Objective:

The Youth Prop Up programme is a new action plan which has been implemented in Estonia. The programme is designed to specifically target:

  1. Young people aged 15 to 26 years.
  2. Young people who are not currently involved in any kind of academic study or employment.

The Association of Estonian Open Youth Centres is the organisation responsible for the development and implementation of the Youth Prop Up action plan for the estimated duration of 2015-2018. The programme supports currently the 8,800 individuals who meet these criteria.

Background:

The Youth Prop Up action plan is part of the wider Estonian Youth Guarantee National Action Plan initiated by the European Union.

The main aim is in supporting young people in need, who may have been made redundant or have not completed their education and are not currently studying. The programme attempts to assist them in realising their potential and return to being a productive member of society as quickly as possible, raising their confidence and self-esteem.

The activities take place under the  “Inclusion of youth at risk of social exclusion and improvement of youth employability” programme. The programme is approved by the Ministry of Education and Research and co-financed by European Social Fund. Programme is leaded by Estonian Youth Work Centre.

Level:

The programmed activities are set to be carried out at local level, designed so as interaction can take place on a one to one basis with the participants. This ensures that their progress can be monitored and tailored to their specific requirements. Participants can then activity use these skills learned in their everyday living environment.

The centres implementing Youth Prop Up are located throughout various regions within Estonia. The country is divided into zones, and within each zone are several local municipalities. The programme is currently being implemented by approximately 35 youth centres since the beginning of 2015, continuing to the current end date in 2018. Each centre has the facilities to support up to 30 participants each month. One of the overall aims of the programme is to ensure that at least 53 to 70 individuals will receive help and advice through Youth Prop Up each year.

What is being done?

An action plan has been created for each activity zone. It begins with a process to how to engage potential new participants who would benefit from the service; like through the mobile youth work. It then advises on the potential support options that the zone can provide for each of the participants. Constant contact is maintained with various supporting institutions (e.g., municipalities, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, Rajaleidja, local and regional businesses, cultural and educational institutions, etc.), and trained specialists who can provide appropriate measures of support that an individual may require. All specialists will have completed a corresponding training programme that includes a first level training in motivational interviewing. The focus is geared towards the individual receiving a personal action plan that meets their specific situation.

How?

The activities of Youth Prop Up concentrate on four main phases:

  1. Identification of the youths through mobile youth work (e.g. outreach, internet, youth work services in open area) or networking.
  2. Establishing a trusting contact with individuals in order to help them to come to terms with their wishes and ambitions.
  3. Empowering the participants through the possibilities of youth work, in order to assist in developing their practical knowledge and skills, and facilitating their entry into labour market.
  4. Keeping in regular contact with the participants for at least six months after their exit from the programme, for follow up support and assistance if required.

To gain the full benefit of being a participant in the programme each individual would need to remain active within the scheme for a minimum of one to six months, with exceptions. All steps are fully documented in the youth centres’ monitoring system of “Logbooks” which enables the facilitators to collect daily statistics and document their day-to-day activities with participants. The Logbook was established in order to allow all youth centres to collect and share data, resulting in reliable evidence-based statistics. Trends and successes can be monitored and shared across all zones, with proven strategies that could be implemented in other regions. Documentation of individual work is based on case files.

Background of the approach:

The support programme is founded on the principles of social pedagogy, with the aim of the supporting activities involve children and young people in a way that their well-being, freedom and self-esteem can thrive. This approach is centred around relationships. Therefore, important factors of integrating active listening, expression, creativity, teamwork and supportive networks as part of the young person’s environment is a main consideration. [1].

For this reason, the supporting activities of Youth Prop Up should be affordable and interesting to the participants to cultivate their creativity and bring out their natural strengths. The activities were designed to focus on several key areas, such as thorough and sustainable work, working alongside youth work specialists within the respective network, and with training and mentoring through theoretical learning, practical examples and self-assessment.

The activities revolve around the participant in the present moment and focus on their interests and practical desires. All actions are based on the skills that the participants want to develop further in their lives. This enables them to take an active part in the direction of future activities, that they can them implement within their own lives outside of the programme.

What challenges should an offeror be ready to face?

Average monthly workload of the Youth Prop Up activities:

Additional information: Heidi Paabort, heidi.paabort@ank.ee, +372 58091010

Read more www.tugila.ee

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