Follow-up evaluation of England's youth employment infrastructure

Diverse group of young people sitting in row in modern office and talking. Happy multi-racial men and women having interesting discussion, photo by Studio Romantic/Adobe Stock

Studio Romantic/Adobe Stock

What is the issue?

The Youth Futures Foundation (YFF) has invested in infrastructure organisations (IOs), third sector organisations whose main purpose is to provide support and services to frontline organisations working directly with young people. IOs may offer support, training, information and advice, act as advocates, promote communication and collaboration between frontline organisations, or seek to influence policy on behalf of them.

RAND Europe's first study on youth employment infrastructure showed how little is known about IOs and pointed that these are important 'system enablers' and a vehicle for better understanding and ultimately changing the youth employment system so that it better supports young people facing disadvantage. This study further examines the role IOs play in the youth employment system and in bringing about systems change.

How are we helping?

RAND Europe will carry out a study focusing on nine infrastructure organisations benefitting from the YFF’s Infrastructure Fund with three objectives in mind:

  • To better understand and help improve processes used by infrastructure organisations to identify and disseminate “practices that work” in youth employment (i.e. practices considered by infrastructure organisations or their network to be effective and/or suitable);
  • To examine the role that infrastructure organisations play in the system supporting young people employment, and the ways in which they can better support systems change; and
  • To help the YFF carry out their mission by supporting infrastructure organisations in identifying and disseminating “practices that work” and further leveraging connections of infrastructure organisations to affect the systems change.

The study revolves around four research questions:

  1. How do the funded infrastructures organisations identify practices ‘that work’?
  2. How do he funded IOs disseminate the practices ‘that work’ to their networks?
  3. To what extent and how do frontline organisations use practices ‘that work’ and other evidence disseminated by the funded infrastructure organisations?
  4. How do the funded IOs connect with other elements of the youth employment space?

RAND Europe is also providing capacity-building support to the grantees around their relation to “practice that work” and evidence-gathering.

This study will be informed by a mixed methods research design including:

  • regular interviews with infrastructure organisations, frontline organisations from the infrastructure organisations’ network, and the YFF and other stakeholders;
  • surveys with the infrastructure organisations’ networks;
  • deep dives centred on “practices that work”; and
  • analysis of secondary data collected by the stakeholders.