How should we measure progression and impact in employability?
Belina Summer Seminar 2016, Liz Sewell, Director, Belina Consulting Ltd
It is straightforward to measure if someone has a job – you can check if they have a pay slip. But how do you measure progression towards a job? And what can you claim as the imapact of your intervention? These were the questions posed at our Summer Seminar.
Laura Watson, a consultant with the World Bank, came along to talk about how impact and outcomes are measured in international development projects and to challenge us to think about how we could use their approaches to measure the benefit of our work for both the participant and the funders.
Laura said that it would be difficult to attribute large societal impacts to projects with small budgets and limited geographic footprint. But it was important to understand the purpose of the impact so that we could see if our approach was contributing.
She then took Belina’s latest two programmes – the BAME projects in South and West London and asked the assembled experts to break down the project into four columns: Inputs, Outputs, Intermediate Outcomes, Outcomes. At first we found it difficult to decide where some aspects of the project should lie but slowly we were able to create logical framework for the projects and agree, for example, that the staff support to write an action plan would be an input, an Action Plan would be an output, an activity undertaken from that plan would be an intermediate output and getting a job or joining a training programme would be a final outcome.
We then looked at how we could measure some of our less specific intermediate outcomes. Laura said that it is better to have a simple easily collectible outcome. She commented that she had often seen very elegant, elaborate and detailed measurements that were never used for final reports because people found them difficult to collect and so abandoned them. She also made it clear that you need to decide what it was you were going to measure before the programme started, so that you could create a base line.
We looked at two of our less tangible outcome
1) Has the participant become more independent?
Fritha Ryan, of Red Cape Partners, suggested that a straight forward measurement would be ‘What did people actually do in-between each session?.’ The group liked this as it would be of benefit to the individual and easy to capture and report.
2) Is the participant more job ready?
We came up with a simple solution that again would benefit the individual, be clear to the funder and be straightforward to measure : ‘What had the individual added to their CV since the beginning of the programme?’ This would show what they did independently and who both understanding, confidence and motivation.
Next steps: Belina is going to develop measurement frameworks for our projects in the next few weeks and will be sharing our thoughts with our partners and Primes on the two BBO contracts and we re interested in working with other organisations – if you want to work with us on this. please get in touch.
The second Belina Summer Seminar was held at The Centre for Strategy and Communication in August 2016 with the Belina Team and colleagues from the Masbro Centre, Red Cape, Prevista and LB Tower Hamlets.