Getting our Young People (back) into Jobs through Social Innovation, Jo Casebourne


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  • 20-30 mins
  • While there have been broad and positive changes to the way the labour market works in recent decades (e.g. female participation) There has been a lack of innovationDifference between development of the telephone and the labour exchange model to get people back to work
  • Forthe last 18 months we have been thinking about how innovation is needed in the labour market to tackle worklessness.Conversation started at the SIX Winter School in Gydnia, Poland in Nov 2011Few issues have as acute a need for innovation as the jobs market for young people. We need innovation fastAround the world, unemployment levels have remained very high for young people since the start of the global recession, although in many countries the increase in youth unemployment started before this. Under-employment also means many young people are working fewer hours than they would like, whilst insecure employment can mean regularly moving between work and unemployment. There are now fears of a ‘lost generation’ of young people – shut out of the labour market, increasingly disconnected from work and learning, and ‘scarred’ throughout their working lives due to the experience of unemployment when young. More systematic innovation is clearly needed to get young people into work. Nesta’s recent report Making it Work (Casebourne and Coleman 2012) sets out how a more systematic approach could be taken. Briefly, this report covered…
  • Current challenges in UKEmployment held up and unemployment grew less in this recession compared to previous recessions.However, those that do fall out of work remain so for much longer periods, and those in work have experienced reduced hours and stagnant wages.Particular challenge for young people – youth unemployment has been growing since 2004 – and enduring employment rate gaps for disabled people, lone parents and ethnic minorities.Stagnant economic situation means that the labour market is unlikely to pick itself up and reverse these problems on its own any time soon.(All this means people needing and staying with labour market programmes and interventions for longer; a need to address labour demand and job quality as well as the skills and activities of the unemployed; and a need to target the groups at the sharp end of the problem and for whom the consequences of unemployment are most serious. Same old same old may not be enough to meet these challenges.)
  • Longer-term patternsSkills mismatch:hollowing out of the middle of the labour market, with rising demand for higher-level skills (skills biased technological change) and an over-supply of intermediate-level and non-specialised skills.Activating the ecomomically inactive: older people via increasing the retirement age, lone parents, those with health problems and disabilities.Changing sectoral profilePoor quality jobs: a fifth of the workforce is low paid, with growing insecurity (e.g. zero-hours contracts) and a lack of progression.(All this means a larger labour market with deep-seated structural challenges. The approach to tackling worklessness needs to be systematic and address both supply and demand.)
  • Need a systems approach – no one institution owns this problemWe tried to map some of the players in the labour market system in the UK – complicated for employers and individualsIn a fully-functioning system all these elements would be aligned to enable individuals to be connected to work.They’re not.
  • Some parts of the labour market have thriving innovation systems: executive search agencies; individuals investing in their own skills, and employers investing in senior staff.But at the low end of the labour market, the incentives for innovation are weak: employers are less willing to invest in matching services and skills development, andindividuals lack the resources to invest in training themselves. Government as primary purchaser of services in an attempt to make the low end of the labour market operate more effectively and to tackle worklessness. We need established players to work with innovators
  • But our report did find some areas where promising innovations are taking place – from outside the traditional sector
  • Given that we wanted to start a debate in this area, we're really pleased that since publication we've come across and been approached by numerous examples of private companies, government bodies, charities, social enterprises, and individuals doing interesting things differently in the labour market. we've launched the living map of jobs innovators ( as a live resource to keep the debate going.Enabled us to collect examples from around the world that give us new ideas on how we can innovate to get young people into work. some of those particularly relevant to young people are highlighted below.
  • you can use the keywords to explore jobs innovations that make use of technologyin the services they deliver,or that focus on young peopleOr you can use Nesta’s standards of evidence to browse innovations that have tested their impact robustly using randomised trials or other control group methods to isolate their impact.We’ve developed these standards to help people we work with build up their evidence base.Level 1 – describe what you’re trying to achieveUp as evidence gets more rigorous - we need to know what works if want to sustain and scaleOr you can focus on innovations that have reached a certain stage of development - from those that are only ideas at the moment to those that are achieving growth and scale.
  • To help you sort through the examples in the living map we’ve categorised every entry by ‘theme’: the broad approach to creating jobs or tackling worklessness that the innovation employs. Creating and shaping new markets:mobilising capital (e.g. complementary currencies), supporting growth sectors and new markets (e.g. developing the green economy).Supporting entrepreneurship and enterprise:business services (e.g. start-up support), business incubation, funding and training for self-employment.21st century employability:new approaches to employment support (e.g. career coaching, resilience-building), platforms to showcase skills and build professional networks.Blurring work and learning:bringing work into the classroom (e.g. business mentoring in schools), temporary jobs and supported job opportunities (e.g. apprenticeships and traineeships).Intermediaries that improve matching:employer pooling, web-platforms for flexible working (e.g. task-matching sites), new approaches to careers advice, individualised job-matching services.
  • Creating and shaping new marketsPolicies to stimulate demand on a macro-level have generally proven ineffective drivers of jobs. However, there is some evidence to suggest that complimentary currencies, vouchers, tax incentives and mechanisms to unlock capital may be able to stimulate and / or concentrate demand in local economies or specific sectors - boosting opportunities for young people.Green for All is a US organisation working to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty through new job opportunities. Green For All trains young community leaders to be world-class spokespeople for the clean energy economy; develops business tools for small green enterprises; coordinates the green agenda within workforce development agencies; and advocates on Capitol Hill for green job training for vulnerable communities.Development stage: 3. developing and testing. Evidence level: 2. can show positive change: A series of research reports analyses and quantifies the positive outcomes of specific green policies and green campaigning initiatives linked to the organisation.
  • Supporting entrepreneurship and enterpriseWith weak demand for employees in the national economy, supporting young people to shape their own jobs and businesses can be a viable alternative. Technology that lowers barriers to self-employment, social incubators, business accelerators, franchising, employment co-operatives and business mentoring have all been shown to work in certain contexts, and have the potential to help out of work individuals to make the leap into jobs.Community Catalysts in the UK works with local partners (local authorities, primary care trusts and other voluntary and private sector organisations) to stimulate and support the development of high-quality and sustainable local micro-enterprises providing social care services. It does this to create an environment within which new enterprises can emerge, flourish, and expand to create local jobs. Community Catalysts also offers guidance and support to micro-enterprises in the social care sectorDevelopment stage: 5. delivering and implementing.Evidence level: 2. can show positive change: Community Catalysts states that 83% of the enterprises a recent programme supported were still flourishing after three years (a 17% failure rate compared with the BIS failure rate of 90%).
  • Fredericks Foundationis a charity in the UK that helps disadvantaged people to set up or expand their own business via microloan funding and a range of business support.Fredericks Foundation has advanced almost 1,000 loans with the aim of helping people who cannot access finance through the usual channels to realise their potential for the benefit of themselves and their families.Development stage:6. growing and scaling: Launched in 2001. Fredericks Foundation has been expanding its offer to new parts of England and has recently launched an initiative offering start-up loans to young entrepreneurs.Evidence level: 2. can show positive change: Analysis conducted in 2012 found that nine in 10 recent loan recipients were claiming benefits when they received support from the charity and that two thirds of these had kept up with their repayment schedule following loan receipt, suggesting positive moves towards financial independence and secure self-employment.
  • 21st century employabilityEmployability has traditionally been thought of as something dealt with in a classroom environment – think literacy lessons, confidence seminars and CV workshops. However, there are models emerging that link the way individuals present themselves as job ready to employers to their use of social media or their integration into professional networks. Discoverables is a UK website that helps young people find their skills and strengths and share them with potential employers. Discoverables uses a game-like approach to help young people find and develop their key skills and strengths. Users earn ‘discoverability points’ as they take on missions and challenges in order to create a rich showcase page that they can email to employers or take to interviews. Development stage: 3. developing and testing: Launched in 2012.Evidence level: 1. can describe benefits.
  • Blurring work and learningWith young people feeling the pinch in a depressed labour market, it is clear that bridging the gap between education and employment remains a high priority. There is the potential to innovate around how traditional bridges, such as apprenticeships and internships, are structured, or to borrow from and develop new models such a studio schools.KidZania is a theme park in 11 locations around the world where children aged four to twelve can role-play working lives. KidZania provides children and their parents with a safe, unique, and realistic educational environment that allows kids to do what comes naturally to them: role-playing by mimicking traditionally adult activities. As in the real world, children perform ‘jobs’ and are either paid for their work (as a fireman, doctor, police officer, journalist, shopkeeper, etc.) or pay to shop or to be entertained. The indoor theme park is a city built to scale for children, complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles, a functioning economy, and recognizable destinations in the form of ‘establishments’ sponsored and branded by leading multinational and local brands.Development stage: 6. growing and scaling.Evidence level: 1. can describe benefits.
  • Studio Schools are a new type of public school model for 14 to 19 year olds in the UK, designed to support young people to gain the skills, experiences, and key academic qualifications that they need to succeed in the world of work. First opened in 2010, Studio Schools are small schools for 300 students, but with year-round opening and a 9-5 working day, they feel more like a workplace than a school. Working closely with local employers, Studio Schools offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications, as well as paid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area. Development stage: 5. delivering and implementing.Evidence level: 1. can describe benefits.
  • Intermediaries that improve matchingThe welfare-to-work model of matching, where an adviser sits in front of you and tells you what published job opportunities you need to apply for, is unlikely to be an efficient or successful approach at all times. New models such as employer pools, online marketplaces and web-based matching platforms / algorithms can reduce transaction costs and stimulate flexibility in the processes that match individuals to jobs. Adapting technology platforms such as US platform Taskrabbit to local employment markets is another way of stimulating demand for local services. On the demand-side individuals with needs, such as needing help to put together Ikea furniture, who previously would not have got these needs met are given access to people who can help them, creating new demand. On the supply-side workers can select from thousands of tasks and work when it’s convenient. Development stage: 5. Delivering and implementing.Evidence level: 1. can describe benefits. 
  • Trading Times is an online platform in the UK that matches the skills and availability of local people with the ad hoc resource needs of local businesses.By matching individuals to flexible opportunities in local businesses, Trading Timesspecifically addresses the working needs of older people, family carers and single parents – groups with rich skills and experience but for whom full-time work is difficult or impossible.Trading Times is currently running as a six-month pilot in Barnet, North London, and is looking for further funding to scale nationally as soon as it can.Development stage: 3. developing and testing: Launched in 2013, operating mainly in London at the moment.Evidence level: 2. can show positive change: development phase included an evidence-gathering exercise that used randomisation techniques, which indicated the potential for the approach to have positive impacts.
  • But little evidence of success as many of these are very new. Our report therefore concluded by calling for:More experimentation around ideas: We need to think differently about how to get young people into work and build experimentation of new ideas into employment programmes for young people.We also argue for prototyping with much more intensive measurement and assessment of what works so that successful models can be scaled up. We need more evidence on whether the promising examples being developed by innovators actually prove successful in getting young people back to work. We need better ways of finding the existing evidence on what works. A global learning/knowledge exchange network would help make the case for sustaining, scaling and diffusing successful innovations in jobs. An international evidence centre could be charged with orchestrating knowledge about emerging approaches worldwide, evidence about what works, and ensuring this is provided in forms that are useable by those designing and delivering support for young people. A network to facilitate better dialogue internationally would help to exchange and diffuse ideas.Overall, we want to help start a debate about how labour market innovation can be developed. 
  • Getting our Young People (back) into Jobs through Social Innovation, Jo Casebourne

    1. 1. Getting our young people (back) into jobs through social innovation Dr. Jo Casebourne, Nesta 24-26 June 2013 SIX and Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal
    2. 2. vs
    3. 3.
    4. 4. current challenges • longer claim durations • stagnant wages and productivity • youth unemployment and NEET rates • particular concerns around disadvantaged and excluded groups • slow recovery
    5. 5. longer-term patterns • skills mismatch • activating the inactive • changing sectoral profile • poor quality jobs
    6. 6. the current approach to tackling worklessness…is complex
    7. 7. © Guardian thriving innovation systems © Chambeau low incentives to innovate
    8. 8. creating and shaping new markets support for self- employment intermediaries that improve the efficiency of job matching but there are some promising fields of innovation outside the mainstream
    9. 9.
    10. 10. Creating & shaping new markets mobilising capital (e.g. complementary currencies), supporting growth sectors and new markets (e.g. developing the green economy) Supporting entrepreneurship & enterprise business services (e.g. start- up support), business incubation, funding and training for self-employment Intermediaries that improve matching employer pooling, web- platforms for flexible working (e.g. task-matching sites), new approaches to careers advice, individualised job- matching services 21st century employability new approaches to employment support (e.g. career coaching, resilience- building), platforms to showcase skills and build professional networks Blurring work & learning bringing work into the classroom (e.g. business mentoring in schools), temporary jobs and supported job opportunities (e.g. apprenticeships and traineeships) Innovation in jobs
    11. 11. more intensive measurement and assessment learning / knowledge exchange network the beginning of a debate about how innovative ideas can be taken forward where next? more experimentation around ideas
    12. 12. Lessons from the UK in innovating to get young people into work Dr. Jo Casebourne, Nesta 24-26 June 2013 SIX and Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal