To measure the social and economic impact of Talent Match, we commissioned an Evaluation and Learning contract, led by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University, with its partners; the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick and Cambridge Economic Associates.
The evaluation tracked the journey of all the young people on the Talent Match programme, and assessed the support models provided by the partnerships to understand what works and why when supporting disadvantaged young people into employment. It also draws together lessons for future policy and practice. The final evaluation reports completed in June 2020 include:
1. Talent Match Evaluation: A Final Assessment
- provides a final summary of the key findings from the evaluation; and
- draws together what the programme achieved and sets out lessons for future policy and practice.
2. Talent Match Evaluation: Understanding the Impact and Value of Talent Match
- assesses the difference Talent Match has made in relation to young people’s progression in employment;
- considers the extent to which the outcomes are a result of the programme; and
- assesses the value for money and set out the costs and financial benefits of the programme.
3. Talent Match Evaluation: Comparative Report
- explores the design of Talent Match and locates the programme in the context of wider employment policy and programmes; and
- compares the design of Talent Match to the Work Programme, the most prominent, publicly funded source of unemployment services to young people.
There is also a supporting technical appendix which sets out the approach and data collection methodology.
All of the evaluation reports can be found on the Talent Match Evaluation reporting pages. They are accompanied by a blog, written by the Evaluation Director, setting out the urgent lessons from Talent Match to support the Covid-19 crisis.
Talent Match was a very different approach to youth employment, focused on the needs, talents and aspirations of each individual young person, and heavily focused on those furthest from the labour market.
A total of 25,885 young people were supported by Talent Match. Of these, 11,940 (46 per cent) secured some form of job, including 4,479 (17 per cent) who secured sustained employment for more than 6 months or self employment for more than 12 months.
Talent Match involved young people both at the design stage of the national programme and in the development of the 21 separate regional partnerships. This person-centred approach has proved as valuable for its effects on wellbeing as its economic benefits and shown the importance of effective local partnerships in tackling complex social and economic challenges.
Learning highlighted in the evaluation reports from the experience of Talent Match, includes:
- The involvement of young people improved the quality of service provided and increased the programme’s innovation and legitimacy. Lessons in co-production can be drawn from Talent Match for future practice
- The value of person-centred approaches and high-quality key-working relationships, were found to be crucial to initial and ongoing engagement
- Talent Match was an explicitly voluntary sector led programme, the breadth and influence of partnerships demonstrated that voluntary and community sector organisations are effective leaders of cross-sector partnerships
- Rather than generalise as to the barriers young people faced and offer a one size fits all, the programme took an approach which focused on the needs, talents and aspirations of each young person
- Talent Match helped support participants to improve their wellbeing: 70 per cent of those who gained a job reported improved life satisfaction; and 60 per cent for those who did not gain a job. Talent Match participants moving into work reported high levels of job satisfaction
- Talent Match had a test and learn ethos enabling programmes to be responsive and change the ways services and activities were delivered during their lifetime
- Young people were positive about the voluntary nature of Talent Match, which also enabled Talent Match to reach out to a more diverse range of young people
- Young people with often multiple needs continue to face significant barriers in entering employment, including low levels of wellbeing and poor mental health.
- Talent Match provides examples of how young people can be positively supported at a local level and confirms that this support for some needs to be provided over the long term
Interim Learning and Reports
More than 1,500 young people were involved in the running and leadership of the Talent Match projects. As a result, during the lifetime of the programme, we found a number of proven and promising practices from across the Talent Match Partnerships. These interim insights are outlined in three key areas: