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Most employment centre experts would ditch "activation model"

A survey of labour professionals gave the controversial employment scheme a 3.5 out of 10 rating.

Aktiivimallia vastustava mielenosoitus Helsingin Senaatintorilla helmikuussa 2018.
A placard calling for the cessation of "activation models" 1 and 2. Image: Kimmo Hiltunen / Yle

The outgoing government's job-creation measure known as the "activation model" came under attack from 755 employment centre professionals this week after a survey found that 62 percent of expert respondents supported shutting down the scheme.

Experts were surveyed alongside employment centre bosses. The proportion of executives who called for the shuttering of the activation model was lower, at less than half.

The survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, will be part of a final report being produced by the VATT Institute for Economic Research and the University of Turku.

The main finding of the survey is that employment sector professionals do not see the activation model as an appropriate means for improving employment. The respondents' answers came to an average score of 3.5 on a 10-point scale.

Requirements frustrate unemployed

The model under scrutiny is the second iteration of the employment programme, initiated last summer. The initial "activation model" mandated jobseekers to undertake at least 18 hours of paid work in each 65-day monitoring period, or join an approved job-related training scheme, earn 241 euros as an entrepreneur – or face a 4.65 percent cut in benefit payments.

Only one in 10 respondents said they believed the activation model enabled jobseekers to find work. Just four percent said the model helps employers connect with the type of workforce that fits their needs.

In contrast, 84 percent said unemployed people consider the activation model frustrating because of the scarcity of appropriate work, training or services. Just over half said that fulfilling the requirements of the model – at least four job applications a month and a personalized employment plan – does not actually improve a jobseeker's chances of becoming employed.

Social Democratic Party leader Antti Rinne, who is steering efforts to form a new cabinet, has suggested that he might seek to end the controversial programme as part of the new government's agenda.

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