The Journey to EmploymenT (JET) Framework

  • Date of release: 2014
  • Type: Outcome measures & surveys
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Cost: Free
  • Developer/Author: Inspiring Impact

Transitions to adulthood have become increasingly difficult as a result of the economic outlook and the breakdown of traditional pathways into work. To be prepared for work, young people need to develop a range of personal assets and skills, and gain experience. They may also need to address issues relating to their personal and family circumstances.

This framework is designed to help organisations that work with young people to understand and
measure the impact they have on a young person’s journey to employment. It identifies the
factors that affect young people’s journeys to work and presents a model that can be used by
organisations to help them think about their impact, map the outcomes they aim to achieve, and
decide how to structure an evaluation. It also provides a list of tools that can be used to evaluate
programmes.

The Journey to EmploymenT (JET) Framework

Outcomes and tools to measure what happens on young people’s journey to employment

 

John Copps and Dawn Plimmer

Updated by Ellen Harries, Angela Kail and Eibhlín Ní Ógáin

Contents

How to use this framework

Introduction

Section 1: The journey to employment

Section 2: The Journey to EmploymenT (JET) framework

Section 3: Choosing tools for measurement

Acknowledgements

References

How to use this framework

This framework helps organisations that work with young people understand and measure the impact they have on the journey to employment. It is divided into three sections.

Section 1

Section 1 identifies the factors that contribute to young people getting and sustaining a job. It discusses the influence of personal circumstances and identifies seven groups of skills, capabilities and experiences that can affect a young person’s chances of finding work. In this section we present evidence of each factor’s link to employment.

Section 2

Based on evidence from the literature and insights from consultation with experts, section 2 presents our framework for understanding a young person’s journey to employment. It identifies seven groups of factors that contribute to successful job outcomes: (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. It is a visual tool to help organisations think through their objectives and decide what to measure.

The framework can be used by organisations to help think through how their work contributes to young people’s employability, and plan approaches to evaluation.

Section 3

Section 3 presents a series of tools, covering each aspect of young people’s journey to employment identified in section 1 and 2. The tools have been drawn together from existing sources. The selection of tools reflects our assessment of robustness, cost, and ease of use.

The JET Pack: a guide to implementing the JET framework

The JET Pack is an eight-step guide designed to help organisations implement the JET framework—identifying what to measure, deciding how and when to measure, and using the resulting data to learn and improve. Download it from NPC’s website (www.thinkNPC.org) and use to help you put the framework into practice.

Organisations can also refer to a series of case studies profiling how a range of different youth organisations, including Cambridge House and vInspired, have used the JET resources.

Introduction

Tackling youth unemployment is a priority. Over 1 million young people are not in employment, full time education or training—almost 1 in 7 of all young people in the UK.[1] Transitions to adulthood have become increasingly difficult as a result of the economic outlook and the breakdown of traditional pathways into work.

To be prepared for work, young people need to develop a range of personal assets and skills, and gain experience. They may also need to address issues relating to their personal and family circumstances.

This framework is designed to help organisations that work with young people to understand and measure the impact they have on a young person’s journey to employment. It identifies the factors that affect young people’s journeys to work and presents a model that can be used by organisations to help them think about their impact, map the outcomes they aim to achieve, and decide how to structure an evaluation. It also provides a list of tools that can be used to evaluate programmes.

This framework was produced with input from charities and funders. It is designed for practitioners for whom understanding and measuring impact may be all or part of their job.

The problem of youth unemployment

In December 2013, 14.4% of young people aged 16 to 24 (1.04 million) were not in employment, full time education or training (NEET). Just over half of these young people classified as NEET were looking for work.[2]

These headline figures hide a mass of stories and experiences. Transitions to adulthood are becoming increasingly difficult because of the economic outlook, growing competition for jobs, and the breakdown of traditional pathways into work.[3] For some young people, lack of support in the home, a bad experience of school, or a traumatic event can be disruptive and throw them off course.

Spending a long period of time out of work is harmful to a young person’s future life chances and happiness.[4] Researchers have found evidence for a ‘wage scar’[5]: someone who is unemployed as a young person is likely to earn substantially less over his or her lifetime, is more likely to rely on state benefits, and has a greater chance of experiencing depression in early adulthood.[6],[7]

As well as reducing a person’s well-being, these consequences have substantial financial costs to society and the taxpayer. A study for the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations’ (ACEVO) Commission on Youth Unemployment found that, in 2012, youth unemployment was set to cost the UK exchequer around £4.8bn and the wider economy £10.7bn in lost output.[8]

Why understanding impact is important

Tackling youth unemployment is a priority. All organisations working with young people need to have a clear sense of what they want to achieve and how they are going to go about it. For charities and social enterprises, this is about having a positive impact on young people’s lives.

Understanding and measuring impact helps organisations to show what they achieve, identify problems, and learn how to improve. It is often required by funders, whether trusts or foundations seeking to demonstrate their charitable value, or government agencies keen to show value for money. Proving the impact of your work has other important functions too: to motivate staff, engage service users, and communicate outcomes to other stakeholders.

Shared measurement

Collectively, organisations that work with young people on their journey to employment do not have a common approach to assessing the progress of those they help. This hinders their ability to demonstrate value, learn from each other and improve their work.

A shared approach to measurement can make it easier for organisations to learn from each other, help them save on the cost of developing their own tools, and build the evidence base around what works. The idea of ‘shared measurement’ has two components. Firstly, it is about having a common understanding of what to measure. This is the purpose of the framework we present in this report, which can be used by a wide range of organisations to understand the outcomes that contribute to young people achieving sustainable employment. The second component is having a common understanding of how to measure—using common tools and approaches. This is the purpose of the list of tools for programme evaluation that we suggest in section 4.

In developing the framework, we drew on the key success factors identified in the Blueprint for Shared Measurement[9], which explores how to develop, design and implement successful shared measurement approaches based on an analysis of previous initiatives.

How we developed this framework

This guide was developed from a thorough review of literature and consultation with experts and practitioners. We drew on existing work on outcomes for young people and research on ‘employability’, including academic papers, research reports and various ‘grey’ literature. We met with employment advisors, government officials, programme managers and other experts to gain insights.

To guide the development of the framework, we established an advisory group of 19 experts. The group met twice and provided additional input during the development process. A full list of acknowledgements is included at the end of this document.

The tools have been tested throughout a piloting period from September 2013 to February 2014, and updated accordingly.

Section 1

The journey to employment

This section identifies the factors that contribute to a young person getting and sustaining a job. It covers the influence of personal circumstances and outlines seven groups of skills, capabilities and experiences that can affect a young person’s chances of finding work or setting up a business.

The end point: young people in employment

Helping young people to find a job and sustain it is the ultimate objective of all organisations working to improve the employability of young people, even if they do not directly seek it through their activities. The government’s Work Programme pays providers for a ‘job outcome’ after a participant on the programme has been in a job for three or six months, and then again every four weeks for up to two years (depending on how far they are from the labour market).[10] This definition of a ‘job outcome’ is simple and widely used across a range of employability programmes.

However, for some organisations working to help young people into work, this definition is too narrow. It tells us nothing about how young people reach this point, and the journey they have to make to get there. Moreover, getting a job is not the end of this journey. Ideally, they will have productive and fulfilling careers in their chosen area. Below we explore a broader definition of job outcomes.

Defining the journey

Evidence from the literature and insights from our consultation with experts show that achieving a successful job outcome depends on a number of factors. Below we identify seven factors that can impact a young person’s journey to work.

Individual young people may need support with all, some, or none of these. We know that everyone’s journey is different and there is not any single factor that guarantees success in the labour market.

Personal circumstances

    Sometimes referred to by practitioners as ‘barriers’ or ‘presenting needs’, these include access to resources (such as transport or the internet), risky behaviours (such as alcohol or drug problems), and family issues (such as caring responsibilities).

Emotional capabilities

    An individual’s ability to manage their emotions and persevere when setbacks occur. This includes personal assets such as self-esteem, and having grit and determination to succeed.

Attitudes

    An individual’s outlook and approach to learning and work. This includes their general feelings about participating in work and their aspirations.

Employability skills

    The attributes required to succeed in the workplace, and work with others. These include communication, teamwork and leadership skills.

Qualifications, education and training

    The acquisition of knowledge and experience through school, college or training. This includes qualifications and attainment, as well as conduct and behaviour.

Experience and involvement

    The activities young people participate in, and experiences they gain, outside school or college. These include work experience, involvement in the community, and networks developed as a result.

Career management skills

    The knowledge and skills required to find a job, including having career direction, an interest in enterprise, understanding how to search for jobs and present themselves to employers.

Towards a broader definition of job outcomes

The definition of a job outcome as getting a job and sustaining it for a set period of time is appealing in its simplicity. But once in work, young people’s experience and the fulfilment they get from their job is also important. This means quality of work—for example, salary, job satisfaction, and opportunities for progression—could (and perhaps should) be recognised in a broader definition of a successful job outcome.

Each of these areas is discussed in more detail below, with a description of the evidence for its link with employment outcomes.

Personal circumstances

A large number of personal circumstances are linked with a young person’s ability to find and sustain work. The outcomes factors listed below are not exhaustive, but include the main issues emphasised in the literature. Availability and cost of transport can be a significant constraint, hindering job search activities and the ability to sustain employment.[11] It is an issue that disproportionately affects young people and varies according to where they live. Access to the internet is important for finding, gaining and sustaining work. Research has shown that those who have access to the internet are more confident in their ability to get a new job, and find it easier to access careers advice.[12]

Family circumstances often affect young people’s employment opportunities. Young parents are the group most likely to spend a long period of time not in education, employment or training (NEET). Pregnancy or parenthood has been shown to increase a young person’s risk of being NEET for six months or more by almost three times.[13], [14] Unpaid caring responsibilities for someone who is sick, disabled or elderly also affect prospects—one in ten of those not in education, employment or training gave ‘family caring responsibilities’ as a reason for not continuing with education after age 16.[15]

Young people with physical disabilities or learning difficulties are over-represented in the NEET group and have lower prospects of securing employment, as well as lower average wages.[16] Young people with mental health disorders can suffer disruptions to their education and early career, and are less likely to be employed as an adult.[17]

Risky behaviours are associated with greater likelihood of being not in education, employment or training, although the relationship between cause and effect is often unclear. 71% of young people who are NEET report using drugs, compared with 47% of their peers.[18] Unemployed people are more likely to commit crime, and offenders are significantly more likely to be unemployed than the general population.[19]

Indicators

Access to transport: a young person is able to travel to access employment and training opportunities.

Access to the internet: a young person has access to the internet for education, training and job search.

Access to childcare: a young parent is able to manage responsibilities for caring for children alongside education, training and employment.

Access to support for young carers: a young person is able to manage unpaid responsibilities for caring for someone who is sick, disabled or elderly alongside education, training and employment.

Access to support for young people with physical and mental health problems: a young person with physical or mental health problems has improved access to education, training and employment opportunities.

Reduced substance abuse: a young person has reduced levels of drug and alcohol abuse.

Reduced offending/anti-social behaviour: a young person has reduced levels of offending/anti-social behaviour.

It is not always necessary or possible for an individual to fully and permanently overcome these circumstances to enter work. Evidence from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) employment support programmes suggests that in some cases marginal improvements can be enough to help someone secure a job.[20] However, difficulties are likely to continue or re-emerge in employment, and may require on-going management and support.

Emotional capabilities

Emotional capabilities are essential to live and work independently. A young person’s outlook on life is known to impact upon education and employment outcomes.

Young people with low self-esteem are less likely to attain post-secondary education and to be employed 14 years later.[21] Poor self-esteem is linked to job quality and degree of supervision in a job, and can be a good predictor of future earnings.[22], [23] An individual’s ‘locus of control’, or the degree to which they feel they have autonomy over their life, is also associated with earning potential.[24]

Studies have shown that possessing grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals, is linked to successful educational and career outcomes.[25] Research suggests that these characteristics are a more accurate predictor of a child’s academic and occupational success than cognitive ability.[26] Empathy, a person’s ability to understand and appropriately respond to their own and others’ emotions, is an important attribute when working with others. Employers place great value on emotional capabilities such as empathy, particularly as the number of service sector jobs increases.[27]

Indicators

Self-esteem: a young person has an improved perception of his or her own value or worth.

Autonomy and control: a young person has increased confidence in their ability to affect situations and have control over the direction of their life.

Grit and determination: a young person has increased perseverance and passion for long-term goals.

Empathy: a young person has an improved ability to understand the emotions of themself and others and respond appropriately.

Attitudes to education and work

Aspirations are important to motivate young people and provide a sense of purpose during their journey to employment. There is a link between educational aspirations and attainment: young people with higher educational aspirations exhibit greater motivation and attainment than their peers, as do those whose parents hold higher educational aspirations for them.[28]

Aspirations are also directly linked with likelihood of being in education, training or employment. Research using data from the British Youth Cohort Survey has found that young people with uncertain occupational aspirations, or aspirations misaligned with their educational expectations, are more likely to become NEET by age 18. Uncertainty and misalignment are both more widespread and more detrimental for those from poor backgrounds.[29]

Indicators

Aspirations: a young person has ambitious but realistic goals for the future.

Attitude and motivation to work: a young person has an improved outlook in relation to work, positivity towards getting a job and the idea of working for a living.

Aspirations for the future: a young person has positive aspirations for the future and feels confident they can achieve what they set out to.

Having a positive attitude to work is linked to improved employment outcomes. More than two fifths (42%) of 14 year olds who disagree strongly that having a job or career is important are NEET four years later.[30] In recent national surveys of employers, having a positive attitude and being motivated was identified as one of the attributes most lacking in education leavers.[31], [32] Other studies endorse this view, with employers reporting that they place more value on a good attitude than on basic skills when hiring low-skilled workers.[33]

Employability skills

Employability skills have an important bearing on success in the workplace, including future earnings. These skills, such as team working, communication, problem solving, and self-management, are highly valued by employers, often far more than educational qualifications.[34] The Confederation of British Industry’s annual employer survey consistently rates employability skills as the greatest priority when recruiting graduates, with 82% of respondents valuing these as important in 2011.[35] Many of these employers believe employability skills need improving. 55% reported that they were not satisfied with the self-management skills of school and college leavers, and 43% were not satisfied with problem solving abilities. The same survey also found that the development of employability skills is rated by employers as the highest priority for 14-19 education, ahead of standards of literacy and numeracy, and science and maths skills.

Indicators

Teamwork: a young person is able to work effectively with others.

Communication: a young person is able to effectively convey their opinion and interact with others.

Problem solving: a young person is able to generate ideas and develop solutions.

Self-management: a young person is able to organise themselves and their workload effectively, including timekeeping and planning.

Leadership: a young person is able or has potential to organise and provide direction for a group of people to achieve a common goal.

Research in the U.S. has found that non-cognitive traits among high school students, including leadership, industriousness and perseverance, predict higher occupational attainment and earning.[36] There is also evidence that individuals who develop leadership skills through holding positions at school are more likely to occupy managerial occupations as adults, and command higher wages.[37],[38]

Qualifications, education and training

Experience at school, college or in training, and what young people achieve during this time, has a significant effect on their future success in the workplace. Poor basic skills are associated with long-term unemployment.[39] People with poor numeracy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as those who are competent at numeracy.[40] 63% of men and 75% of women with very low literacy skills have never received a promotion.[41] IT skills are also linked to employment prospects, both due to the importance of IT in applying for jobs, and as a competency needed in the workplace. A survey by The Prince’s Trust of 1,378 15-25 year olds found that young people who are NEET are significantly less likely to use computers for job-search related tasks than their peers, largely due to a lack of confidence. 17% of the NEET young people surveyed believed that they would be in work if they had better computer skills.[42]

Achieving qualifications is linked to employment prospects and earning potential. The higher an individual’s qualifications, the more likely they are to be in employment.[43] Fewer than half of those with no qualifications are in work, compared to nearly 90% of those with graduate-level qualifications.[44] For example, some employers will only recruit graduates. Research has shown that the majority (60%) of large employers think that qualifications are a good indicator of the skills they require when recruiting.[45] Analysis of data from the UK’s national Labour Force Survey also shows links between the highest level of qualification gained and an individual’s earning potential. Employees educated to A Level or equivalent earned on average 15% more per hour than those educated to GCSE level, while those with a degree or higher earned around 85% more than those educated to GCSE level.[46]

Attendance and behaviour can impact upon educational attainment, and in turn, employment prospects. Poor attendance at school is associated with lower academic achievement: only 3% of children who miss more than 50% of school achieve 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C, compared to 73% of students with 95% attendance or higher.[47] Persistent truants are over five times as likely to become NEET at 16 than those who never played truant.[48]

Indicators

Basic skills: young people have improved basic skills in literacy, numeracy and IT.

Achieving qualifications: young people have improved performance in academic and/or vocational qualifications, which demonstrates an individual’s competency.

Attendance and behaviour: young people have an improved record at school or college, including whether they are present and their conduct.

Self-reported misbehaviour has been shown to have a negative influence on performance at GCSE, and links to a greater chance of being NEET at 16-18.[49] Young people excluded from school are particularly likely to be NEET, with 21% of those excluded in years 10 or 11 NEET at age 16.[50]

Experiences and involvement

Employers identify experience of work as one of the areas most commonly lacking among education leavers.[51] Work experience gives young people valuable understanding of the workplace and the conduct expected of them. It can also help them make career choices, set realistic aspirations, and develop employability skills.[52],[53]

Work experience gives an important signal to potential employers, particularly if it is paid. Research suggests that working part time during school reduces the time young people are not in education, employment, or training after compulsory education by one day for every hour a young person works in a year.[54] Work experience is also important for expanding a young person’s employer networks. There are links between the number of contacts a young person has had with an employer while at school and their confidence in progressing towards ultimate career goals, likelihood of whether they are NEET, and earnings if in work aged 19-24.[55]

The quality of work experience is important: poor quality experience can reinforce low aspirations, particularly for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.[56] A young person’s perception of the value of work experience can be an indicator of quality.

It has long been recognised that employers select candidates on the basis of a variety of experiences.[57] Community involvement can help to enhance employment prospects through building skills and experiences. Recent research suggests that labour market pressure is a key part of young people’s decision to become involved in extra-curricular activities, so that they can add value to their employment credentials and match employers’ expectations. This motive is stronger for volunteering and for young people holding leadership positions (as compared to sports or artistic activities).[58]

Research shows that the benefits of volunteering include increased self-esteem and confidence, but the link between this and finding a job has not been established.[59] Qualitative research suggests that volunteering can increase employability among jobseekers, but that this increase depends on the quality, support and training available.[60]

Indicators

Work experience: a young person has experience of the workplace (paid or unpaid).

Perceived value of work experience: a young person thinks their experience is valuable, helping them to develop skills and gain knowledge.

Networks: a young person has increased employer networks.

Community involvement: a young person is involved in activities in the community.

Career management skills

Researchers agree that securing employment increasingly relies on young people having the knowledge, ability and adaptability to navigate the opportunities available.[61], [62] People with confidence in their ability to perform career management activities are more likely to be active jobseekers, have strong career identities, and a greater success rate of converting job interviews into job offers.[63]

Career direction—the ability to make career choices and set realistic aspirations—is important for a successful transition into employment, and career progression. Research has found a strong correlation between career uncertainty and NEET status aged 16 to 18.[64] Having clear and realistic career expectations is linked to improved adult employment outcomes.[65] Career direction competencies include self-awareness (the ability to diagnose abilities and occupational interests), knowledge of relevant career opportunities, and the ability to develop a strategy to pursue career goals.[66]

Young people require job search skills to identify and pursue employment opportunities. This can include using newspapers and the internet to search for opportunities, using employment agencies, and asking family and friends. To secure a job, a young person needs to be able to effectively present themself to employers. This may be through a written CV or application form, or a face-to-face interview. There is no clear evidence on what type, how many and what intensity of job search and application approaches are most effective—this varies according to context. Some studies suggest that increasing the number of different methods of job search increases the chances of finding a job, whereas other studies find no link and indicate that there may even be a negative relationship.[67] Research does show that an individual’s confidence in finding employment, their ability to perform job search skills and effectively present themselves to employers is linked to improved outcomes.[68]

Young people wanting to take control of their careers may decide to become entrepreneurs. This approach to career management requires young people to identify the market in which they wish to operate and establish a business venture. Recent OECD statistics reveal that 13.9% of employed people in Great Britain are self-employed, illustrating that entrepreneurship can lead to positive job outcomes.[69]

Indicators

Career direction: a young person is able to formulate realistic career goals, and plan how to achieve these.

Job search skills: a young person has the skills to search for employment and uses these in practice to look for work.

Presentation to employers: a young person is able to effectively present themself to employers as part of the job search process, through application forms and interviews

Confidence in finding employment: a young person feels they have the right skills to find a job and that it is within their power to secure employment.

Entrepreneuship: a young person has the interest and confidence to set up their own business.

Employment destination

Entry into employment, sustaining employment and starting a business are often the main measures of success for employability programmes.

However, the quality of employment has important implications for individual, social and economic wellbeing.[70] Pay, hours and employment security, plus training opportunities, indicate job quality. A regular salary and job security provide a basis for individuals to invest in their future—for example, to save up for a deposit on a house or begin a family.

Job satisfaction is also an indication of the quality of employment, including fit with a young person’s skills and aspirations. Multiple research studies have found that job satisfaction is an important factor in influencing a worker’s health, particularly their mental health.[71] Job satisfaction also impacts upon overall life satisfaction, family relationships and lifestyle choices.[72]

Indicators

Entry into employment: a young person enters paid employment.

Starting a business: a young person establishes their own business.

Sustaining employment: a young person remains in paid work for a minimum number of cumulative or continuous weeks.

Quality of employment: a young person enters employment that meets [specified] quality standards.

Young person’s satisfaction with employment: a young person shows a certain level of satisfaction with their job.

Section 2

The Journey to EmploymenT (JET) framework

This section presents our framework for understanding a young person’s journey to employment. It is a visual tool to help organisations think through their objectives and decide what to measure.

The JET framework

The diagram in this section represents a young person’s Journey to EmploymenTthe JET framework. In the centre of the diagram is the job outcome. We recognise that a job outcome is not just about starting a business or getting and sustaining employment. It is also about the quality of the work, and the satisfaction gained from it.

Surrounding the central job outcome are the factors that contribute to this, as discussed in the previous section. For each of these areas, a number of indicators are listed, reflecting what our research shows is most important in the journey to employment. We have consulted widely on these indicators, but more could be added if required.

The complexity of job outcomes is reflected in the structure of the framework. The journey is not linear and many of the factors interact with each other to contribute to employability. We know that everyone’s journey is different and there is not a single factor that guarantees success in the labour market. Individual young people may need support with all, some, or none of these areas.

The framework also recognises that there are external factors that affect a young person’s ability to get and sustain a job, including the state of the economy and the labour market.

Using the JET framework

Reviewing your aims and strategy

The framework can be used to help develop strategy or review existing plans. By highlighting the key factors that are important in a young person’s journey to employment, the framework provides the raw materials to create a ‘theory of change’ for your work.[73]

A theory of change is a conceptual map that links an organisation’s activities to its final outcomes and goals. It is useful to help you clearly understand and articulate your mission and how your work contributes to this (see page 7 in the JET Pack).

Using the JET framework allows you to ask yourself ‘which factors does my organisation affect and how?’ Your work may focus on one or all of the factors, and may or may not directly result in young people getting a job. The framework offers a way to show how your work contributes to improving young people’s employability.

Evaluating your programmes

Evaluation is about being able to describe the impact or change that has happened during a programme or intervention. It typically involves aggregating results at a group level to show the impact of a programme as a whole on outcomes for young people.

But working out what to evaluate can be a challenge. To evaluate effectively, you need to focus on what is important, which differs by organisation, activity and individual. The JET framework can help you decide what outcomes are important for you to measure. Once you have identified these, Section 3 of this report will help you think about how to measure them.

Supporting individuals

While the framework was developed for the purpose of programme evaluation, it may also have wider uses. Casework tools are often used by practitioners to understand, track and respond to the needs of service users. Examples include the Rickter Scale, Work Star, and numerous in-house systems. These are designed to be used by a practitioner on a one-to-one basis with service users to structure conversations and tailor services to their needs.

The JET framework highlights aspects of young people’s lives that are important to achieving a successful job outcome. Individual young people may need support with all, some, or none of these. The framework could be adapted to help you develop a casework tool for your organisation, focusing on the outcomes important to your service users.

The JET Pack

The JET Pack is an eight-step guide designed to help organisations implement the JET framework. Download at www.thinkNPC.org/the-jet-pack/

Step 1:

    Think about your theory of change

Step 2:

    Prioritise your outcomes

Step 3:

    Use the JET framework to match outcomes

Step 4:

    Use the JET framework to select measures

Step 5:

    Choose a research design

Step 6:

    Start measuring

Step 7:

    Analyse your data

Step 8:

    Learn and improve

 

Employment + enterprise

    Entry into employment
    Sustaining employment
    Quality of employment
    Satisfaction with employment

Qualifications, education + training

    Basic skills
    Achieving qualifications
    Attendance and behaviour

Experiences + involvement

    Work experience
    Perception of value of work experience
    Networks
    Community involvement

Career management

    Career direction
    Job search skills
    Presentation to employers
    Confidence in finding employment
    Entrepreneurship

Personal circumstances

    Access to transport
    Access to the internet
    Access to childcare
    Access to support for young carers
    Reduced substance abuse
    Reduced offending/anti-social behaviour
    Access to support for young people with physical and mental health problems

Emotional capabilities

    Self-esteem
    Grit and determination
    Autonomy and control
    Empathy

Attitudes

    Aspirations for education
    Attitudes to work
    Aspirations for work
    Aspirations for the future

Employability skills

    Teamwork
    Communication
    Problem solving
    Self-management
    Leadership

Section 3

Choosing tools for measurement

Once you are clear about the objectives of your work and what outcomes you want to measure, the next step is to work out how to do so.

Types of tool

Table 1 presents a series of tools covering each aspect of a young person’s journey to employment identified in the JET framework. These measures have been drawn together from existing sources. The type of tool differs depending on what is being measured.

Psychological scales

Psychological scales are short questionnaires designed by psychologists and sociologists to measure subjective feelings, beliefs and attitudes, such as self-esteem or empathy. They usually include a series of statements, with respondents indicating on a scale the extent to which they agree with each (for example, see the measures for emotional capabilities on page 36).

Psychological scales are the most robust way of demonstrating change in intrinsic outcomes, such as self-esteem or attitudes. They are designed to be objective and produce unbiased results, and are rigorously tested for validity and reliability. Importantly, they cannot be altered or changed as every statement in the scale is given a value, which is added together to produce a total score.

Behavioural and activity tools

Extrinsic outcomes such as educational attainment and entering work are—compared to intrinsic or soft outcomes—easily observed, and can be measured by asking young people to report on their activities and behaviours or by getting data from other parties, such as schools.

NPC designed surveys

Where there is not an established scale for analysing an indicator (for example, career direction), we have compiled relevant questions from existing sources, based on what the evidence suggests are the most important elements influencing youth employability. These can include both psychological scales and activity measures, and sometimes a combination of both. Where possible, we have selected questions from government surveys as these have been thoroughly tested for validity and reliability, and large national datasets are available for comparison.

Collecting data

To gather data for programme evaluation the tools listed above can be incorporated into a questionnaire for young people to complete. This can be paper-based or use online survey software. For the purposes of programme evaluation, questionnaires usually only work if they are completed anonymously and without interference from anybody else (including an employment adviser or youth worker). This is because people are likely to respond in a socially desirable way if the questionnaire is not anonymous, which can compromise the results.

Criteria for the selection of tools

The tools included in this list have been chosen based on our assessment of robustness, cost, and ease of use. They are free to access and, where possible, comparison datasets are available. We have also tried to identify tools that are applicable to the widest age group possible, so they can be used by organisations working across the field of youth employability. In some cases this has meant selecting less robust tools.

Use this table to find the page number for the full version of the tool in the full report pdf download (below); then print or photocopy it.

Table 1: List of measures corresponding to the JET framework

Outcome Tool Page
Personal circumstances Access to transport Transport-related barriers to work module, National Transport Survey 23
Access to the internet Innovation Panel Wave 1, Understanding Society 24
Access to childcare Job search module, LSYPE Wave 5 26
Access to support for young carers Caring module, Understanding Society Wave 1

Young Carers module, Northern Ireland Young Life and Times Survey 2010

28
Reduced substance abuse Risk behaviours module, LSYPE Wave 5 30
Reduced offending/anti-social behaviour Risk behaviours module, LSYPE Wave 1 32
Access to support for young people with physical and mental health problems Disability module, LSYPE Wave 4 33
Emotional capabilities Self-esteem Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale

Single Item Self-Esteem Scale

35

36

Grit and determination Duckworth et al’s 8-item Grit Scale 37
Autonomy and control Individual Protective Factors Index, self-efficacy scale 38
Empathy California Healthy Kids Survey 3-item empathy scale 39
Attitudes Aspirations for education Educational Aspirations module, Understanding Society Innovation Panel Wave 3;

University and Higher Education module, LSYPE Wave 4

40
Attitudes to work Attitudes to Work module, LSYPE Wave 7 42
Aspirations for work Young adults module, Understanding Society Wave 2: Main questionnaire 43
Aspirations for the future NPC designed survey 45
Employability skills Team work Personal Development scale, National Citizen Survey Questionnaire. The Personal Development Scale contains a number of statements relevant to leadership and team work. For a more specific measure, organisations may want to use the more specific scale that map onto each individual outcome under employability skills (below) 47
Communication
Problem solving
Self-management
Leadership
Employability skills Team work Individual Protective Factors Index—cooperation scale 47
Communication Cooperation and communication scale from the California Healthy Kids Survey 48
Problem solving Problem solving scale from the California Healthy Kids Survey 49
Self-management Individual Protective Factors Index, self control scale 50
Leadership Youth Experiences Survey 51
Qualifications, education and training Basic skills Qualifications 52
Achieving qualifications 52
Attendance School records; ONS data 53
Behaviour School records; ONS data;

Rules and Discipline module in LSYPE, Wave 1

53
Experiences and

involvement

Work experience NPC designed survey 55
Networks NPC designed survey 56
Perceived value of work experience Student perceptions of work experience survey, Department for Education and Institute for Education Business Excellence (IEBE) 57
Community involvement Volunteering module LSYPE, Wave 7;

Do-it Volunteer Satisfaction Survey 2012

58
Career management Career direction Future Plans and Advice module, LSYPE Wave 1;

Jobs and Training module, LSYPE Wave 7;

60
Job search skills Non-employment module, Understanding Society, Main survey wave 1 61
Presentation to employers Job Applications module, Continuous Household Survey 61
Confidence in finding employment National Career Service / ICM Job Confidence Index 65
Entrepreneurship NPC designed survey 66
Employment Entry into employment National Career Service / ICM Job Confidence Index 67
Sustaining employment DWP Innovation Fund measure of employment DWP Innovation Fund measure of sustained employment 68
Quality of employment Workplace Employee Relations Study: Employee Survey 2011 68
Satisfaction with employment Job satisfaction module, Understanding Society;

Workplace Employee Relations Study: Employee Survey 2011;

Jobs and Training (Career) module, LSYPE Wave 6

70

What next?

As well as helping individual organisations to measure their impact, the JET framework aims to support the youth employability sector as a whole to improve measurement. The report is based on the principle of shared measurement—supporting organisations working in youth employability to develop a common understanding of what and how to measure.

Shared measurement can offer many benefits, including saving organisations the time and resources involved in developing their own tools, supporting organisations to learn from each other, and building the evidence base on what works.

A technology solution

This report is a first step towards establishing a shared measurement approach for youth employability, but there is a long way to go before the full benefits can be realised. Inspiring Impact’s Blueprint for shared measurement identified several key factors necessary for shared measurement approaches to be successfully implemented and sustained. These include: using a technology platform to make measures easily accessible and support comparison of results; refining tools based on feedback from organisations using an approach; and securing continued funding to support dissemination, implementation and ongoing refinement of an approach.

The next step is to turn this collection of tools into an online platform where organisations can easily choose outcomes and measure their impact without having to input data and analyse results manually. This will provide organisations with a low cost and easy to use tool while at the same time gathering data consistently so they can learn how their results compare to similar organisations. Once data is available on the types of interventions that work, we would like to produce a policy report based on JET about what is effective in youth employability.

Funders have an important role to play in taking shared measurement forward— helping organisations to measure their impact and using the data that organisations collect to assess the impact of their funding. Funders are uniquely placed to aggregate data, identify trends in what works, and disseminate this knowledge in order to build the evidence base.

You can find further information on shared measurement and upcoming projects on NPC’s website, www.thinkNPC.org.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the advisory group for their comments and feedback.

Kevin Ashby, Big Lottery Fund

Shilpi Akbar, Birmingham City Council

Nick Carey and Deborah Skyers, Careers Development Group (CDG)

Tony Wilson, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI)

Joe Prendeville, City Gateway

Emily Cattell, Department for Work and Pensions

David Harbourne, Edge

Peter Cobrin, Employment Pathways

Nicola Wagner-Rundell, Impetus

Nicola Moore, London Youth

Daniel Dickens, Participle

Sophie Manning, Private Equity Foundation

Iona Ledwidge, Resurgo

Peter Wells, Sheffield Hallam University

Matt Stevenson-Dodd, Street League

Diana Whitmore, Teens and Toddlers

Helen Heap, Tomorrow’s People

Bethia McNeil, Young Foundation

We are grateful to the following individuals and organisations for their input on the research.

Barry Sheerman MP

Clare Coghill, Councillor for Waltham Forest

Philip Curry, Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

Dan Finn, University of Portsmouth

Paul Gregg, University of Bath

John Philpott, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Julia Slay, nef (the new economics foundation)

Adrian Sladdin, ASDAN

Mohammad Uddin, Tomorrow’s People

Nelson Teixeira, Sheree Asomani and Sahad Azad, Careers development Group (CDG)

Sarah Webster, Matt Archer and Bosede Ogunleye, City Gateway

London Employment and Skills Policy Network

We would like to thank the following people and organisations for piloting the JET framework.

Danny Barnes, Acknowledging Youths

Mike Taplin, Blackpool Council

Beatriz Dominguez, Cambridge House

Jordan Brooks and Erica Chamberlain, ELBA

Sinead Mac Manus, Fluency

Rebecca Graham, vInspired

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