David Sims, Kelly Kettlewell
23 September 2011
The LG Group commissioned NFER to carry out an evaluation of the National Youth Agency’s (NYA) Engagement Network which aims to support young people who are NEET to have a voice and shape local provision for young people through local projects. The aims of the evaluation were to explore the experiences of LAs of implementing activities and identify impacts, outcomes, challenges and effective practice in engaging young people to influence and shape local NEET provision. To achieve this, NFER carried out an analysis of local network project plans, undertook interviews with key stakeholders (both strategic and operational) and undertook five case-study visits to local networks to interview staff and young people.
Overall, the evaluation found that the NYA Engagement Network model, if given adequate levels of resourcing and buy-in from the elected member, provides LAs with a new way of engaging young people who are NEET.
- Young people appreciated being listened to by decision makers. They developed a range of skills and learned to be more independent and confident.
- The local network staff’s awareness and understanding of local training provision, including gaps, had increased. They felt this knowledge could benefit a wider group of young people not involved in the network if it led to more relevant training opportunities in the future.
- Importantly, local service managers who had attended presentations made by young people could see the value of involving young people in decision making.