Youth Investment Fund: Learning and Insight Paper Six

This is the sixth in a series of learning and insight papers, published as part of the learning project for the Youth Investment Fund (YIF).

The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) is one of the biggest investments in open access youth provision in recent years. As such, it provides a unique learning opportunity to gain insights into a field that, in terms of impact, is currently under-researched and poorly understood.

In this paper we reflect on what we have learnt from the experience of the YIF learning and evaluation project, with a view to informing future open access youth provision learning and evaluation initiatives.

From the beginning, the YIF learning project set out to test a new approach to evaluation in this context, in recognition of the profound limitations of traditional impact evaluation in informal and non-formal youth provision. As a result, this evaluation is truly pioneering and we have experienced the risks and rewards that go with such an approach.

This paper is for anyone working within, supporting or providing funding and resources for informal and non-formal learning provision for young people in the UK. The YIF only covers England, but we believe that the learning is relevant across the UK.

Catch up on our previous insight papers:

  • Learning and Insight Paper One, a shared evaluation framework for open access youth provision.
  • Learning and Insight Paper Two, background to the YIF economic simulation model.
  • Learning and Insight Paper Three, our shared outcomes measurement framework.
  • Learning and Insight Paper Four, early findings about the quality and impact of open access youth provision, with insights into the development of feasible and meaningful evaluation approaches for this field.
  • Learning and Insight Paper Five, qualitative findings on how open access youth provision works, why youth organisations take the approaches they do; how provision is experienced by young people; the effect and relevance of contextual factors; and how this all relates to positive change for young people over time.

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