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One Of The Most "Painful" Problems Of Contemporary Russia- Youth Unemployment

Blagoveshensk is a city in the Russian Far East (Amur Oblast) near the border of China. It can easily be called "a city of students," as it has six institutions of higher education, 15 secondary specialized institutions, and eight elementary professional institutions. Not far from these quality establishments where young people may receive an education, however, there is an acute problem with youth job placement in the city. At present, research shows that unemployment is a problem of concern for 58% of young people. Aside from the tough competition in the job market, psychological and sociological factors are named among those negatively influencing job placement of graduates. Because they lack life experience, young people are often unsure in their own strengths and do not have the skills of self-presentation.

Unsuccessful attempts to find work by receiving a specialization brings young people to depression and psychiatric trauma, such much that it exacerbates social problems, such as drug addiction. Despite the obvious problems, no one in the city decided to take the first step on the journey to change the situation, and before this the organization of psychologists, "Hope," took that step.

The leader of the project, "Be Persistent/Insistent," Galina Kim, put forward the task at hand: to teach presentation skills to 12 groups of Blagoveshensk students; to teach them to conduct telephone interviews, to create a professional resume and introductory letter, and to further enable young people to feel confident of themselves when talking to employers and new work teams.

Groups, as part of training, formed into assemblies, which were then guided to the academic institutions of Blagoveshensk by the project leaders. The demand for these trainings was so strong that instead of 12 planning groups, there became 13-with 10-11 people in each group.

Lessons took place in the form of professional/business and role games, through new technologies, handled by the leaders of the project, and reflected in two basic themes: personal growth and the search for work.

In the trainings, students brought to the system knowledge about themselves, their life goals and tasks, and further formulated their professional images. This helped participants to form a better understanding of themselves, to put in order their presentations about themselves as specialists, and to favorably present themselves to future employers.

In the trainings and in individual consultations (for 2 hours with each), students formulated an image/way of work for themselves, to which they may find, the job search formulated to strategy and tactics.

At the end of training, every student took three brochures, "How to Find Your First Job," "Psychological Mood Before Interviewing with an Employer," and "Look for Work by Telephone," and further, preparing them independently in the process of training: an autobiography, a professional resume, and a cover letter-with these documents students, upon completing the course, joined in adult life

The results of the project were not forced to wait: from 135 participants, 47 immediately found work for themselves. And those who could not do this as quickly, are now so confident of themselves, that they have also all received jobs.

But this is still not all. During training a group of trainers was formed from 17 people, who in the future will work with youth, teaching people these methods that were mastered as a result of this progressive training. Aside from this, as a result of the project in Amur state university was created a service of adaptation, and job placement for student youth, equipping a special office for the service. The first steps in the program work to be done: creation of a vacancy bank and of a student bank.

The organization, having carried out the project, initiated an agreement on cooperation in deciding the problem of student job placement, which was signed by the Amur state university, department of federal state work employment, branch of youth and child affairs of the administration of Blagoveshensk. The topic of the agreement is joint activities to broaden the possibilities of job placement for students and graduates of BSU.

n October 1999, the NGO "Hope," specializing in psycho-social support of the population of Blagoveshensk, came to the realization that the project, "Be persistent: adaptation of youth to working life." During the project, 13 youth student groups were taught skills essential to the job search and for securing a work place.

Despite that this project was the first experience of the social organization in providing services to the population, it had a good practical result: 46 people out of 135 in the last training immediately found practical, appropriate work; in the Amur state university, work adaptation and job placement services for student youth was created; under the direction of the university, the federal department of government service employment, and the department for youth activities and childhood administration of Blagoveshensk, an agreement was signed to cooperate in deciding the problem of students job placement.

Having been completed, the project continues it's activities: the baton was accepted/received in preparation in the framework of the project, 17 trainers, who currently train the student youth of Blagoveshensk in the skills of self-presentation and increased appraisal/evaluation

Here are several impressions of the students:

Natalya: "I went home with a feeling of warmth and happiness, as in the training I began to understand myself."

Marina: "Until the class, I had a low sense of self-appraisal. Now I have discovered dignity not only of my own, but in the people who surround me. This helped me to better understand people. Now I understand, how to better present myself to employers, I know that there need not be despair, if I am not hired-if you want to achieve your goals, then it is necessary to try.

Vera: "Many students are drawn into themselves. Such a class helps to open them up, to become confident. To have some dignity.

Olga Ancha-RFE

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