City of Helsinki


City of Helsinki


City of Helsinki

Promoter name and country

Helsinki, Finland Kohtaamo, promoter of youth guarantee and European Social Fund

Type of provider


Area of implementation

  • urban
  • local

Context and motivation of the project - legislative background/obligations, institutional policy, institutional structures

The city of Helsinki has included guidance in its strategic documents. The recently approved Helsinki City Strategy 2017–2021 continues the support of guidance. This city strategy seeks for Helsinki to be “the most functional city in the world”. Within the city strategy it outlines that “We support every young person and prevent social exclusion” and highlights the Ohjaamo (Navigator) model as part of this work.

Aims of the project

According to its new City Strategy, Helsinki , "together with relevant partners, Helsinki will launch an extensive and comprehensive project to find systemic solutions to the challenge of disaffected youth.” The Strategy also aims at reducing the Early School Leaving rate- also at upper-secondary level.

Target group

  • students
  • ESL

Description of the target group

Young people, with an emphasis on disaffected youth and those at risk of social exclusion.

Staff (selection, evaluation, training, promotion)

The Navigator centers employ youth workers, social workers, psychologists, guidance practitioners and employment services professionals. Ohjaamo Helsinki has five combined services staffed by people from 27 different professional backgrounds. Within this, NGO agencies assume a key role in providing guidance and support related to housing, migration and sport. Nurses are also on hand to provide health advice.

Methodological approach, activities implemented

Navigator service (‘Ohjaamo’): This service integrates a wide range of services -counselling, longer-term guidance, advice about education and training, advice about rehabilitation services and in-work support and coaching - under one roof in a one-stop guidance centre for young people. It is staffed by youth workers, social workers, psychologists and employment services professionals. Young people can ‘drop in’ at any time (without a referral from another organisation): it is an ‘on demand’ service imposing no obligations.

The city will ensure that education opportunitnies better reach those young people better who have no secondary-level education. Each Helsinki resident has the chance to achieve their learning potential. Liberal adult education provides resident-oriented courses based on the changing needs of customers.

Guidance is provided in upper secondary and vocational educaiton by guidance practitioners and support for studies and wellbeing is also provided by the online service Toisen asteen yhteys (Close Encounters of the 2nd Kind/The second degree is familiar). This webportal is intended for everyone in Helsinki who is studying at secondary level and their parents.

Results and impact - data of program internal/ external evaluation, beneficiary satisfaction, the impact of the didactical practices at individual and institutional level

Across Finland, 80,000 young people used the Ohjaamo services in 2016. The Helsinki centre supported around 6,000 people in its first operating period. However, this represents a small fraction of its service users, as one-off drop-in clients are not recorded on the system.

Ohjaamo Helsinki only has tracking data for 10% of service interventions. This means that the outcomes related to the vast majority of interventions are –and will remain – unknown. Feedback data from the Helsinki centre has resulted in an overall satisfaction score of 9.4 out of a maximum 10.

At the national level, a working group has developed an evaluation framework for the centres across the country. This group identified a number of key considerations which will influence their work. One is that each Ohjaamo centre is different, reflecting the local issues, the partnership configuration and the financial situation. Related to this is the fact that there are differing levels of local political commitment across the country. This working group has committed to common indicators for monitoring and evaluation which is coordinated by Kohtaamo, promoter of the model and evaluation.

Conclusions, lessons learned

One of the main challenges of the integrated system of the Navigator model is data sharing among actors: within Ohjaamo Helsinki, eight different data systems are in operation. During the first year of operations, it piloted a common data system but this proved not to be fit for purpose.

Directions of further development/ Transferability, replicability

The Ohjaamo model has support across national government departments at the highest level in Finland and importantly in the context, commitment at the municipal level. The concept of guidance service integration in Finland – and in the Nordic countries generally – is not new. The Ohjaamo centres build and expand upon earlier shared guidance service experiences.

Justification as best practice

Helsinki seeks to promote and improve guidance and services, especially to young people- Early School Leavers or those at risk. They are continuing with their implementation locally of the national “Navigator”model, specializing their centre to the city´s unique needs. The Navigator model exemplifies the Governance and coordination parameter of the Guiding City model by bringing together commitments from different levels of public administration and constructing a model based upon the development of local partnerships to provide an integrated “navigator cockpit” of guidance and other support services.

Type of ESL (early school leaving) practice

  • Prevention
  • Intervention

Web references (url, social media presence)

Second degree is familiar:

Parameters on which the practice is applicable (check those appropriate)

  • Governance and coordination
  • Objectives and needs


Helsinki City Strategy 2017–2021: Integrating services to promote youth employment: Lessons from Finland: Joseph Rowntree Foundation- International cities case studies: Helsinki: Navigator: The 2nd Degree is familiar: