APEL.Q in employment and business services
In the European Union (EU) countries, public employment services (PES) are the authorities that connect jobseekers with employers. Although these services are structured differently from country to country, all PES help to match supply and demand on the labour market (European Commission).
In Finland, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy is responsible for carrying out policies, guidelines, and performance management in relation to employment, labour market competence development and entrepreneurship. The Ministry provides more than 120 national employment and business services (TE offices), and these are in charge of securing skilled labour and placing jobseekers into vacant jobs. The objective of the TE offices is to assess the capacities, objectives and alternatives regarding education, training and employment in such a way that it matches the individual’s situation with regards to his/her competences, prior learning and work experience (Cedefop, 2014).
Like most European countries, Finland experiences challenges regarding youth unemployment. The overall unemployment rate in 2013 was 8.2 per cent, whereas the youth unemployment rate was 19.9 per cent. Thus, the Finnish government has introduced various initiatives (e.g. the Youth Guarantee plan) to reduce this rate. The TE offices play an important role in reducing the general unemployment rate and introduced additional support services for the unemployed youth in 2013 (TE-Palvelut, 2014).
Procedures and processes
Three categories of job services exist: Employment and Business Services, Competence Development Services and Supported Employment Services.
The first category of services is for two groups: employers and entrepreneurs from companies and organizations and individual jobseekers whose vocational competences and skills are sufficient for finding employment directly in the open labour market. TE offices assess, analyse and match the needs of the employers with those of jobseekers. Thus, employment services offered include assistance with job vacancy advertisements, recruitment, lay-offs and redundancies, personnel development, and training. Business development and entrepreneur-focussed services involve coordinating cooperation in partner networks. These partners include companies, sub-regional business services and municipalities (TE-Palvelut, 2014).
The second service category serves individual jobseekers who need to develop their competences to find employment, or who need support in determining a new career path. TE offices offer training, activation services, career planning and CV and job application writing services. During the initial job searching phase, the jobseeker and the TE-counsellor collaborate to identify competences and individual needs. Together, they develop a career plan and identify continuing training required. The TE offices procure vocational education and training services from various training providers, e.g. the training programmes for adults conducted in cooperation with the Competence Based Qualifications (CBQs). TE offices coordinate partnership networks between municipalities, training providers, educational institutions and companies (TE-Palvelut, 2014).
The third service category serves the long-term unemployed – jobseekers in need of individual and/or multi-professional support. This includes jobseekers over 50 or under 30 years of age, people with disabilities or illnesses and people with additional job seeking needs. Special TE centres (ESCs) provide extended services to this group by analysing the individual’s competences and requirements to prepare them for employment. These services include vocational rehabilitation, onward referral to vocational training programmes and apprenticeships, the identification and tailoring of suitable jobs, job placement, post-placement support and job coaching. ESC personnel find individual solutions in cooperation with employers and companies. The ESCs are joint service points for local authorities, including employment and social insurance offices, and municipal social and health departments. They follow a holistic approach based on a multi-professional individual counselling, meaning that individuals are referred to other service types as required (TE-Palvelut, 2014).
Internet-based services are provided for all service categories, including tools for registering as a jobseeker or employer, detailed guides for immigrants, information about labour market training, vocational guidance and career planning. Free telephone services offer information about services provided by the TE offices.
Outcomes and ways forward
With regard to the youth unemployment rate, Finland has succeeded in improving long-term labour market prospects for youth who are unemployed or inactive through the Youth Guarantee plan. This plan targets specific subgroups, giving greater attention to vocational education and training apprenticeships. Since the plan was implemented, the youth unemployment rate has decreased, with 67.8 % of beneficiaries starting a job, a traineeship, an apprenticeship or further education within four months of registering with the Finnish TE offices. After six months, this rate increased to 89.6% of Youth Guarantee beneficiaries (European Commission, 2015).
CEDEFOP. 2014. European Inventory on Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning: Country report Finland. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/da/publications-and-resources/country-reports/validation-finland-2014 (Accessed 20 November 2015).
European Commission. Public Employment Services.http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=105&langId=en (Accessed 20 November 2015).
European Commission. 2015. Youth Guarantee Country by Country – Finland 2015. http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1161&langId=en&intPageId=3332(Accessed 9 August 2016).
TE-Palvelut Services. 2014. Public Employment Services in Finland. Vantaa, Uusimaa Employment and Economic Development Office. http://www.te-services.fi/te/en/index.html (Accessed 9 August 2015).
Source: UNESCO UIL