The Tolkkupaja project is an ESF-funded development project implemented by the City of Seinäjoki’s youth services, the aim of which is to support and guide young people under the age of 30 towards inclusion, education and participation in working life. MDI carried out an evaluation of the Tolkkupaja project during the period 2019–2021.
The aim of the evaluation was to support the successful implementation of the project and to provide information on the progress of the project in relation to its objectives. An evaluation model based on a proactive impact assessment was built for the Tolkkupaja project, on the basis of which information on the project’s activities, results and impacts was produced.
According to the evaluation, implementation of the Tolkkupaja project has been largely successful, with operations largely proceeding according to plan. The project’s flexible operating model has enabled the development and design of activities to meet the needs of young people. The Tolkkupaja project is aligned with the city’s youth, cultural, employment and social services. The project has also proven to be a useful addition to other youth activities and services in the area. It is seen as being particularly important that the Tolkkupaja project was able to offer young people activities several times a week thus maintaining close contact with the young person in question.
A particular success of the project have been the outsourced project activities, such as interesting and inspiring art and culture-focused content in the cityscape which can be specifically tailored by having experts listen to the ideas and concerns of young people. The active support of the project staff has also been considered important here: consulting the client, taking into account individual needs and a sufficiently intensive client process in which the adult acts as a companion.
Based on customer feedback, young people have found that participating in the Tolkkupaja project provides a welcome and necessary step in terms of helping them to find direction in their own lives. The project has provided stimuli and activities for young people as well as helping them to find their own direction in life. The largest benefits for service users have been seen in the areas related to the development of life skills, strengthening of self-confidence, a better understanding of their own development targets, activation and the clarification of future plans. There has also been a clear benefit for users in gaining knowledge and understanding of arts and culture activities and their related opportunities.
In the latter part of the project, special emphasis should be placed on the most effective practices, the implementation of new experiments, the development of cooperation in the field of youth work in the region and measures to ensure that the project can continue where applicable.