Education until 18 aims to ensure that all young people complete an education beyond compulsory school. Often, organisations engaged in youth work are closest to the target group and understand the concerns young people have. In this respect, they are an important resource in the effort to enhance the education of young people.
Compared with young people who have completed an education, young people who have only attended compulsory school have a three times higher risk of becoming unemployed later in life, and a four times higher risk of finding only unskilled jobs in comparison to young people with education. In many cases, the income earned by people with low education remains low throughout their life. They might even experience health or social problems. The duty to complete an education aims to guarantee that young people who need help after finishing compulsory school will receive support.
It is vital to raise the awareness for the important role of post-compulsory education or training even before compulsory school attendance ends. In this regard, organisations and institutions engaged in youth work can make a significant contribution. The earlier children or youths develop this awareness, the better are the chances that they continue school or education.
Young people often lack the connection between their personal strengths, interests and career choice, while some are confronted with stressful problems. It is therefore vital for young people to become aware of their strengths, interests, talents and aptitudes so that they can confidently use these as resources in the education and training process.
This is why Education until 18 is not “only” about ensuring post-compulsory qualification for young people. It also comprises preventive offers, best possible support for youths and their parents, as well as an optimization of the education and training offers.
Austria has a good support system for young people who are at a risk of marginalisation. Many institutions and organisations contribute to this. All parties involved – be it schools, parents or all stakeholders in youth work – are called upon to assist young people in the transition from compulsory school to post-compulsory education or training and to cooperate as provided for under Education until 18:
Together, they form a support network for young men and women.
Above organisations and institutions are requested to assist with the preparation of an individual pathway or support plan for the young man or woman and, if purposeful, make it possible for him or her to resume or continue an education.
Coordinating offices ensure that young people who fail to fulfil their duty to complete an education receive appropriate support.
To become active, the coordinating offices need comprehensive information on young people who dropped out of an education or support measure or failed to begin with it. This is why – aside from the parents and schools – the following institutions are also required to report the data of the young people they train or support to Statistik Austria:
This is to ensure that drop-outs are detected as early as possible and intervention measures can be taken.
Reports must be submitted three times a year to permit prompt intervention for those youths without an education status. Statistik Austria coordinates the transmitted data to filter out those young people who are not completing any education. The data of these youths is transmitted via the Social Service Office to the responsible coordinating office. The coordinating office at the place of residence of the young person is responsible.
The coordinating offices ensure that the circumstances are reviewed based on the submitted reports and that the required support measures are implemented promptly. In doing so, they work together with the organisations and institutions involved (e.g. youth centres sponsored by the Federal Government and the states, schools, apprenticeship offices, companies and AMS).