On the 23rd of March 2017 a representative conference on “25 years of social work in Tallinn – how to go on?” took place in Tallinn. At the plenary, Geomedia consultant Rivo Noorkõiv presented on and discussed the topic of “The Future of Social Work – into the hands of citizens?” Estonia is a state facing an ageing and shrinking working age population. To ensure the sustainability of the social system it is necessary to rethink the role of social work, which should create more added value than before and at the same time ensure flexible solutions for the population’s well-being and sense of security. The results of the World Happiness Report 2017 showed Estonia ranking 66 among the states included. The shortened life-span of working skills and achievement of higher added value in the value chain cause the need for a new type of employment opportunities. Generations living seperately, the acceleration of people’s spatial mobility patterns, incl. the growing share of short-term migration, developments in service provision technologies and the global division of labor weaken the role of the nation(-state) in terms of the society’s welfare. Next to universal national measures, the need for alternative solutions is growing. These solutions are to a huge extent depending on value judgements, for example on the attitude towards solidarity and individual responsibility for coping in a changing society.
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