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 an affiliate member of the national What Works Network, facilitated by the Cabinet Office, 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.

As for 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.

In 2020, we produced eight new pieces of analysis on what works to support marginalised young people towards and into work. This includes: analysis of key government policies such as the Kickstart programme and Youth Hubs; a rapid evidence review; and a review and recommendations to address the impact of Covid-19 on young people’s prospects.

We are currently commissioning evaluations for the programmes we have funded and will start to share our learnings with the relevant stakeholders from 2021.