Government tries to
implement zero tolerance policy towards
Helsinki (30.09.2011 - Juhani Artto) The Finnish six-party coalition
government is taking an ambitious stance towards youth unemployment. The
goal is to get rid of it! This has been clearly outlined in the government
programme and its implementation was launched last Monday, when the "youth
social guarantee" task force was officially named and given wings.
The promise or guarantee is to offer every young person below 25 years of
age and every recent graduate below 30 years of age, either a job, place to
study, apprenticeship or rehabilitation. And the aim is for this to happen
within three months from the beginning of the unemployment. The system
should be functioning properly and smoothly by 2013.
Minister of Labour, Lauri Ihalainen, regards this reform as the most
one in his area of responsibility. And, this is something very familiar and
close to Ihalainen’s heart as he has promoted the idea since the 1970s when
he worked as youth secretary of the union confederation SAK and later on in
other jobs at the SAK, before finally becoming President of the organization
from 1990 to 2009.
Needless to say, the challenge is a huge one as there are some 30.000
unemployed people below the age of 25 years and a further 24.000 unemployed
belonging to the age group from 25 to 29 years of age. Partly the problem
reflects a lack of relevant education and training but not all of
the factors contributing to youth unemployment are easily identified.
The ministry has received EUR60 million extra in order to implement this
radical reform. Money will be used for example in so-called “searching youth
activity” that offers individual services for unemployed young men and
women. Last year this "searching youth activity" had established contact
with almost 11.000 young unemployed. More than a fifth had not even
registered themselves as unemployed. The number of employees in this
activity will now be expanded significantly.
The task force responsible for preparing the ground for implementation of
these reform measures will be made up of officials from various ministries,
and representatives from labour market, youth, municipal and some other