Our approach to what works

Our approach as a ‘What Works’ centre

Everything we do is guided by robust evidence of what works to support young people from marginalised backgrounds into good jobs. We learn from the projects we fund and scale up that learning to drive genuine, long-lasting systemic change.

As the What Works Centre for youth employment we work to the principle that good decision-making should be informed by the best quality evidence.

Our approach involves the creation and curation of evidence. We create evidence by funding programmes and putting high-quality evaluations in place to understand whether or not those interventions are effective. We curate evidence by gathering information from studies around the world into interventions that help young people into work.

When it comes to curating evidence, we are starting from a low base. Since the early 1990s, only around 400 studies of sufficiently high quality have been carried out into how to tackle youth unemployment. Of these, only a few were undertaken in the UK or England.

Since our launch, we have already funded the largest range of programmes of youth employment interventions for evaluation ever seen in this country, and we launched the world’s first Youth Employment Toolkit.

The toolkit is designed to provide a trusted and unbiased assessment of the available evidence, ensuring that current and future evidence is readily available. The toolkit is only based on high-quality impact studies, randomised controlled trials and Quasi Experimental Designs.

We are hopeful that the insights generated from the Toolkit and beyond will help inform policy and practice going forward, and we look forward to continuing to shape brighter futures for young people with partners and stakeholders.

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