Under-25-year-olds without qualification from vocational skills training

Are you under 25 and with no vocational skills education beyond comprehensive school or upper secondary school? Slightly abnormal provisions on unemployment benefits apply to you. The situation changes when you have acquired vocational education or training or participate in services that promote employment.

Services promoting employment include:

  • job search and career coaching
  • education and work trials
  • labour market training
  • independent study by an immigrant supported by an unemployment benefit
  • independent study supported by an unemployment benefit
  • rehabilitative work activity.

You must be at least 25 years old to start independent studies supported by an unemployment benefit.

Labour market subsidy for people aged 17

Due to the extension to compulsory education from August 1st 2021, are people under 18 not eligible for unemployment benefits during unemployment unless they have completed an upper secondary qualification (a matriculation examination or a vocational qualification).

People under 18 are eligible

  • to unemployment benefit during unemployment and services that promote employment if you have completed your compulsory education
  • to labour market subsidy during unemployment and services that promote employment if you have completed a matriculation exam and a vocational qualification
  • to labour market subsidy only during services that promote employment if you have completed a matriculation exam

People under 18 might also be eligible for unemployment benefits if the compulsory studies are laid down according to the reasons mentioned in the law of compulsory education like long-term illness, parental leave, temporary stay abroad or other weighty reason.

Those under 25 are obligated to apply for training

If you are under 25 years of age and you have not completed post-primary or post-secondary education leading to a qualification and providing vocational skills, proceed as follows:

  • Always apply in the spring for education that starts in the autumn which leads to a degree, and which gives professional skills.
  • The training does not have to be part of the joint application system. You may also apply to a university or university of applied sciences, for example.
  • If you have only completed comprehensive school, you may also apply for places to study in upper secondary schools intended for young people i.e. upper secondary schools comprising at least 75 courses.
  • Apply for at least two study places whose selection criteria you meet.
  • Take part in the entrance examination and other events related to applying for education.
  • If you are offered a place to study, accept it and start your studies.

If reasons related to matters such as your state of health or language skills, prevent you from applying to study, discuss the matter with an expert from your TE office. In such a situation, it is possible to agree that the obligation to apply to study can be met in some other way, than the one described above. You can also compensate not applying for training by agreeing that you will participate in another service.

Make sure you don't lose your unemployment benefit

If you are still unemployed at the beginning of the autumn term, inform the TE Office of the places you have applied to. If you have not applied for a training without a valid reason, you will lose your entitlement to unemployment benefit from the beginning of the autumn term, i.e. from 1 September, indefinitely.

You will also lose your unemployment benefit indefinitely, if you turn down a place to study without a valid reason, you do not start the studies, or you discontinue studies that lead to a degree, give professional competence, or comprise upper secondary school studies for young people.

To receive an unemployment benefit you are not required to apply in the autumn for education that begins in the spring. However, if you do apply for education in the autumn and you receive a place to study, but fail to start your studies in the spring, you will lose your right to unemployment benefits indefinitely.

Your right to an unemployment benefit will be restored if one of the following criteria is fulfilled:

  • You have completed a vocational qualification.
  • You have spent at least 21 calendar weeks working at a job that meets the conditions of being employed, which means that you have worked at least 18 hours a week, taken part in services that promote employment, studied full time, or worked full time as an entrepreneur or at your own job.
  • You reach your 25th birthday.

If you have lost your right to an unemployment benefit as described above, you will still receive an unemployment benefit during the service if you participate in

  • Work try-outs
  • Other services promoting employment.

Kela may assign you a waiting period for labour market subsidy, only after which, you will be entitled to labour market subsidy. The maximum length of the waiting period is 21 weeks.

Eligibility requirements for applicants under 25 years (kela.fi)

Instructions for customers in local government pilots on employment 

If you are a customer of the local government pilot on employment, under 25 years of age and have not completed an education leading to a qualification and providing vocational skills after comprehensive school or general upper secondary school, you have to apply for education.  

See the instructions on this page about the joint application process. If reasons related to e.g. your health or language skills prevent you from applying for an education, you should discuss with an expert in your municipality of residence about how to compensate for the obligation to apply for studies.  

If you are 17 or 18 years old and a customer of the local government pilot on employment, the prerequisites for receiving labour market support described on this page also apply to your services. 

Jobseekers’ services during the local government pilots