SUUNTA GUIDANCE SERVICE

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Sitra was contributing to the implementation of the Suunta (Direction) guidance and advisory service for young people in co-operation with Save the Children Finland. The pilot project developed a low-threshold web-based service for young people to assist them on their way towards education and employment. The Suunta service enables youngsters to contact a trained instructor. The service model was designed to help young people who are otherwise unable to find services relevant to themselves or are unaware of the services to which they are entitled. The aim of the service is to bring young people and service providers closer to each other.

Suunta provides one-to-one support for the young via a chat service or by encouraging them to fill in a form to obtain help in finding a direction for life. The aim is to find help in the local region and assist in taking the next steps towards work or education. Young people do not need know which relevant department to contact – Suunta is a one-stop source of assistance and a response is guaranteed within 24 hours.

The project’s target group consists of young people aged 15 to 25, those at the transitional stage after completing their basic education or secondary studies and who need support in searching for employment or taking the required steps towards employment or further training, especially if they lack the knowledge of how to proceed or whom to contact. Young people contact the service with issues related to work and education in particular, but themes related to life management are also topical for them. These issues arise regularly in contacts with the service.

The project capitalises on Save the Children’s experiences of multiprofessional networked activities with young people. Save the Children is in charge of the day-to-day running of the web service, and training for the on-call duty officers at the chat service.

The Suunta service was launched in autumn 2013 as part of the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation Yle’s action Campaign “Nuorille: for young people now!”, which was based on the lead principle “No-one is left alone”. The campaign invited everyone in Finland to contribute to solving the problem of young people’s social exclusion. The Suunta service will continue operating after the Yle campaign as part of the youth activities of the Save the Children.

The project’s service concept was produced during summer 2013, and involved setting up the chat service, training staff, designing a training model for voluntary workers, charting the service network and building tools for instructors.

The project’s assessment report was published 26 March 2014 (available in Finnish).

The project forms part of Sitra’s Focus on Youth programme that develops new low-threshold services and promotes the co-operation of those working with young people in preventing social exclusion.

Further information

Suunta Service: http://nuorillenyt.yle.fi/suunta/ (in Finnish)

Save the Children’s Suunta project: http://www.pelastakaalapset.fi/nuorisotoiminta/suunta/ (in Finnish)

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