New program to support education of non-studying, non-working youth

  • 2023-12-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - A program co-funded by the Estonian Education and Youth Board and the European Social Fund is supporting the continuation of education and transition to the labor market for young people who are neither working nor studying with a budget of 13.6 million euros, lasting until 2029.

"While youth work and leisure activities cannot directly improve the economic situation of young people, make up for a lack of a safe home or substitute an effective social, child protection, and education system, it definitely helps reduce the impact of unequal conditions on a young person's future. Our program, focusing on young people who are not in education or employment, aims to improve the accessibility of youth sector services for young people of all ages," Ingrid Joosep, project manager at the Education and Youth Board, said.

"A recent analysis by Statistics Estonia revealed that in the fourth quarter of 2021, there were 18,000 young people aged 15-26 in Estonia who were neither studying nor working. These numbers have increased over the last couple of years. An important focus of the program is to assist those who have dropped out of school, as incomplete education is a significant barrier to finding suitable work later," Riin Tamm, head of the youth and talent policy department at the Ministry of Education and Research, said.

The program's goal is supported by four activities -- developing the quality of youth work, leisure education, and activities and involving youth; supporting young people who are neither working nor studying; developing a national youth sector monitoring and analysis system; and supporting the mental health of young people.

"We can increase young people's interest in participating in youth work, leisure education, and activities by improving the quality of these activities and making them more accessible in their local areas. If interesting activities are close to young people's home, there is a greater chance that they will not easily drop out of work or school life," Joosep said.

To assist young people, the program will also support the implementation of mobile youth work in areas with a higher concentration of non-studying and non-working young people or those at risk. The goal is to support them and help them return to school or the labor market.

Another goal of the program is to enhance knowledge about mental health among youth.

"As the prevention of mental health issues becomes increasingly important, supporting the mental health of young people is a key focus of the program," Joosep said.

She added that to achieve this, a school-based prevention program Youth Aware of Mental Health will be adapted to Estonian conditions. This program will increase the awareness of mental health support options among stage three school students and develop their skills in coping with problems.