We develop: Offering young people the chance of a good career and life

15.3.2024Tiina LeinoWe develop

The Tour4Youth project aims to assist young people in the tourism, hospitality and restaurant sector make a smooth transition to a good working life. At the heart of the project are both the skills of individuals and the needs of businesses. The international aspect of the project brings with it the magic that is always present and attractive in the tourism sector!

Two men looking at a laptop.

It is in the interest of society as a whole that everyone has access to jobs that match their skills and education. For young people in particular, the first job is essential. The first job determines the start of a career and the way a young person engages in work life and adapts to it. Being a meaningful part of the work community gives a sense of belonging and, of course, the salary to support personal life. Being part of society as a worker and taxpayer allows an individual to plan and manage their own life. When work and income are compatible, young people are able to plan their lives ahead. Pursuing one's own dreams becomes possible - starting a family, having the kind of housing one wants and having a balanced leisure time to support successful working and career planning.

In the tourism sector, workers are often employed on a part-time or seasonal basis, with a strong emphasis on female employment. The share of young people in the sector is concentrated in short-term employment in Finland, the Nordic countries and globally. Part-time employment has made the sector less attractive, and thus, it is not always seen as an opportunity for a sustainable, quality career. However, young Finns generally consider tourism as an attractive career option. From the point of view of a skilled workforce, there are many opportunities for the growth and development of the tourism sector in Finland.

In the future, the need for foreign labour will increase due to demographic changes. Statistics on the employment of international labour in Finland indicate that this change is already underway. The number of unemployed foreign jobseekers has fallen and the number of unemployed foreigners under 25 years of age has decreased practically throughout the country. Similarly, the employment rate has risen, so the trend is positive.

Employers are key to attracting talent to the tourism sector

As a result of the above changes, the tourism industry is not only a competitive and labour-intensive industry, but also a global one. This must be taken into account in Finnish working life and in the tourism sector. All in all, the tourism sector, like other sectors, will change as a result of technological developments and the effects of climate change, among other things. These will cause disruptive changes in the tourism sector, which will fundamentally alter the range of services, customers and job profiles. The role of employers in this change is fundamental and it is important to organise work and related activities to respond and adapt to these changes. All in all, this change is likely to mean changes in client segmentation and hence in the strategy of the company, in the organisation of these activities and, further, in the roles and responsibilities of its employees. Change offers opportunities for renewal for tourism businesses.

Producing the tourism workforce of the future

Tour4Youth, a holistic skills development programme, supports young people's opportunities for meaningful, quality careers. The Tour4Youth project is built to respond to the changes facing individuals, businesses and societies. To meet these global challenges, engaging both full-time, long-term and short-term employees requires addressing strategic changes in the skills and job descriptions of recruits. This is possible through business development and contemporary management and leadership approaches. Psychological safety at work promotes commitment to the job and enables employees to come up with ideas for improvement, take responsibility for their own actions and propose solutions.

The Tour4Youth programme offers young people a three-step program to develop their career management skills, self-awareness, and learning at work, also internationally. In this way, the competitiveness of young people in the labour market is developed. The target group is 15-24-year-old students and unemployed graduates in the tourism, hospitality, and restaurant sectors. The overall objective is to improve young people's chances of quality employment and careers in the HoReCa sector.

To address demographic challenges, the project will be implemented through international cooperation in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. The target groups include Finns, Estonians, and Latvians, but also citizens of other countries who have migrated to these countries. Thus, the internationalisation of the tourism sector in general and its employees becomes reality in the Tour4Youth project.

Three steps for identifying skills

As a first step to develop the skills of the participants, a 5-credit online course on career management and job-seeking skills with a focus on the HoReCa sector is offered. The course will broaden and deepen young people's understanding of the sector, themselves, and the requirements for building a sustainable career. Successful completion of the course will provide a certificate of competence, which is good evidence of skills on a CV when applying for first jobs.

The second step is tailored meetings with employers. The meetings are both local, at local events, and international between Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. One of these events, RekryBoost, took place at SAMK on 6 February with around 20 organisations from the sector and around 300 participants. Feedback from the event was good from participants and organisations. RekryBoost will also take place in 2025.

The third step is work placements. Supported, both financially and individually, traineeships allow young people to take their first steps in working life. In this case, the first steps of a work placement in a company provide the young person with an understanding and knowledge of the whole sector and environment. Traineeships are available both at home and abroad in other project countries (Estonia, Finland, and Latvia). Traineeships in the program last between 4 and 8 weeks.

Overall, the Tour4Youth project aims to support individuals to start good careers as part of a good life. The unique personal path of each individual participating in the program brings opportunities and a sense of achievement to both those starting their careers and those working on the project. It's great to be part of seeing and experiencing individual growth stories.

Did you know?

  • The online course can be used both by individuals to develop their skills and by educational institutions as course material
  • Institutions interested in the course or the Tour4Youth project are welcome to join the cooperation
  • Through Tour4Youth, you can bring your company to offer a traineeship and find a trainee


More information:

Tour4Youth is funded by Interreg Central Baltic Programme. The lead partner of the project is Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland; and the partners are Kurzeme Planning Region, Latvia; Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Latvia; Satakunta TE Office, Finland, and Pärnumaa Vocational Education Centre, Estonia.

Tour4Youth CMYK JPG


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