Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Database of labour market practices

This database gathers practices in the field of employment submitted by European countries for the purposes of mutual learning. These practices have proven to be successful in the country concerned, according to its national administration. The European Commission does not have a position on the policies or measures mentioned in the database.

Slovenia Project learning for young adults (PLYA)
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Original Title: Projektno učenje za mlajše odrasle (PUM)
Country: Slovenia
Responsible body: Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Ministry of Education, Science and Sport
Name(s) of other organisations involved (partners / sub-contractors): Employment Service of Slovenia; Civil society organisations (e.g. NGOs, local support groups, etc…); Slovenian Institute for Adult Education; Employers; Local authorities; Schools
Start Year of implementation: 1999
End Year of implementation: Ongoing
EU policy relevance:

The programme supports the Europe 2020 strategy and in particular the flagship initiatives “European platform against poverty and social Exclusion” and “An agenda for new skills and new jobs”. It aims to tackle youth unemployment and increase youth employability by supporting vulnerable young people into education or employment.

Additionally, it is consistent with the Employment Guidelines and with several EU instruments, such as European Social Funds (ESF) activities to increase employment for disadvantaged young people.

National labour market context:

The economic crisis negatively impacted on Slovenian employment rates. In 2009 the number of individuals registering as unemployed more than doubled in comparison to the previous year; nonetheless, Slovenian unemployment rates remained below the EU-27 average. In 2008 the youth employment rate (15-25 years) was 38.4%, but dropped significantly to 27.3% in 2012. The unemployment rate increased to 20.6% in 2012 compared to 2008 when it was  10.4%.

In 2008 the economic crisis hit young people particularly hard, leading to an increase in youth unemployment rates and weakening the position of young workers in the labour market. Those with weakest contractual conditions and in short-term contracts were most vulnerable to job losses, young people made up a significant share of this group.

The rising share of young unemployed included an increasing proportion of vulnerable young people. To tackle this worsening scenario the Slovenian government implemented measures to support young people during their transition to work or into education. In addition, the Slovenian Employment Service carried out active employment measures specifically targeted at disadvantaged groups.

Policy area: Education and training systems, Labour market participation
Specific policy or labour market problem being addressed:

The main problem being addressed was the unemployment of vulnerable young people with little prospects of employment to enter the labour market or to re-enter the education.

Specifically, the PLYA Programme introduced a more in-depth approach to the social integration of young vulnerable groups with difficult family backgrounds. PLYA adopted a pioneering approach to integration of young people when compared to other more ‘traditional’ programmes. Previous programmes had focussed primarily on employment or school attendance, without taking into account other factors such as personal life experience, emotional vulnerability or psychological distress.

Aims and objectives of the policy or measure:

The overall aim of the PLYA programme was the integration of vulnerable young people (aged 15 to 25 years)  into the labour market.

Due to the difficulties in motivating these young people to enter employment or education, the programme aimed primarily at improving their skills and enhancing their employability through project-based learning in groups and personalised support. The ultimate goal was to motivate participants to enter employment or re-enter education.

Main activities / actions underpinning the policy or measure:

A central activity in the PLYA programme was the development of individual learning plans tailored to participants.  A key condition for carrying out these plans was the coaching and mentoring programme to provide one-to-one support. The mentorship approach was based on specialised assistance from highly qualified professionals. The stringent recruitment requirements for mentors included a degree from higher education as well as training approved by the programme framework. The focus on coaching differentiated the approach in this programme from the more traditional mentoring for job-seekers.

The mentoring measure allowed young people with challenges in their social and economic environments to engage in a more informal and personal relationship with a mentor for a period of 3 – 12 months. Participation was voluntary, and participants could freely leave the programme at any time.

Additionally, the activities of the programme included four types of project based learning:

  • Selected project work chosen according to the interests of the whole group;
  • Production based project work where participants produced a hand-made craft or service, as well as learned about product manufacturing and business management;
  • Optional group activities to raise motivation of the whole group (e.g. excursions, theatre and sports events); and,
  • Individual learning aimed at the single person’s aspirations for going back to education or entering employment.
Geographical scope of policy or measure: National
Target groups: People not in education, employment or training (NEETs)
Outputs and outcomes of the policy or measure:

An evaluation (2003) demonstrated that the programme was effective in helping young people to enter employment or re-enter education:

  • 98% of participants reported a different, more positive experience than in regular school;
  • 83% of participants thought that they have made positive changes in their lives, particularly with reference to social integration;
  • 48% of participants choose to continue their education;
  • 26% of participants entered employment;
  • 18% of participant entered employment and while attending adult education; and,
  • 6% of participant started their own business.

An evaluation from 2003 reported that 94% of the young people stated that they were satisfied with their participation, and 70% said they had achieved the goals identified at the beginning of the programme. Only two out of ten participants remained unemployed after the programme.

The 2009 report highlights that throughout the years of programme implementation, the share of people who entered education or employment was higher than the national average:

  • 70% of the participants went into education after conclusion of the programme;
  • 20% of the participants found employment after conclusion of the programme.

Only one out of ten of participants needed further assistance after conclusion of the programme.

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