Blackpool Opportunity Area Evaluation Strand 2: Report for Blackpool Council

Kaehne, Axel, Robinson, Carol, Stuart, Kaz ORCID logoORCID:, Grimwood, Tom ORCID logoORCID:, Simcock, Tom and Roberts, Louise (2022) Blackpool Opportunity Area Evaluation Strand 2: Report for Blackpool Council. Blackpool Opportunity Area Programme. (Unpublished)

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Blackpool Council commissioned a consortium between Edge Hill University and the University of Cumbria to evaluate the Blackpool Opportunity Area programme Strand 2. The overall purpose of the Opportunity Area programme is to improve the experience, engagement and employment outcomes of young people transitioning from compulsory education into Post 16 education, employment or training (EET). The Strand 2 element of this programme involved the Blackpool Engagement Journey consisting of two projects, the ‘Pathways for All’ and the ‘Targeted NEET’ project.

The overarching objectives of the evaluation were to:
1) Measure the impact of the programme, identifying best practice within each distinct project, guided by the questions: how does the programme work, for whom and under which circumstances?
2) Assess the strengths and weaknesses, and the enablers and barriers, to support the effective implementation of the programme as a whole, as well as for each of the two projects
3) Identify the wider benefits of the programme for Blackpool

To achieve the objectives of this evaluation, a mixed-methods approach was undertaken. In summary, the following methods were incorporated into the evaluation:
1) Evaluability assessment – including a review of available data and interviews with project stakeholders
2) Semi-structured interviews with young people, individual support officers and engagement coaches and with Blackpool Council employees involved in NEET strategy development
3) A workshop with frontline staff from both projects
4) Secondary data analyses of routinely collected project data
5) A Social Return on Investment (SROI) Analysis.

We found that there has been a clear, if differential, impact on young people by both the Targeted NEET and Pathways for All interventions. Both projects showed a positive impact on the career development, career planning and actual employment outcomes of some young people. Young people reflected positively on the nature and scope of the activities delivered by Targeted NEET and Pathways for All. In particular, using a Social Return on Investment analysis, the evaluation produced evidence of a clear overall cost benefit by the Targeted NEET project to the Opportunity Area programme. We recommend continuing both projects with a view to make their activities an integral part of Blackpool’s long term NEET Strategy.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: Blackpool Opportunity Area Programme
Departments: Institute of Health > Psychology and Psychological Therapies
Institute of Health > Social Work, Children and Families
Centre for Research in Health and Society (CRIHS)
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2023 10:58
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2023 11:00


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