Many businesses wish that young people would behave better in their premises, and youth service professionals want young people to feel good. It is possible to combine these two objectives: young people who feel good behave better than those who do not.
The national youth service organisation Nuorten Palvelu ry is cooperating with Citycon to develop a training programme for shopping centre guards. The programme is not just about security – the purpose is to discuss young people and how to interact with them. Shopping centre tenants have also been invited to participate. The objective is to increase the participants' understanding of young people and youth, and to create harmonised procedures for the shopping centre's guards.
Five training events will be held in October–November in Citycon shopping centres across Finland. The first such event has resulted in a harmonised procedure for the shopping centre's entire staff, and a separate set of procedures for its guards. Issues discussed during the training event included new ways of working with young people, such as providing positive feedback, alternatives and justifications. These methods help guards cope with their work, while keeping interaction civil.
”The objective isn’t to turn guards into youth workers, but the tricks of the education trade can work equally well for guards, who are frequently faced with growing youngsters,” says Pauliina Lampela, the person at Nuorten Palvelu ry responsible for the training events.
”Young people are an important focus group in many ways; they’re just as much our customers as adults are. But we also want them to feel good at our shopping centres. At the same time, we want to make sure that everyday interaction between young people, guards, tenants and other customers goes smoothly. We’re not experts in youth work, which is why Nuorten Palvelu ry is a vital partner for us,” says Marko Juhokas, Senior Vice President, Development and Sustainability at Citycon.
Young people have made shopping centres their own. For some, they are the most important place for spending free time, and young people can spend several hours a day at shopping centres. This affects the daily work of shopping centre personnel, as young people can test limits and defy authority. For some young people, however, the security guard can be the one adult in their lives that represents security, being there and caring.
“At Forum, we have a tradition of close cooperation with local police, guards and the city's youth services. We’ve discussed solutions with them for meeting young people and potential problem situations. This is a fantastic follow-up to the work we have started. Following up the training programme in Jyväskylä, we’ve already arranged a cooperation network meeting with youth workers to continue the work started by the training,” says Forum's Shopping Centre Manager Aki Tuikka.
The training events will be held at Espoontori in Espoo, Forum in Jyväskylä, Koskikeskus in Tampere, Trio in Lahti and Myyrmanni in Vantaa.
Nuorten Palvelu ry works for the well-being of young people on their own turf. The cooperation with Citycon is part of the Youth of the Shopping Centres project managed by Nuorten Palvelu ry and funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
For further information, please contact:
Citycon, Shopping Centre Manager Aki Tuikka, tel. +358 400 783 811, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nuorten Palvelu ry and the Youth of the Shopping Centres project: Pauliina Lampela,
tel. +358 40 195 0502, email@example.com