Skip navigation

Article categories: News

Improving youth services in Vaasa through multisectoral collaboration

Published: 11.4.2024

Services aimed at young people in Vaasa are provided by the city, the welfare area, the government, as well as many organisations and associations. Collaboration and dialogue among all these entities are crucial to ensure clarity regarding each party’s responsibilities and tasks.

In Vaasa, there exists a multidisciplinary guidance and service network for young people as mandated by the Youth Act. The network consists of representatives from local and regional youth services, as well as potential invitees from service providers.

The network meets four times a year, following an annual schedule that outlines the topics to be addressed each quarter.

Vaasa needs a youth day centre

The first meeting of the network in 2024 focused on outreach youth work and youth workshop activities.

– We heard expert updates from the organisations providing these activities, namely the City of Vaasa and local associations. Following the presentations, we engage in extensive and constructive discussions. This time, it was unanimously agreed that Vaasa needs a youth day centre offering a wide range of services, said Christina Knookala, Director of Education in Vaasa.

Discussions highlighted that current youth services are fragmented, with services from different providers remaining separate. Consolidating services in one location could improve the situation.

– Young people themselves have also provided feedback, expressing a desire for a place where young adults can come without any obligations, such as in workshops. They also wish to access services conveniently from the same location, said Mika Pietilä, Director of Youth Affairs.

Long-term, collaborative efforts for the benefit of young people

This year, the joint network of the city, welfare area, and other operators will also address youth unemployment and livelihoods, participation, and well-being, as well as the situation regarding substance use and youth-perpetrated violent crimes. Recent incidents of violent crime underscore the increasing importance of multidisciplinary and comprehensive youth work.

– We have received feedback from the participating stakeholders that this network is crucial for sharing information. All of us, as providers of services for young people, collaborate to share information and provide updates on the current situation. Concrete measures also emerge through collaboration among the partners involved in the network, described Pietilä.

The statutory tasks of the multidisciplinary guidance and service network for young people, as stipulated by the Youth Act, include:

  • gathering, assessing, and providing local decision-makers with information on growth and living conditions;
  • promoting the coordination of services for young people, developing service guidance, and facilitating the exchange of information;
  • promoting collaboration to facilitate youth activities. Youth activities, here, refer to activities created and carried out by young people themselves.