V•Inspired Task Squad: helping a digital employment innovation to thrive

Our evaluation of an innovative digital employment solution  helped vinspired to support young people’s transition into the labour market

Task-Squad-Case-study

Client: V•Inspired

2015-2016

The challenge

V•Inspired Task Squad supports young people on their journeys into employment. It does this by enabling those with volunteer experience to access short-term, paid work opportunities, which are advertised on the Task Squad website and in regular Task Alert emails. After signing up to the service and creating a CV online through the Task Squad website, young people’s current work-readiness is assessed by the Task Squad team, who help to fill gaps they identify through a mix of tailored one-to-one and group support.

Task Squad was launched in 2013, developing rapidly using the lean digital development process of testing and iteration. In 2014, with the service already having shown great potential and growing quickly, the Task Squad team felt the time was right for a process evaluation. They wanted to understand whether the service’s online and offline elements and business processes could be optimised to ensure young people and employers received an effective and appropriate user experience. They also needed a flexible impact evaluation framework that would not detract from the user experience and take into account the service’s status as a growing, developing innovation.

Renaisi got the opportunity to bid for the work through our role as an Evidence Partner of Nesta’s Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund (CIAF). Set up to accelerate innovative social action initiatives, the CIAF provided grants, support and access to a list of approved evaluators to enhance these initiatives’ impact. Renaisi successfully bid for six of these evaluations, making us the partner who won the biggest proportion of contracts through the CIAF.

Our approach

We took a holistic approach to the evaluation that enabled Task Squad to implement appropriate lean evaluation metrics, better understand the initiative’s social impact and make practical programme improvements. We mapped young people’s user journeys through Task Squad and analysed digital analytics data to identify strengths and opportunities. We also carried out depth interviews with a range of vinspired staff, young people and employers and participant observation of interactions between Task Squad team members and young people during tailored support sessions.

To test its usability and appropriateness, as well as generate emerging performance data, we piloted our proposed evaluation framework during the contract. This applied a set of lean impact indicators that included online metrics as well as light-touch surveys for young people. To inform these surveys, we used Impetus-PEF’s Ready for Work, a clear, well-respected framework that outlines competencies young people need to develop in order to engage in the labour market. Finally, to support vInspired to share and embed learning from the evaluation, we facilitated a workshop with key staff.

Impact

As a result of our evaluation, vinspired is revising its commitment to supporting young people’s transition into the labour market. Our evaluation revealed that Task Squad’s tailored support provides particular value to young people. In recognition of this, vinspired is building a new, holistic journey for young people who want to maximise their social action experience to achieve paid employment across its range of services and digital products.

Our work also helped vinspired to achieve an appropriate evaluation framework that will enable it to understand Task Squad’s impact as it continues to grow and develop. This includes incorporating marketing and digital data and analytics into the organisation’s wider theory of change for the first time.

“Excellent – highly responsive, thoughtful, committed, and really felt it was a two-way relationships. Renaisi staff have worked above and beyond to deliver project on time, accommodate changes from clients, and support dissemination”

Hannah Mitchell, Head of Knowledge & Innovation, vinspired

Watch Renaisi’s Deputy CEO John Hitchin explaining our work and findings