Youth Coaching (Jugendcoaching)
Youth Coaching offers guidance for youth aged 14 and older. Its main target groups include students in 9th grade, youth who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) up to the age of 19 years, and youth with special educational needs up to the age of 24. It aims at reducing early school leaving and supporting students in choosing their future career and/or educational path. Participation in Youth Coaching is free and on a voluntary basis.
The professionally trained coaches (i.e. social workers or psychologists) provide individual information and counselling in a confidential atmosphere. The first step is an informal initial consultation with a coach, who provides information and gives advice. If further assistance is needed, youth are accompanied for a longer period of time (up to 30 hours in one year), where they receive career guidance and support in finding an apprenticeship/training place. Furthermore Youth Coaching involves an analysis of strengths and weaknesses and an individual plan with targets and support measures. If necessary, the youth coaches also contact the parents for support.
Youth Coaching started in 2012 as a pilot project in 2 Austrian provinces, Vienna and Styria. It has been implemented nationwide in 2013 by the Sozialministeriumservice (Service of the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs) on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education. Youth Coaching is funded by the Sozialministeriumservice and receives financial support from the European Social Fund. The implementation takes place via external partners of the Sozialministeriumservice (a list of the partners in 2018 can be found here). These partners collaborate closely with the schools. In order to identify students for whom Youth Coaching is recommended teachers and other school staff use the following checklist.
Youth Coaching has been evaluated by the Institute of Advanced Studies Vienna. The evaluation report indicates that the introduction of youth coaching in 2012 was a step in the right direction: 93,3 % of the participants finished the Youth Coaching process. Of these graduates 68 % could develop concrete career plans; 33% gained motivation; and 31% developed a more positive self-image; the latter applies particularly for youth with migrant background. (For further information see: Steiner, Mario/Pessl, Gabriele/Wagner, Elfriede/Karaszek, Johannes (2013): Evaluierung „Jugendcoaching“ – Endbericht. Wien: IHS. Online: http://www.equi.at/dateien/JU-Endbericht-IHS-ueberarbei.pdf.)