Interim Evaluation of the Moving on Up Collective Impact Partnerships: Findings and learning

What you need to know:

  • The Moving on Up (MoU) initiative aims to improve employment outcomes for young black men. Young black men experience higher unemployment rates than other demographic groups, at every qualification level.
  • Some young black men are having a better journey into employment than they would have had otherwise and a driver of this has been the collaboration between partners of MoU.
  • Recommendations include developing more engaging and creative ways to draw on the skills and networks of young black men to promote the programme to other young black men and to employers.

This report summarises findings and recommendations from the interim evaluation of the collective impact strand of the Moving on Up (MoU) initiative. The evaluation, carried out by Makerble, considers whether the collective impact approach being tested by Moving on Up is achieving its goal of improving employment outcomes for young black men. This report is an edited version of Makerble’s interim evaluation report.

Moving on Up aims to improve employment outcomes for young black men. Young black men experience higher unemployment rates than other demographic groups, at every qualification level. Young black male graduates, for example, are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as young white male graduates.

MoU is funded by Trust for London and City Bridge Trust with strategic support from the Black Training & Employment Group (BTEG). In the current phase of MoU, which began in October 2017, the emphasis is on testing new, replicable models for improving employment outcomes. One of the approaches being tested is whether a collective impact model focused on a specific population group, young black men, improves employment support and outcomes for that population.

Key findings

Objective #1: Achieve significantly better employment outcomes for young black men than business-as-usual

Some young black men are having a better journey into employment than they would have had otherwise and a driver of this has been the collaboration between partners. By sharing training and job opportunities, partners are unlocking benefits that improve the experience of young black men on their route into employment. To date, through direct delivery in the collective impact partnerships, 77 young black men have been supported into employment.

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns through 2020 and 2021 brought delays and challenges to the work of the collective impact partnerships. In particular, the restrictions on face-to-face meetings hampered communication between partners and with young black men. In addition, Covid “shut down” certain types of jobs and made it a challenging environment to find employment opportunities for young black men.

Objective #2: MoU is equipping young black men to achieve their full potential by giving them

MoU is equipping young black men to achieve their full potential by giving them access to a wider range and volume of job opportunities than they would have found otherwise. Young black men reported that access to job opportunities was what they most valued and felt encouraged by, even when this did not lead directly to securing a job.

Objective #3: Young black men are involved in programme design; co-production

Young black men have been involved in the design of MoU since its inception, including through focus groups and consultation events and as MoU Ambassadors who have been recruited to influence the continuing development and delivery of the programme. Some partners feel that there is more they could do to work with and learn from the Ambassadors.

Objective #4: Employers are providing access to opportunities, encouraging retention and enabling progression

Young black men who had found work through MoU reported that they valued the relationships they were able to build with colleagues and customers, that they appreciated when jobs fit around their schedule, and that they were motivated by the challenge of their jobs. However, some reported that the jobs were a poor fit for their skills, or were unstable or poorly paid. Half of the interviewees on this question said they had encountered racism in the workplace.

Objective #5: Advisors are efficiently referring young black men to the most appropriate support available

Most partners feel that the partnership has been successful at sharing ideas, job opportunities and job applicants. Partners are more likely to share opportunities and ideas than to share details of job seekers with each other. This collaboration has enabled delivery partners to achieve better results for young black men, especially through sharing job opportunities.

Objective #6: Engaging with young black men

Young black men reported that MoU offered personalised support, was caring, and sourced better job vacancies than some other employment services. Participants were aware that MoU was offering support specifically for young black men and most welcomed this targeted approach.

Objective #7: Working as an equal partnership

Organisations that would historically compete against each other for funding are now working collaboratively and discussing funding opportunities among each other. Partners said there was a shared vision across the partnership and felt that their contributions had been recognised by others.

Objective #8: Bringing employers with us

Most partners felt they could persuade employers of the benefits of hiring young black men. Partners tended to convince employers to engage with MoU by drawing on their existing vision for diversity, stressing the business benefits of hiring young black men, and communicating the injustice that young black men experience.

Objective #9: Embedding and sustaining this approach within our organisations

Partners stressed their appreciation for the collective impact approach, and several reported that they had incorporated learning from this into their wider work and in other partnerships that they are involved with.

Key recommendations

  1. All collective impact partners should step up work to support young black men to secure good quality jobs, including by: increasing access to job offers; providing more in-depth interview preparation; linking young black men to training programmes to upskill them.
  2. All collective impact partners should develop more engaging and creative ways to draw on the skills and networks of young black men (including the MoU Ambassadors) to promote the programme to other young black men and to employers.
  3. The MoU partners should develop the data collection process to make it more user- friendly and to capture ‘distance travelled’ data in a consistent way across the partners.
  4. The MoU funders should invest more resources in MoU communications both at a local level, targeting employers and young black men, and across the other strands of MoU work.
  5. All MoU partners should continue to develop the collective impact model at a local level. This should include reviews of a) how local agencies working with young black men but not receiving MoU funding can best be engaged in achieving MoU objectives, and b) whether the current collective impact partnership approach should be sustained beyond the MoU funding, and what would be needed to achieve this.
  6. The MoU partners should integrate employer engagement activities from across the MoU programme, including by:
    a) promoting the Inclusive Employer Toolkit to local employers;
    b) building closer links between the collective impact partnerships and strategic employer engagement strand of the MoU programme;
    c) using lessons from the MoU message testing trial about effective communication with employers.

November 2021