Local policy makers, practitioners and representatives of the Tallinn Youth Council met in Tallinn to learn more about the causes of youth inequality and to discuss the results of “Uplift”. The meeting took place in a hybrid format – with both on-site and online participation.
It was well agreed that the vulnerability of young people is due to many factors, especially:
- financial difficulties as well as attitudes and know-how of families towards supporting the progress of youngsters;
- lack of vocational counseling in schools;
- inappropriate methods of intervention which can rather worsen the situation for a young person; and
- due to “downplaying concerns” by teachers which can leave the young person in a vulnerable state.
Participating young people themselves also brought out the lack of trust in school environment. “Teachers cannot be trusted”, “we know that our stories will be discussed with other teachers and the information starts to be spread making the situation for a vulnerable young person even worse”.
As solutions, it was proposed that vocational counselling should be further improved in schools. Every young person could already have a preliminary career plan by the end of elementary school. A change in mentality and attitude must take place in schools in order to create trusting relationships in the school community. Unfortunately, many teachers do not want to adopt new mentality and attitude do not change easily. The so-called “youth ambassadors” solution was proposed – high school students could volunteer to act as advisers to younger students. It is easier for a young person to talk about certain things with their peers rather than with a teacher.
In addition to the local Tallinn event the webinar with 25 national stakeholders participating took place on June 8 to discuss the “Uplift” results. Participating stakeholders were all involved in designing and implementing policies related to vulnerable young people.