On February 14, 2022, the Presidential Palace hosted a meeting of the Youth Council, functioning within the National Development Council. The topic of the meeting was the presentation of the report “Conversations with the Young about Poland”, which is a summary of the #YouthPalace consultation cycle. The meeting was attended, among others, by Bogna Janke – Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Łukasz Rzepecki – Advisor to the President of the Republic of Poland, Chairman of the Council, and Piotr Drzewiecki – expert of the Institute for the Development of Legal Education and Civil Society and also co-author of the report.

What problems does the report point to?

Failure to take into account volunteering – as an additional factor – when qualifying for higher education, was reported by scout organizations, the Council for Children and Youth at the Ministry of Education, the student organization ESN Poland and young trade unionists. Only high school graduation results are taken into account in the recruitment process for most majors. What is overlooked, however, is the additional activity of young people, including in particular – volunteering.

Despite many changes in this area, the issue of preparing young people to enter the labor market remains a problem. Vocational counseling for young people is often not sufficiently individualized, and at the same time insufficiently familiarizes young people with the basic formal conditions of professional activity. The young themselves say: “We don’t distinguish between an employment contract and a contract of mandate, between gross and net wages. We don’t understand the contribution system.” Alongside the problem of the quality of vocational counseling is the issue of its accessibility to young people. Classes in schools often do not meet their expectations or there are not enough of them. As a representative of the youth council from the Lower Silesian province said: “We had a mere 10 hours of counseling in the last grade. This is definitely not enough!” Young people are also unaware of their labor rights. The prevailing message is that a young worker is worth less than an experienced one. During a meeting with representatives of one of Wielkopolska’s NGOs, the following words were said: “It is already the case that the required experience disqualifies younger people, who, after all, are just gaining it.”

As we can read on the President’s website, the #YoungPalace consultation began on December 11, 2020, with a meeting with members of the board of directors of the association Polish Council of Youth Organizations. Meetings and consultations with representatives of the young generation were aimed at learning about their problems and jointly finding ideas for solving them. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of the scheduled meetings were held in hybrid or remote form. The last meeting of the first series of #YouthPalace consultations was held on July 15, 2021 and its participants were representatives of party youth.

We encourage you to read the entire report – it is available at www.prezydent.pl and in the link below: