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Some frequently asked questions about our work

What do you mean by ‘impact’?
High-quality staff practices and content offered in a setting where staff and young people meet will encourage higher levels of engagement from young people during provision. Over time, the combination of high-quality staff practices and engagement supports the growth of social and emotional skills. With longer-term participation in, and intensity of exposure to, high-quality settings, these social and emotional skills will transfer to other areas of young people’s lives.
How can you help us prove our impact?
We believe that the focus for evaluation for youth organisations should be on learning for continuous improvement, rather than ‘proving impact’. This involves fostering a learning culture, supported by a range of good data, which allows you and your colleagues to generate insights into your work, and take actions to improve. Visit our Resource Library to learn more about how you can apply this to your own work.
Why do you focus on social and emotional learning?

We believe that this represents the most practical and meaningful way for youth practitioners to understand the effect their work can have on young people. The value of these skills - responsibility, empathy, problem solving, initiative, teamwork and emotion management - lies in the way they can, over time, be applied by young people in other areas of their lives, such as employment, education and health. The College has undertaken extensive research and consultation with the sector in the UK, as well as looking at models and frameworks internationally, to develop the Outcomes Framework 2.0 . This sets out all of the detail and background to our approach, including the connection between increases in social and emotional skill and longer term positive outcomes for young people.

What do you mean by ‘young people’ and ‘youth sector’?
By ‘young people’, we mean children and young people aged around 8 to 25. We don’t place age-related cut offs around our work. When we refer to the ‘youth sector’, we are referring to all those working with and for young people across the voluntary, statutory and social enterprise fields. We consider funders, commissioners, policy makers and researchers to be vital partners to the youth sector. We refer to ‘youth work and provision for young people’ to reflect the breadth of practice that is offered, supported and funded across the youth sector.
Do you undertake evaluations for organisations or projects?

The College does not evaluate the work or projects of single organisations. Our focus is on developing shared approaches to learning and evaluation for the youth sector: we are involved in a number of ‘fund-level evaluations’, where we work with a cohort of organisations all receiving funding from a single source.

What does impact in youth provision look like?
The impact of youth provision on the lives of young people is best understood in terms of social and emotional learning. Through providing an environment in which young people consistently experience the opportunity to develop these skills, youth organisations can make a contribution to young people achieving positive outcomes in their lives, for example in education, employment, and family relationships.