“I’m changing Europe!”
Paikka auki (Vacant Job Funding Programme in English) is a funding program organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and coordinated by Nuorten Ystävät ry. The aim of the program is to promote the employment of people with poor employability: the two main target groups are young people under the age of 30 and people with partial work ability of all ages. Through the program, the target group representatives are able to apply for jobs with a one year contract in social welfare and healthcare organisations.
Social welfare and healthcare organisations working in Finland can apply for the financial contribution, which covers all the salary costs of the one-year employment of one person. The organisations as well as the employees get support all throughout the whole process.
“The program focuses on work-life inclusion and the aspects of belonging and being heard. The participants are able to get positive feedback and discover their skills while participating in the program. People are giving opportunities to participate in various activities and to interact with each other. If one is deprived of these things, they might feel left out”, says Anniina Halonen, one of the two Communications Coordinators.
The main goal of the program is to improve the employability of the participants as well as their chances of finding a permanent job. For that reason, the employees will get support in their career progression as well. For many people, the program acts as a way back to working life.
Around 200 people are hired each year through the program. It has made a positive impact on the life of a lot of the participants.
“Over 2/3 of the employees has reported having positive life changes, and 90% of them enjoys their job. For 2/3 of the participants the program has acted as a pathway to working life or further studies”, adds Anniina.
The program has been considered a success by the employers as well: the employees and their knowledge have become a significant part of the team. The program is also a way to attract workers to the sector, as many of the employees continue in the same organisation or at least in the same field after ending the program. Based on studies, it has been estimated that the program pays for itself even twice as fast as other similar employment models.
This text was written by Anni-Leena Alanen, intern at The Finnish National Agency for Education.