The annual conference for The Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation was held in Helsinki 17.-18.10.2013 hosted by the Regional Council of Helsinki-Uusimaa . On Tue 15.10.2013 the youth division met up for the BSSSC Youth for work! -seminar with the topic ”youth unemployment”. During the seminar Christel Isberg from 2BCn Personal Management Agency presented the agency’s strategy for supporting young people in their career choice. Afterwards the participants were asked to brainstorm and write down the pros and cons of a private agency for young people.
There were approximately 49 participants in the seminar. The participants were mainly young people from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Germany, Russia and Estonia. 11 of the participants were professionals who represented a region, municipality or an NGO. Following is a summary on the thoughts of the participants who contributed (∑ 11). A distinction between the professionals’ and the young peoples’ opinions has not been made.
PROS OF A PRIVATE AGENCY (+)
A private agency is more flexible, faster and efficient.
The word flexible or flexibility was mentioned 5 times. In addition the participants saw it as a positive thing that a private agency has no heavy structures, it does not have to follow any specific procedures, it has no political or other kinds of restrictions, it can quickly adjust to change, ”change directions and go with the flow”.
“Private agencies do not depend on official bureaucracy – able to work faster.”
A private agency has a more personal and fresh approach.
The participants mentioned personal and easygoing service as pros of a private agency. They mentioned that a private agency has closer contact with the youth and is able to view the system from the perspective of young people. It also has a fresh touch to it and gives room for new ideas.
Viewing ”the system from the youngsters point of view.”
A private agency is less expensive for the society.
Some participants mentioned the economic benefits with a private agency. It costs the society less and brings in taxes to the society.
A private agency is neutral.
Also neutrality was mentioned as a positive factor. A private agency does not have any pre-given attachments. Also:
“It doesn’t have an expiration date.”
A private agency raises the awareness about the private sector.
One participant mentioned that raising the awareness about the private sector encourages young people to entrepreneurship. Quality assurance was also mentioned as a requirement to getting customers. This is a point we often forget.
A private agency “has to deliver quality to get costumers.”
CONS OF A PRIVATE AGENCY (-)
A private agency needs to be profitable in order to survive.
One point, which was brought up by the majority of the participants, was that a private agency needs to make profit. A profit seeking orientation might mean that the agency only focuses on its own benefit which then might have a harmful effect on the results.
“Private agencies must have a certain profit to cheer up the work”.
“Work for profit = an elite institution.”
A private agency is expensive for the individual.
Financial issues were mentioned by the most. Not everyone can afford to pay for the service.
“Might be expensive for people (if not funded by the government).”
“Someone might not be able to use the agent because of economic problems. But: It’s better for youths that some (if not all) can get help. That’s better than no help.”
A private agency might not reach all.
Marketing difficulties were also mentioned as well as challenges in collaboration with other parties.
“New companies might have few employees = few people to help you.”
Questions that were raised
How to commit different sectors to a private coordinator?
The educational institutions are also one of the major contributors for the successful career path but how to get them involved?
What do companies and employers benefit from paying for such service?
How to control the quality?
IN RELATION TO GOVERNMENTAL SERVICES
The participants also stated some negative aspects with governmental services. The services provided by the government or the municipalities are seen as ineffective, expensive for the society, bureaucratic, impersonal, stiff and complicated.
“Even small things require a lot.”
“Administrative staff is often more interested in how statistics look than the reality behind them.”
Similar polls will be made also in the future and broader answers to the questions that were raised will be added soon.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write your thoughts down! Your opinions are important. Let’s not end the discussion here! Feel free to give your input whenever you feel like it. Our door is open.