Regional coordinators

In their joint discussions between 2005 and 2011, youth information and counselling workers from municipalities and NGOs, Koordinaatti employees and representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture have envisaged the future of youth information and counselling and contemplated a regional coordination model that would help guarantee quality youth information and counselling services to all young people living in Finland. As a result of these discussions and the information gathered from youth information and counselling services, the different parties have jointly proposed a regional coordination model for youth information and counselling services.

The objective of the regional coordination model is to lay the foundations for community-based dialogue and development activities for all grass root level youth information and counselling workers. Regional coordination helps create a space for exchanging professional know-how, sharing tacit knowledge and providing peer support. Above all, it contributes to professional growth and commitment to community-based development.

The key objective of regional coordination is to embed practices developed in youth information and counselling projects into municipal youth work services. When projects end, insufficient resources often prevent an evaluation of experiences gained and the dissemination of good practice into permanent functions and services.

Pilot Project in the Oulu region and the Joint Municipal Authority of Oulunkaari

A pilot project for the regional coordination model was launched in the Oulu region and the Joint Municipal Authority of Oulunkaari in May 2011. Since Koordinaatti is nationally responsible for regional coordination, it also participates in the pilot project. In 2013 regional coordination was started in 2 new regions: 1) Southern and Northern Savonia and 2) Central Ostrobothnia, Ostrobothnia ja South Ostrobothnia. The regional coordination has now ended in these regions.

A number of youth information and counselling development projects have taken place in the municipalities of the pilot project area. Challenges identified include ensuring the continuity of development efforts and the commitment to development on all levels. As the turnover of youth workers is rather high, transferring knowledge and expertise and orientating new workers can be difficult.

The pilot project for regional coordination contains two key aspects: firstly, the modelling of regional youth information and counselling structure in the youth work sector, and secondly, the development of community-based processes for the evolution of youth information and counselling work and the support of professional growth of youth workers.

Regional coordination is based on agreements between local and regional organisations responsible for youth affairs in municipalities and regions and their commitment to joint development efforts. Agreements guarantee that all parties and levels are informed of the nature of the project under consideration.

At the same time, the capacity of the model to meet the targets set for regional youth work and youth policies is evaluated. Strategies and plans need to go hand in hand to ensure the strategy supports the targets of the regional coordination model and the coordination model supports the regional youth work strategy.  In addition, agreements improve the chances of workers to participate in the development efforts as part of their work responsibilities.

A regional coordinator provides expertise and support for organisations responsible for municipal youth information and counselling services and their workers and is a driver of community-based development.

Tasks and responsibilities envisaged for the regional coordination of youth information and counselling work are:

  1. Acting as an expert and support service in youth information and counselling work for parties involved in and responsible for the youth sector in the municipalities. Responsibilities may include the planning, development and implementation of information, counselling and guidance services.
  2. Enhancing and developing community-based processes in cooperation with different parties.
  3. Enhancing regional networks and co-operation.
  4. Coordinating the development of youth information and counselling work.
  5. Promoting the expertise and skills of youth workers.
  6. Promoting co-operative dialogue between parties and with other stakeholders.
  7. Providing guidance and counselling to youth information and counselling services and projects.
  8. Promoting dialogue with young people as well as young people’s participation and involvement (with the help of e-democracy service Aloitekanava.fi and other tools).
  9. Collecting and producing regional information for development purposes.
  10. Coordinating communication between parties.

Oulu Region and the Joint Municipal Authority of Oulunkaari

Regional Coordinator: Pirjo Kovalainen
Organisation: Youth Affairs Department, City of Oulu
Visiting address:
Oulu10, Torikatu 10, 90100 Oulu
Postal address: P.O. Box 17 90015 Oulun kaupunki
tel. +358 50 371 6092
firstname.lastname@ouka.fi