Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) regional groups: formative evaluation

External evaluation to examine the early operations of four of the most established Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) regional groups. The study was carried out between December 2017 and April 2018.

1. Introduction

1.1 SQW was appointed by the Scottish Government to conduct a formative evaluation of the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Regional Groups. The study was carried out between December 2016 and April 2017. It involved in-depth exploration of what was working well and where challenges remained in four of the Groups: Ayrshire; Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian; Inverness and Central Highland; and North East. This document reports on the findings from this work.

Background and context

1.2 The DYW Regional Groups were established to bridge the gap between education and employers. They aim to provide leadership and a single point of contact and support to facilitate increased engagement between employers and education providers, particularly schools and colleges. The DYW National Group was established in November 2015 and oversaw the development of the 21 Regional Groups, which were in place by June 2017.

1.3 The Regional Groups are each at different stages of development. They have different membership profiles, are operating in different contexts and have taken distinctive approaches to delivering DYW activity. However, they are all required to demonstrate adherence to a core set of principles set out in the National Framework for the establishment of the Groups[1]. These principles include the need to demonstrate private sector leadership, senior level buy-in from local and regional partners and a commitment to engaging a wide range of employers.

1.4 Now that the initial set-up phase is complete, planning is underway for the next phase of development of the Regional Groups. This will involve identifying, sharing and consolidating effective practice across the 21 Groups. The evaluation will contribute to the developing evidence base for this. It will also provide a basis for evaluating the Scottish Government's policy interest in Developing the Young Workforce more generally.

Aims, objectives and approach

1.5 The overall aim of the evaluation, as set out in the brief for the study, was to explore what is working well for the Regional Groups and to identify where challenges remain. The brief also identified eight specific objectives, which were to:

  • Explore what is working more or less well in four Regional Groups
  • Identify best practice / success factors
  • Assess the level of employer leadership in the Regional Groups and whether the groups are meeting employer expectations
  • Assess the cultural change being achieved as a result of the activity
  • Assess what may be blocking change or acting as a barrier to the cultural shift desired through the DYW agenda
  • Consider the role and impact of the National Group in setting strategic guidance and leadership
  • Consider the added value that the groups are providing to the DYW ambitions
  • Provide recommendations for areas of improvement across all Regional Groups, including driving and measuring performance and creating efficiencies.

Structure of document

1.6 The remainder of this document is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 2 provides an overview of the policy context for the DYW Regional Groups
  • Chapter 3 details the methodology used to deliver the evaluation
  • Chapter 4 reports on the profile and operation of the DYW Regional Groups
  • Chapter 5 looks at current arrangements for monitoring and reporting DYW activity
  • Chapter 6 covers lessons from engaging employers
  • Chapter 7 covers lessons from engaging schools and colleges
  • Chapter 8 reports on emerging evidence of the impact of the Regional Groups
  • Chapter 9 provides summary conclusions and recommendations.


Email: Adrian Martin

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