New research highlights how to help young people into work

Apr 9, 2020

What works when it comes to getting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into employment? The Youth Futures Foundation has commissioned research to help inform practice and policy making at this crucial time for young people.

The report, Supporting disadvantaged young people into meaningful work written by the Institute for Employment Studies examines what we know about “what works”. Based on a rapid evidence assessment of evaluations that measured job outcomes for disadvantaged groups, it found that more evidence is needed that accurately estimates the additional impact of youth employment programmes.

Despite limited robust research, it draws out some useful findings for practitioners including the importance of:

  1. Effective engagement using activities like music and sport to attract participants
  2. Accurately understanding individual needs in order to personalise support packages
  3. A trusted, consistent advisor to help young people overcome barriers and achieve their personal goals
  4. Delivery of personalised help with vocational, academic and employability skills, job search, and work experience
  5. Addressing barriers to employment such as mental and physical health problems, and housing issues
  6. Wage subsidies and intermediate labour markets (i.e. creating short term, paid jobs where individuals receive support to help them transition to permanent roles)

It also highlights some promising national policies that have been designed to deal with past downturns with promising evaluations – such as the New Deal for Young People and the Future Jobs Fund.

“An impact assessment estimated that NDYP achieved a reduction in the order of around 30,000 of long-term unemployed young people (40 per cent).”

These insights should inform Government planning as we begin to understand the likely economic impact of Covid-19.

The Youth Futures Foundation is keen to build on this learning by undertaking further research into effective training and employment interventions that support young people towards and into good quality work. More information and details on how to apply for funding can be found here. Organisations interested in evaluating interventions funded by Youth Futures should get in touch with our Impact and Evaluation team here.


CEO of Youth Futures Foundation, Anna Smee, responds to the Prime Minister’s New Deal speech.


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