The youth work of the Finnish 4H organisation is based on our values Head, Heart, Hands and Health. The core of 4H youth work is formed by educational thinking, the Three steps to employment model, and the Deeds near and far model.

The aim of 4H is to raise active, responsible and entrepreneurial young people. The method for achieving this is ’learning by doing’, based on the ideas of American educator John Dewey.

4H engages in civic education, which focuses on fostering entrepreneurship and preparing young people for working life. Entrepreneurship is taught through the experiential learning model of educational theorist David A. Kolb. The Deeds Near and Far model forms the basis of the civic education carried out by 4H. Preparing young people for working life and training them to become entrepreneurs takes place through the Three Steps to Employment model.

Three Steps to Employment model

Three Steps to Employment model

The Finnish 4H organisation has developed this operating model in response to challenges currently facing young people who risk becoming marginalised in society. It supports the development of life skills in young people, and prepares them for working life and entrepreneurship. The model offers a variety of alternatives for reaching the aims of the the Youth Guarantee.

’Three steps to employment’ comprises the key elements of 4H youth work, which are group activities, education, employment and young people’s enterprises.

Group activities

The most important form of group activity is the 4H Club for children over the age of six. 4H associations are responsible for organising club activities locally. The clubs are run by volunteers who are trained for the work by 4H. One of the most important tools for the children, youngsters and volunteer leaders alike is the continually renewed and developing TOP Task Bank. The clubs’ activities are annually boosted by the national TOP competition and the 4H Club of the Year competition.

Working life skills of the young

Young people over the age of 13 receive basic skills for working life at our ’License to work’ courses. Those who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs can get information about entrepreneurship and founding your own business at the 4H entrepreneurial courses.

Employment for young people

In 4H, a young person who is 13 years of age and older can find work, either with the 4H organisation or another employer that the organisation arranges. Jobs conveyed by 4H can be offered by private citizens, municipalities or companies. 4H associations take on all the obligations of the employer.

Young people can employ themselves by establishing their own 4H enterprise and are guided in this by 4H enterprise mentors. The 4H Enterprise of the Year is named in an exciting annual competition with participants from all over Finland .

The Deeds Near and Far operating model

This operating model comprises the citizenship education of the Finnish 4H organisation. It combines support for the activities of the young with the activities of the young themselves. 4H wants to provide young people with opportunities to gain knowledge and learn new skills, to participate and have an impact – in short, to become active citizens. Young people have both the ability and the skills to actively work for good in their local communities and the world at large.

Being an active citizen means taking part in practical deeds that increase welfare, near and far. The deeds cover areas close to the heart of 4H: gardening and green environments, forest and nature, animals, home and kitchen, skilled hands, technology, internationalism , communication and interaction skills, work and money as well as environment and recycling. Sustainable development is the basis for all these deeds.