New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has said that charities working with young people need to do more to measure the softer outcomes which impact upon youth employability.
As part of the ongoing Inspiring Impact programme the charity think tank and consultancy has today launched The journey to employment, a new report which looks at the key factors which influence young people’s ability to get a job and how these can be effectively measured.
New figures released yesterday show that for January to March 2013 there were 958,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds, representing an unemployment rate of 20.7%, down 0.1 percentage points from October to December 2012.
Thousands of voluntary sector organisations across the country work with many of these young people, trying to support them into employment.
It is hoped that The journey to employment —based on from the literature and insights from consultation with experts—will help charities and funders to better understand how to measure and improve the effectiveness of their work.
The journey to employment features a simple framework which maps the seven key factors found to play a key part in youth employability.
These are: (1) Personal circumstances; (2) Emotional capabilities; (3) Attitudes to work; (4) Employability skills; (5) Qualifications, education and training; (6) Experience and involvement; and (7) Career management skills.
Dawn Plimmer, NPC consultant and co-author of The journey to employment, said: "Some of the factors associated with employability such as qualifications, training and job outcomes, are obvious and easy to measure.
"But charities told us that employability skills, such as teamwork and communication, and emotional capabilities, including self esteem and empathy, are hugely important, often more so than qualifications, for the young people they support.
"More needs to be done to help charities measure these softer outcomes in a simple but robust way if we are to demonstrate their value.
"We hope that by helping charities and funders think about developing a more shared understanding of what and how to measure, the sector will be better positioned to make the case for what matters to it and its beneficiaries, and ultimately improve our understanding of what works in getting young people into employment."
The journey to employment includes suggestions as to how organisations working with young people can measure all seven of these outcomes, as well as the quality of employment gained.
If charities adopt a shared approach to measurement this will not only save them the resources required to develop their own tools, but also has the added advantage that we will be able to compare the results of different interventions, and develop the evidence base on what works.