youth. The training course provides an introduction to the tools that can aid in this (e.g. interviewing the youth, creation of an educational experience, persona, etc.).

II Instructing NEET youths

The emphasis is on specific skills in employing various tools, such as MI, GROW conversation. Three-day MI training as a part of the complete programme.

III I, the support person for youths / initiator of change

The focus is on the self-analysis ability of the practitioner and a conscious approach to the analysis of one’s own work, resources, and development needs. The training provides an overview of various theories that support the practitioner’s self-valuing approach to their job.

IV I, the engager, network member

Good collaboration with other members of the network is vital for the support persons of NEET youths. The engagement lab creates a 2-day co-learning space to provide the participants with various methods for the involvement of network members. The lab provides a unique opportunity of inviting your partners to participate in the programme. Participating in the training alongside a network member provides a better understanding of the value of the Youth Prop-Up programme and thus also your own role as a member of the network.

V Intermediation of youth information

Intermediation of youth information is an important resource for youth work and is one of the tools of a Youth Prop-Up specialist. Hence, knowledge of youth information intermediation is extremely important. The organisation of youth information trainings or ensuring the participation of the specialist in youth information training must be a part of supporting the specialist’s work.[1] Jeedas, P. (2017). Youth Prop-Up development programme for instructors of NEET youths, October 2015 – May 2016. SA Archimedes.

[2] Ibid.

Part XVI- Support activities for practitioners

The specialist’s well-being and safety are important for the work of Youth Prop-Up.

If specialists are afraid of and feel pressure related to the expected results of working with clients, they will, in turn, exert pressure on the client to ensure the expected results. The client, however, will not feel free under pressure and they will become hostile to what the specialist provides. Employee burn-out can also result from fear and pressure, such as pressure resulting from the treatment of the case and the work done by the media. The specialist will not feel safe and secure, and this feeling will also cause fear, resulting in burn-out. To exit the vicious circle described above, the specialist must first empower themselves to achieve a feeling of balance and cohesion with the surrounding environment.[1]

The programme includes supplementary activities for supporting the work of the specialists.

A key part of the NEET youth support measure is:

  1. Support for instructors provided by Estonian OYC – this involves the provision of support to specialists working with youths in order to prevent work-related stress and burn-out. The activities provided include work counselling and discussion and resolution of cases at the level of the youth centre, at the regional level, and the national level. In the framework of the action plan, we will ensure that specialists working with NEET youths will participate in requisite training activities for increasing their competence. The trainings will be carried out by the Youth Agency of the Archimedes Foundation in cooperation with Estonian OYC.
  2. Support activities necessary for youth workers working with NEET youths (including information days, seminars, occupational counselling, occupational observation programme, case resolution, etc.).
  3. Information activities aimed at both the youths and the public at both the local and national levels, carried out by following the communication plan.
  4. Promotion of activities and methods affecting the situation of NEET youths via seminars and a conference.
  5. Analyses of the background of the youths participating in Youth Prop-Up and the dynamics and results of the service on the example of the Youth Centre Logbook.

To ensure the smooth expansion of the regions and preparatory work, opportunities for work observation are assured for possible new regions who find that the problem in question exists in their region and they require additional information of what is being done (what is effective and what works, including participation in trainings). One part of work observation is an up to one-week work shadowing programme at a nearby centre implementing the NEET youth programme; the other half involves analysing the experience in cooperation with the programme’s youth work specialist, discussing the questions, expectations and doubts that have arisen, preparation for the training programme and the implementation of the Prop-Up programme itself based on this experience.

Centres implementing the programme have been informed of the necessity of storing various audio, photo, and video materials that are important from the perspective of the programme, and collecting feedback from the youths whenever possible. If there are cases in the NEET youth target group where a participant does not wish to disclose their identity or be recorded in audio, photo, or video materials, the person’s wishes should be taken into account.

[1] Hamer, M. (2006). The Barefoot Helper. Russell House Publishing.

Part XVII- Programme monitoring

To ensure the daily monitoring of the programme, Estonian OYC uses an electronic monitoring instrument covering the whole country – the Youth Centre Logbook.

The Logbook is an electronic monitoring system for youth centres established in 2013 and enabling youth centres to collect daily statistics. The Logbook is based on a server storing all the recorded data, making it independent of the capacity of the user’s computer. Personal data of the youth centres are password-protected, while more general information, such as an overview of best practices, is visible to the Association of Estonian Open Youth Centres. The idea of the Logbook is to enable all youth centres to collect data in a similar fashion, thus also making the data similarly interpretable and producing evidence-based statistics as an end result.

The Logbook is user-friendly and is being continuously developed. Each new programme carried out by a youth centre enables creating an additional application. The Logbook system reduces the time spent on administrating everyday work and projects.

Over 100 youth centres all over Estonia use the Logbook for collecting data on unique visits. Open youth work and work with specific groups, such as hobby activities, support groups, projects, youth events, etc. are shown separately. A young person participating in the work of several centres enters each of them by using the same user profile, registering their participation with only a few clicks.

Each youth is provided a personal Logbook user name and they can register their visit themselves when entering the youth centre. This gives all centres an overview of the background of the participating youths – sex, age, region of residence, status (studying, working, not engaged), school they attend, etc. Each centre can collect information based on their requirements. The Logbook enables analysing participations, unique participations, the fulfilment of annual goals, etc.

In 2015, case files were implemented in the Youth Centre Logbook for analysing the Youth Prop-Up service. Case files enable analysing the portraits of the youths participating in the programme (sex, age, region, background, obstacle, desired result and learning needs, duration of the process, chosen activities, cooperation and results), the dynamics of the service (background, duration of the process, chosen activity, results, etc.), and the effect on the challenges faced by the youths and the society.

For Estonian OYC as an organisation, the Logbook is valuable as a means for constantly analysing the current situation and needs of youth centres. Each youth centre using the Logbook system must first fill in a youth centre form providing information about the educational background of the employees, activities provided, cooperation partners, principal financial supporters, and challenges, enabling Estonian OYC to identify the development and fulfilment needs of the youth centres. This kind of up to date and relevant verified information is especially valuable for providing guardianship, but also enables saving time on processing various information.

Logbook case files

This instrument is a tool for youth workers that enables recording information about persons connected to the monitoring system. Each row in the database is a record consisting of fields (characteristics) describing the given ‘case’ (person).

The case file is the participant’s personal file, recorded and used based on the logic that the young person can find a solution themselves through considering their strengths, and it is meant to simplify working with youths, evaluating the characteristics of the region, and analysing the profiles of the youths finding their way to the service and the effects of the activities/services performed to facilitate better organisation of the service.

Performance indicators in reports are also monitored based on Logbook case files. We make sure that individual instruction, including coaching, is ensured for the youth, resulting in mapping the participant’s expectations and resources and implementing personal action plans, and that contact is established with various institutions and individuals who can possess measures suitable for supporting the young person in question.

Technical data

  1. The data recorded in the system are longitudinal – information regarding a particular person is recorded and entered at different moments in time. This enables monitoring the dynamics of the process, as well as the results and effects of interventions/activities.
  2. The electronic case file of a particular participant is visible to those working with this young person.
  3. The guiding principles of the programme allow not filling in certain fields in the Logbook case file. Data recorded in the system only include data that the young person in question has permitted recording and that can be verified.
  4. We also monitor the compliance of the data entered into the system with existing legislation (personal data)

Look last report about Youth Prop-Up programme.

The principles of filling in a Logbook case file

 

Phase 1 – outreach youth work and informing of / finding / establishing contact with youths

This phase is reflected in the section of Youth Centre Logbook describing activities (networking, mobile youth work, youth events, etc.).

Phase 2 – the phase of choices and decisions

Called the individual coaching phase in the Logbook. From here on, the youth is referred to as an indicator. A Logbook case file is opened for the youth, including information about their profile – sex, age range, region, background (education, work experience, family, special needs), current obstacles (focal problem), how the youth was reached, the planned goal (long-term goal and the life skills requiring support which the programme is supposed to provide), as well as a time schedule. The case file only includes information that the youth agrees to disclose and that can be verified if needed (educational institution, etc.).

This phase tells us how many of the youths have been kept in contact with to ensure support to the youth and directing the youth to an appropriate party (including the activities of the youth centre itself) who can empower the youth for the future.

If the young person finds a suitable activity from the selection, they are directed to Phase 3, in which the preparation, conducting, etc. of the respective activity begins.

Phase 3 – the phase of conducting the support activity, i.e. the chosen programme

In the Logbook, this phase is referred to as Supporting and development of the contact between the youth and an institution or a group activity or group counselling. The phase begins by entry into trilateral agreements (the youth, the Open Youth Centre, and the party representing the chosen activity). The selected activity, the parties, and the required resources are recorded in the case file.

This provides the number of the youths who have entered, completed, or dropped out of the programme.

Between Phases 3 and 4

Referred to as the follow-up phase in the Logbook. Provides the number of unique youths who have exited the programme within the last 6 months.

Phase 4 – the follow-up / monitoring phase

Referred to as the results phase in the Logbook. Provides the number of unique youths in whose case the programme has proven successful after six months. The selection of results includes 21 multiple choice answers, 11 of which are positive indicators (e.g. started looking for work, started employment, military service, etc.).

Look last report about Youth Prop-Up programme.

Part XVIII- The principles of Youth Prop-Up programme

  • a low threshold service open to youths aged 15–26 years based on their own free will;
  • no preconditions for participation;
  • ensures the confidentiality of participants’ personal data;
  • support is also ensured in a situation where the participant does not wish to disclose their personal data;
  • resolution of matters involving children is based on the interests of the child, as set out in the Child Protection Act;
  • ensures the youth the possibility of meeting in a suitable public space and as close to their home as possible;
  • is based on a trusting relationship between the youth worker and the youth where the specialist creates a developing environment and establishes specific goals and boundaries in cooperation with the youth;
  • is based on a friendly and engaging atmosphere that is interesting and fun;
  • recognises individual or group work;
  • is based on proposals related to educational experience;
  • enables non-judgemental social communication;
  • open to innovation and accounts for different regional challenges (risks) arising in the society;
  • flexible timetable and choices;
  • carried out by professional youth workers;
  • takes responsibility for leading the support team surrounding the youth participating in the programme upon mutual agreement, involving specialists from other fields and/or volunteers in the team as necessary;
  • intervenes in a situation where a youth requires support in resolving problems and difficulties arising in relation to working life or education;
  • uses the methods of non-formal and informal education, and adopts these to new requirements arising in the process or the new needs of the youths;
  • uses the possibilities of youth work for reaching or supporting youths;
  • aids youths in realising their talents through the development of their skills and knowledge by providing different/diverse activities/services;
  • facilitates the development of responsibility in youths through the establishment of firm and clear boundaries, and giving feedback about consequences in the case of failure, following the principle of open dialogue;
  • is empathic, receptive, flexible and positive in situations, crises, issues and/or changes related to youths;
  • is based on the principle of holism or one-door service, conceived as a network of specialists who are guaranteed to be ready regardless of the location of the initial contact person to direct the youth to a suitable service;
  • if necessary, provides the youths with a ‘second chance’ – provides environments for experimentation in cooperation with partners and uses this in the learning process without judging the person;
  • assumes an active role in the representation and promotion of the needs and interests of the youths. Emphasises the importance of mutual honesty/respect arising in the course of the activities and encourages youths to develop respectful communication with their peers and the society through dialogue;
  • is conscious of its position among other institutions/fields related to youths and ensures/maintains active cooperation with other institutions/persons working with youths;
  • values feedback received from the youths and cooperation partners in order to monitor and evaluate its work;
  • uses the Youth Centre Logbook for the professional description, explanation, and promotion of its work to the general public.

Part XIX- Participants’ stories

The essence of the work of Youth Prop-Up is best characterised by stories of practical experience. These stories discuss the difficult background of the youths, the value of noticing and caring, the indispensability of a network. So-called working models are being created to accompany the stories; these give information about the solution used, cooperation, dynamics, and other necessary resources.

 

Story 1- Youth Prop-Up provides a young woman with motivation for continuing studies

At the recommendation of a youth worker, Youth Prop-Up was contacted by a 17-year-old girl who was planning to discontinue her studies in ninth grade. Youth Prop-Up gave her motivation to finish basic school, after which she started exploring further educational opportunities with the aid of Youth Prop-Up. The young woman had a strong desire to leave home and move to Tartu to study. Youth Prop-Up helped her choose a curriculum and prepare the necessary documents, as well as sort out information related to admission. Youth Prop-Up also helped her find a suitable dormitory, first establishing the available resources of the girl and her family. In autumn, the Youth Prop-Up specialist visited the girl in her new school and dormitory, and introduced her to a youth worker operating in Tartu.

Story 2- Family problems made a young person lose his spirits and courage

The Youth Prop-Up youth worker first met this young man some years ago when he participated in the organisation of an event. The young man was modest and reticent, but became more active and bold at some point, and was also seen outside more often. The youth worker contacted him and recounted how they had once collaborated in organising an event. The young man was surprised someone remembered him.

He reported having been a happy and cheerful child until the age of 13, interested in talking to people and seeking and experiencing new adventures. After the divorce of his parents, however, he had to move in with his mother’s new boyfriend, as well as change schools. In the new school, he was bullied and found no friends; at home, he was being terrorised by his stepfather. He had acquired basic education but had no desire for further education.

He became more reserved and did not want to talk to anyone.

Altogether, he spent nine years at home, finding comfort in computer games and making some money doing this. He only communicated with people online.

The young man said he was scared of being hurt again and did not trust anyone. He had developed anxiety and was extremely afraid of being in the same room with strangers.

The good news was that the young man wished to change his situation. The first step towards this goal was participating in the preparation of another event. In the meantime, the youth worker communicated with the young man as much as possible, numerous ‘small goals’ were established, after which a representative of the Unemployment Insurance Fund was invited to talk about the options provided. The young man decided to seek an appointment with an Unemployment Insurance Fund career counsellor and register himself as an unemployed person, after which he also got the opportunity to use the services of a psychologist.

Small steps have now been made; the young man participates in youth centre field trips and always helps with the preparation of events. He also participates in small group activities organised by Youth Prop-Up.

Story 3- Volunteering gave confidence

Youth Prop-Up was contacted by a 22-year-old man who had lost his job. He had previously studied information technology and received a job offer at the company he had apprenticed at. One of the conditions for continued employment, however, was finishing school. As the young man was unable to graduate by the agreed date, he lost his job. He is an active visitor of youth centres and he set himself the goal of finding a new job. He also planned to finish school and improve his grades. Meanwhile, Youth Prop-Up gave him the opportunity to participate in volunteer activities. The young man was given the opportunity to guard an indoor skate park during opening hours. As he was familiar with the code of conduct and an extreme sports fan himself, his volunteer task was to acquaint newcomers with the rules. The young man was grateful for this new experience and the opportunity to prove his usefulness. He soon also found a job.

Story 4- Unexpected positive recognition changed a young man’s life

A 17-year-old boy, who was no longer engaged in education, but also not employed, came to Youth Prop-Up upon his mother’s recommendation.

Educational background – the young man had received basic education and had an unfinished vocational education; in autumn, he had begun studies at an adult high school. His studies were not going well, however: the boy did not go to school and had not turned in his homework. Family background – two sisters, parents divorced one year ago and mother in a new relationship. The boy is neat, communicative, honest, and slightly tense. His relationship with his parents is normal.

The first meeting focused on the actual interests and dreams of the youth.

The boy admitted that he did not want to study and found everything related to school repellent. His hobby is making rap music on his computer and he dreams of becoming famous for this. When the young man was encouraged to publish his works on Youtube, he claimed that he was not ready for this.

The analysis of opportunities and actual desires showed that the young man would be very happy getting a job instead of continuing studies. He has a passionate wish to quit his studies.

Youth Prop-Up recommended that the young man register as an unemployed person, as it is not necessary to be an adult for this. At the young man’s request, the youth worker accompanied him on his first visit (fear of officials). The cooperation with the Unemployment Insurance Fund worked, the young man participated in the activity of Youth Prop-Up and received career counselling from the Unemployment Insurance Fund on two occasions, including assistance in writing a resume.

The young man has now been registered as unemployed for 5 months, also receiving unemployment benefits. He participated in the work of the youth centre music lab, but was not actively seeking for a job. The youth worker thought there was another obstacle that prevented him from being active and happy. The young man continued to be taciturn at interviews and meetings, especially regarding his personal life.

A change for the better occurred when the young man finally published his first Youtube video on Facebook that others began to share actively. The unexpected positive feedback came as a surprise to the boy, but gave him courage and willingness to move forward. The next meeting at the Unemployment Insurance Fund brought the news that the young man would be undergoing an apprenticeship at a company and the representative of the company had promised the conclusion of an employment contract should he be suitable for the job. His mother is extremely satisfied with the change and his son’s willingness to find employment.

Story 5- Change of environment helped a young man with a criminal background

The youth worker met the youth in question at a youth event where participants were asked to bring their friends. The young man had a criminal background and had managed to accumulate quite a list of crimes in his 18 years of life. The youth worker wanted to focus only on the young man’s positive characteristics at the counselling, such as his great communication skills and friendliness. These extremely important social skills have also allowed him to turn over a new leaf in his life. His great desire to change his life and the interviews carried out under the Youth Prop-Up programme led him to the realisation that a change of environment is the best solution for him. Today, the young man is waiting to go abroad as a volunteer.

Story 6- Young person realises the importance of registering as unemployed

The young person in question had had odd jobs during summers. The youth worker recommended that they register themselves as unemployed, as this would provide them with health insurance and various training opportunities. The young person was unwilling to do this, only realising the necessity of this step when they needed to see a medical specialist in February; without insurance from the Health Insurance Fund, they would have had to pay approximately 200 euros out of their own pocket. The youth admitted that they should have listened to the advice right away and started from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It also turned out that thanks to previous official employment, the benefits received by the youth were higher than the standard benefits. This also served to motivate the youth. Communication with the specialists of the Unemployment Insurance Fund helped the youth understand what they wanted to do in the future and they have also decided to receive training through the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Story 7- Free driver’s licence motivated to continue studies

When going through the list of youths and their employment status in cooperation with specialists from a local government, the youth worker noticed a young man they had had previous contact with but lacked accurate data on. The youth worker visited him and learned that the youth had discontinued vocational education due to a misunderstanding but would definitely like to continue their studies. During the visit, he simply stayed at home, engaged with his hobbies. The Youth Prop-Up specialist investigated the options for continuing studies at the vocational school, and it turned out that a one-year course would start in the autumn that would provide the young man with the opportunity to receive a professional certificate. In addition, more active students would receive the opportunity to get a driver’s licence at the school’s expense. This motivated the young man greatly – he filled in an application and was admitted to the course.

Today, the young man is receiving driving lessons and will soon be starting his apprenticeship. Further conversations revealed that the young man had debts that he would like to pay off but did not know how. We got him involved in a National Social Insurance Board programme that provided him with debt counselling. This gave positive results; today, he has managed to relieve himself of his main debts.

When it turned out that he was unable to eat lunch each school day due to low income, the resources were found for paying for school meals in cooperation with the local government. The young man maintains contact with Youth Prop-Up. He is involved in the activities of the local youth centre in connection with his hobbies. The vocational school, the counselling services programme at the National Social Insurance Board, and the local government have all shown themselves as good partners for the Youth Prop-Up centre.

Story 8- Joint hike saved a young man from going down the wrong path

A young man whose parent died a few years ago completely lost interest in education and stopped going to school. The other parent was no longer able to cope with him. The youth had no financial problems, as he started to receive survivor’s pension, but lived with his friends instead of home.

With the help of his friends, the young man was invited to the youth centre. Youth Prop-Up received background information from his local government.

The youth worker managed to strike up a more relaxed conversation with him at a joint hike where they cooked together and discussed topics of interest to the young man. As a result of cooperation and close communication, the young man returned to school in the autumn and is very successful in his studies. Upon his own request, the school was chosen to be away from his home and friends in order to avoid bad influences. The Youth Prop-Up employee uses Facebook for communicating with the youth and has observed a big change – the youth is very friendly and has ‘grown up’.

Story 9- A young woman with complicated past tries to cope with her life with the aid of Youth Prop-Up

This 17-year-old girl with a complicated family background grew up essentially by herself. School and learning were slow going. She had to repeat eighth grade, then was transferred to ninth grade following a special procedure, where she had to repeat the grade again. She has hardly spent a day in school over the last four years. A social pedagogue, a youth worker, and a child protection official have previously worked on her case. She has undergone treatment/examination at the department of paediatric psychiatry after suicidal thoughts. The girl has made many promises, then ‘disappeared’ and reappeared again after some time with the desire to improve her studies and her life.

The cooperation with the Youth Prop-Up specialist has changed things for the better. She is working and is attempting to finish ninth grade at home. The main obstacle is her tendency to easily give up on everything and everyone, and difficulties with allowing new people close to her. She becomes disappointed when things do not go the way she wants them to. She has received assistance from a psychotherapist, a social pedagogue, and a special education teacher with the goal of developing her social skills, the effects of her actions, self-esteem, and self-discipline. The young woman is slowly but surely moving forwards.

Story 10- Youth thrown out of the house finds the strength to continue studies

A 19-year-old youth who was thrown out of the house and then quit their studies at a vocational school decided to find employment. The Youth Prop-Up specialist became involved after the youth had already taken their leave from school, had no place to live (spent the nights at their friends, at the bus station and other random places); they also had no money or food.

First and foremost, the youth needed social benefits for food and housing. In cooperation with the local government and the National Social Insurance Fund, a solution was found for paying social benefits and providing social housing. Then the specialist took the youth to the Unemployment Insurance Fund to find a more permanent solution with regard to their future than the one provided by social benefits. With the help of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the youth participated in a training course, underwent apprenticeship, and found a suitable job. With the aid of the Youth Prop-Up specialist, negotiations were held with the school, as a result of which the youth could continue their studies at the school and retroactively complete the classes and assignments they had missed.

Part XX- Youth Prop-Up programme practitioners

Youth Prop-Up practitioners are distributed all over Estonia.

More distributed implementation is warranted by the following:

– Programme activities cover all counties, ensuring the readiness for working with NEET youths in all counties. This approach is sustainable and reduces the risk of problems arising in areas not receiving the programme preparation and the necessity of beginning with the implementation of a new programme.

– Creating equal opportunities for youths all over Estonia.

– The national approach facilitates the appearance of a network covering the entire state and enabling the practitioners to share information that can prove necessary in the case of employment opportunities or educational institutions, the development of cooperation in the provision of public services, networking between institutions.

– This approach enables preventing internal regional differences, ensuring regional balance, the strengthening of centres, and equal competence for youth workers all over Estonia.

– Regional distribution of jobs created through the programme, specialists more spread out.

– More efficient use of human resources (youths, youth workers) all over Estonia.

This approach supports not only the principle of creating equal opportunities near the place of residence followed in the development of youth work and the social sphere, but also the vision proposed in the Estonian Regional Development Strategy 2020 of people having access to good jobs, high-quality services and a pleasant living environment providing opportunities for diverse activities in each local activity space.

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Part XXI- Bibliography

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  2. Estonian Association of Motivational Interviewing and Training.(2017). http://www.emita.ee /18 February 2017/
  3. Eichsteller,G.,Holthoff, S. The Art of Being Social Pedagogue Practice Examples of Cultural Change in Children+s Homes in Essex. http://www.thempra.org.uk/downloads/Essex_Report_2012.pdf /16 February 2017/
  4. European Commission. Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion. http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1079&langId=et /6 February 2017/
  5. Hamer, M. (2006). The Barefoot Helper. Russell House Publishing.
  6. Jeedas, P. (2017). Youth Prop-Up development programme for instructors of NEET youths, October 2015–May 2016. SA Archimedes.
  7. Juhtumikorralduse käsiraamat. (2006). Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. University of Tartu, Pärnu College.
  8. Kasearu, K. Trumm, A. (2015). NEET – Noored, kellega keegi ei arvesta ja kes kuskil ei käi. Noorteseire Eestis. Praxis. ENTK. Poliitikaülevaade 3/2015.
  9. Keppeler, S.,Specht, W. Social area analysis as a basis of Mobile Youth Work. Community work. mitteformaalne.ee
  10. Korp, E., Specht, W.(2007). Mobiilse noorsootöö kontseptsioon. Tallinn Children’s Safe Centre. Tallinn.
  11. Occupational qualification standard. Estonian Qualifications Authority. http://kutsekoda.ee/et/kutseregister/kutsestandardid/10452122/pdf/noorsootootaja-tase-6.4.et.pdf /13 April 2017/
  12. Lastekaitsetöö kohalikus omavalitsuses.(2004). Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. National Institute for Health Development.
  13. Morton, M. H., Montgomery, P. (2013). Youth Empowerment Programs for Improving Adolescents’ Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem: A Systematic Review. Research on Social Work Practice, No 23.
  14. Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020. Ministry of Education and Research.
  15. Petrie, P., 2005. Schools and support staff: applying the European pedagogic model. Support of Learning, vol. 20, no. 4.
  16. Selg, M. (2012). Lecture from the course ‘Theory of Social Work’. Lecture materials. Institute of Sociology and Social Policy. University of Tartu.
  17. Zimmermann, M. A. (2000). Empowerment theory: Psychological organizational and community levels of analysis. In J.Rappaport & E.Seldman (Eds.), Handbook of community psychology. New York: Plenum.
  18. Uued lõiked noorsootöös.(2016). Eesti ANK. ENTK.
  19. Youth Social Exclusion and Lessons from Youth Work. European Commission. ECAS. http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/youth/tools/documents/social_exclusion_and_youth_work.pdf /6 February 2017/

 

[1] European Commission. Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion. http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1079&langId=en /6 February 2017/