Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
ORGANIZATION: Društvo za razvijanje prostovoljnega dela Novo mesto
Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS): Youth, non-formal education and unemployment
As part of the Erasmus + project Youth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning, we conducted several focus groups and interviews in the last month, in which we asked young people up to the age of 30 about non-formal education. The answers were quite interesting, as many young people do not know what non-formal education is. However, most of those who have an idea about it, believe that non-formal education is related exclusively to youth exchanges, trainings for youth workers, study visits and other activities related to Erasmus+ projects.
In addition to projects within the Erasmus + program, non-formal education is carried out by various non-profit organizations and companies, as well as local communities and state institutions, including the Employment Service of Slovenia.
In Slovenia, in May 2020, a total of 90,415 persons were registered at the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS), of which 18,596 were between 15 and 30 years old, which represents 20.6% of all registered unemployed. In this period, most of the unemployed from this age group were registered at the Labour Office in Ribnica (32.1%, a total of 421 registered, of which 135 were young people); the least at the Labour Office in Laško (16.5%, a total of 665 people are registered, of which 110 are young people). It is an interesting fact that when registering in the unemployment register at the Labour Offices (there are 58 of them in Slovenia), young people are offered the possibility of further education and, if interested, are referred to institutions where they can acquire knowledge.
The Labour Offices throughout Slovenia implement an active employment policy, i.e. a set of measures on the labour market aimed at increasing employment, reducing unemployment and increasing the employability of persons in the labour market and increasing the competitiveness and flexibility of employers. The goals of active employment policy follow the strategic documents and measures of the state and at the same time provide opportunities for adapting measures to rapid changes in the situation and needs on the labour market. Active employment policy programs are intended for both – the unemployed and the employed. The purpose of non-formal education is to increase employment opportunities by acquiring new knowledge and competencies for entering the labour market and successful career development. The purpose of formal education is to increase employment opportunities by acquiring a higher level of education. As part of training programs, individuals can also gain practical work experience to facilitate their path to employment.
If an unemployed person decides to take an offer, the ESS covers the costs of education, and most of unemployed who decide to enrol into the non-formal education system are those who believe that the acquired competencies and knowledge will make it easier for them to get a job or improve their employment opportunities. The ESS also offers the Usposabljam.se 2020 program, which enables the unemployed to receive on-the-job training at an employer, which is an exceptional opportunity for young people to gain concrete experience and knowledge they lack. The ESS covers the following costs for the previous month: activity allowance (for each active hour of participation in the program unemployed receives an unemployment allowance for activity) and transport allowance (0.16 euros per kilometre in both directions – i.e. from home to the place of training and back). The same applies to other forms of training offered at the ESS.
The knowledge acquired by the unemployed who attend courses and trainings funded by the ESS is recognized, as all those who successfully complete the course or training receive an official certificate and can also enlist it in their Europass and CV.
Every now and then, information seminars are held in the Labour Offices and all those unemployed for who workers at ESS think that would be interested in the non-formal education as well as all those who have expressed a desire to gain additional qualifications and thus improve their employment conditions are invited to attend. If at least 15 unemployed decide to take the training or course ESS wants to execute together with the organizations in the local environment, then the course or training will also be carried out. Otherwise, the interested parties are entered in the queue and as soon as Labour Office has 15 candidates, the course or training can start. The question is how many young people are interested in joining the programs offered at the ESS in cooperation with various institutions.
At the Labour Office anywhere in Slovenia, young people are offered all the possibilities of non-formal education, as determined by the directive, which they receive from Ljubljana. This is an otherwise rigorous system and is not adapted to individuals in the local community, so the desire for non-formal education (if an individual would like to learn Spanish, for example) cannot be fulfilled unless it is written in the directive that local Labour Office can organize this course. However, education by the ESS is an additional support to help young unemployed people get a job faster and easier. Thus, they currently offer Lifetime Achievement Training, basic computer courses, foreign languages (English, German, Italian and Russian – all up to B2), HACCP, exam preparation and exam of Slovenian language, exam preparation and exam of English, German and Italian languages; preparation and exam for the administrative procedure. In addition, they finance training for a storekeeper, an accountant, a website designer, basic literacy training for the Roma ethical group, Slovene for foreigners and useful Slovene for Albanian speakers; security guard, welder, assistant garment maker, social supplier at home, cleaner, forklift driver, assistant cook and assistant in the wood processing industry.
Young people can read more about the possibilities of non-formal education offered by the Employment Service of Slovenia here: https://www.ess.gov.si/mladi and https://www.ess.gov.si/iskalci_zaposlitve/programi/usposabljanje_in_izobrazevanje/neformalno-izobrazevanje-za-mlade.