Youth Futures announces new Impact and Evidence leadership team

Sep 7, 2020

The Youth Futures Foundation has appointed a new team to build the evidence base of what works to support young people into meaningful work.

The Impact and Evidence team will be led by Director, Chris Goulden, who was previously Deputy Director of Evidence and Impact at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Chris has led JRF’s influential poverty research agenda for nearly two decades. He has a wealth of other experience as a researcher in the Home Office, Cabinet Office and the NHS and as a member of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Policy Expert Group. Chris is also a current member of the Social Security Advisory Committee.

Chris will be supported by two outstanding experts in youth employment, diversity and social mobility. Dr Jane Colechin, Head of Evidence and Evaluation, is a social researcher with a decade of experience working on high profile labour market, education and welfare reform evaluations and studies. Jane has particular expertise in theory-led evaluations and ensuring co-design is part of evaluation and programme delivery and that rigorous and youth-informed principles are used in all of YFF’s evaluation and evidence processes.

Recently appointed Head of Research, Sope Otulana, joins Youth Futures from Oxford Policy Management where she was the Gender, Equity and Social Inclusion Lead. Sope’s expertise is in mixed methods research, and she has 10 years’ experience of conducting research with vulnerable, at-risk and disadvantaged people. Sope has worked on global studies and research in 17 countries. Some will lead our work using research to help policy makers, practitioners and employers make smart decisions about supporting young people towards and into work.

Chris Goulden commented:

“I’m extremely delighted to be taking up this exciting new role at the Youth Futures Foundation. With a deep recession looming and unemployment rising, stopping a generation of young people from being trapped in poverty is one of the most important issues facing us as a country right now.

“I want to bring the best evidence to bear on innovative solutions that create opportunities for all young people to thrive. I look forward to taking on this challenge, working alongside young people themselves and with my new colleagues and partners at Youth Futures.”

Youth Futures Foundation Chief Executive, Anna Smee, commented:

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Impact and Evidence Team. We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for talent to join the Youth Futures Foundation at this exciting point in our journey. The work of this team will be at the heart of what we do. In Chris, Jane and Sope, we have secured a breadth of experience, expertise and passion for empowering young people which will drive our work forward and help to realise our ambitions.”

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