Supporting disadvantaged young people into meaningful work

An initial evidence review to identify what works and inform good practice among practitioners and employers

Newton B, Sinclair A, Tyers C, Wilson T |   | Institute for Employment Studies | Apr 2020

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The Youth Futures Foundation commissioned IES to undertake a rapid evidence assessment to identify what existing evidence was published about supporting disadvantaged young people to achieve employment outcomes, to inform the Youth Futures Foundation’s strategy and generate useful findings for the sector working with young people.

This report aims to identify the main evidence that already exists. It was a ‘rapid evidence assessment’ and included evidence that:

  • was about interventions targeting young people aged between 16 and 24, particularly those facing barriers,
  • measured the employment outcomes of participants,
  • was able to make a causal estimate of the impact on outcomes, i.e. it could account for what would have happened without the intervention.

The evidence base reported here was based on a three stranded approach:

  • A rapid evidence assessment: academic databases were interrogated using agreed search terms, and identified both interventions and reviews.
  • Search and review of relevant UK and international publications, sourced through a range of policy and research websites and contacts within youth employment research and policy.
  • A public call for evidence, co-launched with Youth Futures, aiming to draw out recent and relevant examples of practice from employability providers and recent policy evaluations in the UK.

The particular focus of the search was interventions targeting young people aged between 16 and 24. Shortlisted evidence was evaluated against the NESTA standards of evidence and was reviewed for quality prior to inclusion in the review. Evidence that met standard 3 – ‘You can demonstrate causality using a control or comparison group’ – was prioritised.

The report uses an analytical framework as its organising structure. This covers:

  • identification and engagement of young people;
  • advisory support;
  • increasing capability and reducing barriers;
  • employer focused strategies; and
  • retention and progression strategies.