Definition of the target group(s)
- 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 job seekers, in particular those aged up to 25;
- non-Polish nationals.
Specific support measures
Counselling and guidance
Schools for adults, continuing education centres, practical training centres and retraining and in-service training centres provide counselling and guidance, referred to as psychological and educational support.
Public schools for adults provide psychological and educational support in ongoing work with learners and in the following forms:
- courses related to the choice of a training area and career and education and career planning;
- guidance and counselling sessions;
- workshops and training.
Some central and local government bodies and non-governmental organisations also organise one-off, periodic or occasional consultancy meetings on issues related to the national legislation or social problem prevention.
Voluntary Labour Corps
The Voluntary Labour Corps (VLC) (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy, OHP) carries out tasks of the State related to the employment and prevention of marginalisation and exclusion, and to the education and training, of young people.
The VLC is a state institution which specialises in activities benefiting young people, in particular young people at risk of social maladjustment, and unemployed people aged up to 25 years.
The VLC’s activities aim, in particular, to enable young people:
- to acquire vocational qualifications and complete primary education if they have not finished primary school or do not continue education upon finishing primary school;
- complete a general and vocational education programme at post-primary level.
To achieve these aims, the VLC:
- conducts educational and training activities;
- makes arrangements for young people (‘VLC participants’) 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 years 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 people who seek a job or wish to change their job or occupation;
- unemployed people;
- school graduates;
Young people below the age of 18 may continue general education and acquire vocational qualifications at the VLC. The VLC organises learning, 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 according to the rules applicable to juvenile workers. Thus, young people are entitled to social security benefits, and the period of vocational training is counted towards the total employment period.
The VLC provides continuous educational support to participants and encourages them to develop their artistic and athletic abilities. It also organises tourist 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 the 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 guidance,
- job placement,
- career guidance and information,
- active job-seeking workshops,
- training courses,
- labour market programmes.
Career guidance is provided as part of 5 types of service:
- individual career counselling sessions,
- group career counselling sessions,
- individualised career information,
- career information for groups.
- remote career counselling (by phone, online).
These services are offered via:
- Mobile Career Information Centres (on-site and off-site sessions);
- Youth Careers Centres (on-site sessions).
As part of its job placement services, the VLC supports its participants and alumni, and young people at risk of social exclusion by:
- helping them in job searching:
- 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 co-funded by the European Social Fund, young people can, for example, acquire vocational qualifications necessary to find employment.
As part of its structure, the VLC has an information-and-consultancy centre, the Electronic Centre for Youth Mobilisation, ECYM, (Elektroniczne Centrum Aktywizacji Młodzieży, ECAM). The ECYM offers services to:
- young people;
- carers / guardians;
- people interested in the activities of the VLC units.
The ECYM has:
- an info-line;
- an online portal for young people;
- social media sites.
The Centre has been established under the project ‘The VLC as a labour-market service provider’ supported by the European Social Fund.
The VLC also operates:
- a national telephone info-line (telephone number: 19524) which provides information on support offered by labour offices and the VLC;
- a website of the ‘Green Line’ Information-and-Consultancy Centre of the Employment Services.
(Act of 20 April 2004 on the Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions (as subsequently amended) / Ustawa z dnia 20 kwietnia 2004 r. o promocji zatrudnienia i instytucjach rynku pracy)
Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 22 July 2011 on the detailed tasks and organisational arrangements for the Voluntary Labour Corps) / Rozporządzenie Ministra Pracy i Polityki Społecznej z dnia 22 lipca 2011 r. w sprawie szczegółowych zadań i organizacji Ochotniczych Hufców Pracy)
Entities which offer continuing education courses in non-school settings are required to provide organisational and technical conditions for the participation of people with disabilities in education.
Aims of education and methods for accomplishing them, as set out in curricula for adult education in non-school settings, should provide space for individual work of learners who take qualification courses or other programmes in non-school settings, depending on their needs and abilities.
(Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 19 March 2019 on continuing education in non-school settings). / Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 19 marca 2019 r. w sprawie kształcenia ustawicznego w formach pozaszkolnych)
Conditions for the conduct, and forms of, vocational exams are adapted to the type of disability for people who hold a disability certificate from a medical doctor and take such an exam after completion of a vocational qualification course or as external candidates. These support measures are available to blind people and those with vision impairment; deaf and with hearing impairment; with a physical / motor disability, including aphasia; with a mild intellectual disability or autism, including Asperger’s syndrome.
Learners in schools for adults are entitled to financial support until they complete education, but not longer than until they reach the age of 24.
People in a difficult financial situation, unemployed people, people seeking or changing their job and people with disabilities may also receive support from the welfare services under programmes targeted at these groups.
Where public institutions and centres providing continuing education in non-school settings charge fees for such services, people in a difficult financial situation may apply to the head of the institution / centre for:
- an extension of the fee payment deadline;
- permission to pay the fee in instalments;
- full or partial exemption from the fee.
The head of a public institution / centre may grant full or partial fee exemption to a person with low income.
(Welfare Act of 12 March 2004 (as subsequently amended) / Ustawa z dnia 12 marca 2004 r. o pomocy społecznej).