Government to pay out on youth employment social impact bond scheme

By Adam Offord

| 26 October 2015

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is set to pay back investors after the successful completion of a payment-by-results project designed to tackle youth unemployment.

The ThinkForward project has worked with more than 1,000 disengaged young people from across 14 schools in London. Picture: Mike Kelly

The ThinkFoward project, which was set up in 2012 through the DWP’s Innovation Fund with £900,000 capital from Impetus-PEF and Big Society Capital, is believed to be the first social impact bond (SIB) scheme to succeed.

The project aims to ensure the most disengaged young people do well in education and progress into work by placing highly qualified progression coaches in schools to provide intensive one-to-one support.

Following early intervention work with more than 1,000 disengaged young people from across 14 schools in the London borough’s of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and Islington, 90 per cent of young people aged 18 and over progressed into further education, employment or training.

Financial returns for investors are linked to securing positive social outcomes, such as improvements in behaviour and attainment at school, and progression into further education or employment.

The amount that will be paid back to Impetus-PEF and Big Society Capital will be confirmed in the new year.

ThinkForward said the ambition is to now expand the inititiative to other areas of the UK.

Kevin Munday, managing director of ThinkForward, said: “Not only have we been able to demonstrate that ThinkForward’s approach makes a transformative difference to the lives of some of the most disengaged young people in our society but also delivered returns to Impetus-PEF and Big Society Capital.”

Youth minister Rob Wilson, added: "The success of the ThinkForward SIB shows that by bringing together the expertise and commitment of charities with dedicated social investors, the lives of over 1,000 young people in London have been turned around, instilling them with confidence and hope for their futures.”

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