Measuring together: Impact measurement in the NEETs sector

Charities do much important work to get young people into education, employment and training. But measuring the impact of this work can be difficult as results are often intangible. In an era where funding is more and more dependent on evidence, NPC’s report explores how charities in the youth sector can work together to overcome some of the barriers to measuring impact.

Entering employment plays a significant part in the transition to adulthood. Young men who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) between the ages of 16 and 18 are four times more likely to be unemployed later in life and five times more likely to have a criminal record.

Charities play a vital role in encouraging and inspiring young people—particularly the most vulnerable—helping them to develop and supporting them to enter employment. But measuring the difference that this work makes is difficult. The improvements that they see (such as building self-confidence and motivation) are often intangible, and it is difficult to track whether a young person goes on to find and keep a job once they leave the charity.

What is more, the youth sector is receiving larger cuts than any other area of services, with the Education Select Committee directly linking cuts to a lack of evidence and the ‘extraordinary failure’ of the sector to explain what difference it makes.

To address these challenges, NPC worked with six charities that support young people who are NEET or at risk of becoming NEET: The Boxing Academy, Catch22, The Prince’s Trust, SkillForce, Street League and Tomorrow’s People. Together, we explored the potential for developing a common approach to measurement across the sector.

 It does seem an extraordinary failure that [the youth sector] can’t make a better fist at explaining the difference you make.

Graham Stuart MP, chair of the education select committee inquiry into young people’s services


Many charities are beginning to take impact measurement seriously, but are starting from scratch, using their own new methodologies, which can make it difficult to share and compare methods and results. NPC’s work on shared measurement aims to tackle this problem by working with groups of charities confronting different issues within the sector to look at impact measurement across their area of work.

Find out more about our shared measurement work >