Annual review 2023

Reflecting on our work across 2023 as the national What Works Centre for youth employment


Getting young people on a successful and rewarding path to work is an essential first step in their long-term wellbeing, and key to our country’s prosperity.

This report details our work across 2023 finding and generating high-quality evidence and putting that into action with policy makers and employers who have the means to bring about system change for marginalised young people.

2023 in numbers: - 27 research and evaluation papers published - 25,301 cumulative total of young people engaged -£15m additional Dormant Assets funding awarded for Building Futures - 8,640 visits to Youth Employment Toolkit

Highlights from 2023 include launching our Youth Employment Toolkit and our Data Dashboard to make high-quality evidence visible and accessible to decision makers.

We published 27 research and evaluation papers, building our understanding of the barriers to employment facing marginalised young people. These included our Discrimination and Work report, which reflected the views of 3,250 young people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and research exploring risk factors associated with young people becoming NEET.

We launched our first randomised controlled trial with 1625 Independent People, as well as our first employer and partnerships strategy which is already building a huge amount of momentum and influence in this space.

We continued to deliver our flagship Connected Futures programme and launched Building Futures, a £15 million early NEET prevention pilot programme.

We grew our team across our three locations in London, Birmingham and Leeds, and welcomed new board and committee members with a breadth of skills and experience.

We also welcomed our second cohort of Future Voices Group ambassadors, whose lived experience and perspectives are crucial to our success.

Read the full report for more details.

Across 2024 we will continue to build on the strong foundation we have laid in 2023.

As we deliver the final year of our current strategy our focus includes: growing our knowledge of barriers faced by specific groups of young people, testing interventions with employers, evolving our evidence tools, engaging and influencing key actors who can make change happen, and defining our new strategy.

Comprehensive report covering strategic report, directors’ report and financial report for 1 January to 31 December 2023.

Download the PDF 

“I am thankful to all those who have worked in partnership with Youth Futures Foundation to make some real progress in understanding what works in reducing youth unemployment.”

Barry Fletcher, CEO, Youth Futures Foundation

“Given the scale of the problems we
are facing, I am encouraged by our achievements so far, particularly those that have been informed by working with so many talented and driven young people.”

Seyi Obakin, Chair, Youth Futures Foundation

Case studies

Cumbria Youth Alliance

Our grantees CEO Becky Wolstenholme and Youth Ambition Lead Gary Frazer talk about how our funding has shaped their work.

Amber Fundation

CEO Paul Rosam reflects on the difference our support is making to Amber Foundation and to the wider youth homelessness sector.

Skip to content