- people with diverse educational needs, including people with disabilities;
- young people at risk of social maladjustment;
- unemployed people who are seeking a job or wish to change their occupation/job;
- people who are in a difficult financial situation, including unemployed people and jobseekers, particularly those aged up to 25;
- non-Polish nationals.
The Voluntary Labour Corps (VLC) (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy, OHP) is the main actor in this area and carries out tasks of the State related to the employment and prevention of marginalisation and exclusion, young people at risk of social exclusion as a result of social difficulties and unemployed people aged up to 25 years, and to the education and training, of young people. The VLC is a State institution, supervised by the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology. The VLC's activities aim to enable young people:
- to acquire vocational qualifications
- to supplement a primary education programme for persons who either have not completed primary school or who ended their education upon completing primary;
- complete a general and VET programme at the secondary level.
To achieve these aims, the VLC:
- conducts educational and training activities;
- makes arrangements for young people to attend a school or a school-education institution in consultation with the head of the regional education authorities and the bodies administering schools.
VLC activities are targeted at:
- young people aged 15 to 17 from families with parental incapacity issues, who do not participate in full-time or part-time compulsory education, have problems with finishing school and need to acquire vocational qualifications;
- young people aged 18-25 years, including those who seek a job or wish to change a job or occupation;
- the unemployed;
- school graduates;
Young people under the age of 18 can continue general education and attain vocational qualifications at the VLC. The VLC organises education while providing opportunities to acquire vocational skills and qualifications as part of on-the-job training. Employment and vocational training are based on individual employment contracts concluded in accordance with the rules applicable to young workers: they are entitled to social security benefits, and the period of vocational training is counted towards the overall employment period.
The VLC provides continuous educational support to participants and encourages them to develop their artistic and athletic abilities. It also organises tourism activities. Its interventions aim to prepare young people for an independent life when they leave the VLC. Around 30,000 young people benefit from this kind of support each year. People in a difficult financial situation are provided with free accommodation, meals and 24-hour educational care during their stay in residential VLC units.
Depending on age and educational attainment, learning takes place in:
- a primary school for adults (grades VII and VIII);
- a primary school with classes preparing for employment (grades VII and VIII);
- a stage I sectoral vocational school;
- vocational training courses.
The VLC provides the following services on a fee-free basis:
- career counselling;
- job placement;
- workshops and training.
Career counselling is provided as:
- individual sessions;
- group sessions;
- career information.
These services are offered via:
- mobile career information centres (on-site and off-site sessions);
- youth career centres (on-site sessions).
As part of its job placement services, the VLC supports its participants by:
- helping them with job search:
- initiating collaboration on youth employment or finding places for young people to undertake vocational training;
- job exchange platforms or fairs;
- the website (in Polish only) with permanent and temporary jobs in Poland;
- European job placement via EURES (services provided in 16 regional VLC stations);
- monitoring employment contracts for vocational training concluded by young people;
- monitoring practical vocational training undertaken by VLC participants.
Job placement services are offered by VLC youth education and employment centres through:
- youth labour offices;
- youth careers services.
The VLC carries out projects targeted at young people at risk of social marginalisation. As part of projects jointly funded by the European Social Fund, young people can acquire the vocational qualifications necessary to find employment. The VLC has an information and consultancy centre, which offers services to young people and their parents, employers and other people interested in the activities of the VLC units.
The ECYM offers an info-line, an online portal (https://dokariery.pl/strona-glowna) and social media profiles. The VLC also operates a national telephone info-line (telephone number: 19524) which provides information on support offered by labour offices and the VLC; and a website https://zielonalinia.gov.pl, Information and Consultancy Centre of the Employment Services.
In the education system, public schools for adults, continuing education centres, practical training centres and further and in-service training centres provide psycho-pedagogical support for learners, including classes related to the choice of on-the-job training and career and education and career planning, individual and group career counselling. Some central and LGUs, and NGOs, also organise one-off, periodic or occasional consultancy meetings on issues related to the national legislation or social problem prevention.