Looking to the future

In 2018/19 the number of young people we supported increased, making a measurable difference to the lives of those who most need help. But a question we continue to debate is:

How do we ensure we make the biggest possible impact?

The national context gives this question added urgency. An avalanche of statistics is both shocking and hard to comprehend. More than four million children in the UK live in poverty (1) and almost 800,000 young people are not in education, employment or training (NEET) (2). To illustrate growing inequality, two in five (38%) pupils from the poorest postcodes do not pass maths GCSE in England, nearly twice as many as those from the richest postcodes (20%) (3).

To help maximise our impact, we commissioned an independent review of our data over the past five years, which identified ways to adapt and evolve our programmes. In response we have:

  • Reviewed the data points collected, which will enable us to better assess the overall effectiveness of our programmes.
  • Assessed our data collection processes, which will enhance both the accuracy and completeness of our approach

In addition to looking inwards, we have looked out across the sector to develop a deeper understanding of how we can achieve greater impact. One specific area we have identified is co-production.

Put simply, co-production puts participants at the heart of programme design. Creating joint responsibility for the development of a programme, it harnesses their experience, knowledge and expertise, ensuring it responds to the specific challenges they face. We are very much at the start of this journey — and we have much still to learn — but it is a direction we are committed to taking.

One example is our plan to launch a new programme for care experienced young people in 2019/20. There is an urgent need for support, with approximately 40% of care leavers between the ages of 19 and 21 are NEET (4). Our programme will be developed through the input of over 70 young people with lived experience, ensuring we provide a tailored approach that responds to the specific needs of young people who face some of the biggest barriers to securing meaningful employment.

Governance of the Foundation is another way co-production will be brought into our work. Since the Foundation’s launch, we have strived to put the views of young people at the centre of how we operate, which is why we set up a Youth Panel in 2015, with a member joining the Board. After careful consideration we have revised its format and we will launch a Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in 2019/20. This group of 17-25-year olds will put the voice of young people at the head and heart of decision making in the Foundation, with two members of the YAB sitting on the Board.

So, returning to the question at the start, ‘how do we ensure we make the biggest possible impact?’, there may not be a definitive answer. But over the next year – and beyond - we will constantly review our approach to ensure we increase our impact in support of young people who most need help to unlock their potential.

Maryanne Matthews, EY Foundation Chief Executive

Patrick Dunne, EY Foundation Chair

(1) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/16/new-study-finds-45-million-uk-children-living-in-poverty

(2) https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment/bulletins/youngpeoplenotineducation

(3) https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/press-release/New-investigation-into-GCSE-subjects-reveals-the-stark-extent-that-disadvantaged-pupils-are-being-left-behind

(4) http://www.smf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Silent-Crisis-PDF.pdf