Work has started at the Centre of Expertise for Youth Research
The new researchers chosen for the Centre of Expertise (left to right): Teemu Vauhkonen, Leena Haanpää and Tiina Hakanen.
Research at the Centre of Expertise for Youth Research, which operates within the Finnish Youth Research Society, has started as the new researchers recruited for the centre have now begun their work. The aim of the Centre of Expertise for Youth Research is to produce reliable and up-to-date research data on the living conditions of young people and the youth sector to support the decision-making within youth policy and the entire youth sector. During the spring three new researchers were recruited to carry out the research projects. Over 30 high-calibre applicants were interested in the position of researcher at the Centre of Expertise.
Adjunct professor, PhD Leena Haanpää has begun her work as Senior Researcher on a project researching equal opportunities of children and young people to have hobbies. Haanpää, who received her doctorate from the Turku School of Economics in 2007, has long and varied experience, particularly in the field of sports studies among children and young people.
Statistics Researcher, MA Tiina Hakanen took up a part-time role at the Centre of Expertise in the middle of May to work on the project Information requirements and assessments. Approximately half of her work will contribute to the Youth Barometer, and a study on the free time of children and young people, which is financed by a general grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture. Hakanen, who has a degree in statistics, is currently working on her doctoral thesis in health science at the University of Tampere on early detection of factors influencing overweight and obesity among Finnish children.
Researcher, MSSc Teemu Vauhkonen has taken up a position researching the effectiveness of activating measures directed towards NEET youth. Vauhkonen is currently working on his doctoral thesis in sociology at the University of Turku on the way in which intergenerational deprivation and urban environments are connected to deprivation and subjectively experienced unhappiness.
Other researchers at the Finnish Youth Research Network will also work on the projects of the Centre of Expertise. Senior Researcher Tomi Kiilakoski is in charge of the project The architecture of youth work education in Finland. Research Professor Tommi Hoikkala and Leading Senior Researcher Mikko Salasuo will also be in charge of projects.
“The research projects carried out within the Centre of Expertise represent a new kind of cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry has an increasing need to assess the efficiency of the youth sector activities that it is funding. Through the research of the Centre of Expertise, the Finnish Youth Research Network can produce research-based data on young people which will be useful for the ministry when carrying out its work. As a result of the extra resources brought by the status of Centre of Expertise, we have also been able to recruit new kinds of research talent,” says Research Director Sinikka Aapola-Kari from the Finnish Youth Research Network.
The Centres of Expertise are new units that have been created by the Ministry of Education and Culture which will be developing the youth sector according to the aims of the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme (VANUPO) 2017–2019. There are twelve Centres of Expertise in total working on four different focus areas. The Centre of Expertise for Youth Research focuses on developing the services, quality and methods of youth work. The first term of the Centres of Expertise lasts two years, 2018 and 2019.
The Centres of Expertise only make up a small part of the activities of the Youth Research Society and the Youth Research Network, which carries out research within the Society. The majority of the activities and the research will continue to be funded by the general grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture and research funding from other sources. The funding for the Centre of Expertise makes up approximately 14 per cent of the total budget of the Youth Research Network. The funding for the Centre of Expertise makes up approximately one fourth of all the funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Research projects carried out at the Centre of Expertise for Youth Research
I Services for NEET youth and their costs and allocation
The aim of the project is to examine previous research on and impact metrics of activation measures aimed at NEET youth (youth not in employment, education or training) – particularly regarding workshops and outreach youth work – and create a synthesis on these. Based on the results, the project team will publish a publication and an impact indicator.
Project leader: Research Professor Tommi Hoikkala
Project researcher: MSSc Teemu Vauhkonen
II Equal opportunities of children and young people to have hobbies in Finland
The aim of the project is to study the realisation of opportunities of children and young people to have hobbies on a national level with an emphasis on municipalities. The aim is to clarify in particular which hobby activities are offered by municipalities and organisations and the financial resources allocated to these, as well as the accessibility of these activities. The study aims to promote equal opportunities to have hobbies.
Project director: Leading Senior Researcher Mikko Salasuo
Project researcher: Adjunct professor Leena Haanpää
III The architecture of youth work education in Finland
The aim of the study is to create an overview of the education in Finnish youth work, which is on a good level by European standards. The goal is to see how the learning of youth workers is supported in Finland, particularly within formal education. The project will produce a description of Finnish youth work for a European audience and analyse the practices which relate to Finnish youth work education.
Project researcher: Senior Researcher Tomi Kiilakoski
IV Information requirements and assessments
Part of the research funding has been granted in order to produce various kinds of up-to-date studies on young people and the youth sector which the government needs, and in order to create international networks within the youth sector. This function of the Centre of Expertise does not constitute the kind of independent research project that is typical for the Youth Research Network’s research activities.