Charity embraces behavioural science

Youthworks mentoring

YMCA Scotland has started using new techniques to help young people into employment

13th August 2019 by Gareth Jones 2 Comments

A charity is embracing behavioural science to help get youngsters into work.

YMCA Scotland has formed a partnership with consultancy firm Esher House to fine-tune its employability mentoring programme.

The programme, which supports young people aged 16-25 engaged in short-term employment training, is applying the latest research in behavioural science, or nudge theory, in an effort to support more young people into employment.

Colin MacFarlanne, national programme manager at YMCA Scotland, said: “When it comes to employability, we know that one-size-fits-all approaches are ineffective. The behavioural science model we’ve implemented allows us to tailor our mentoring to each individual.

“It’s psychological and behavioural factors that prevent young people from moving into and staying in employment. With the Esher House assessment, we can quickly and accurately identify these challenges. We then follow this up with a range of behavioural science interventions.”

Alistair Hunter, training and business development lead at Esher House, said: “Nudge theory can seem like an abstract concept, but it’s actually more common sense than rocket science. Our model is established on evidence-based research on how people actually think and work rather than outdated conventional wisdom.

“Our assessment tool helps us identify what interventions best serve the needs of each individual. The right support at the wrong time can often hinder a person’s progress, so it’s all about delivering well-timed, tailored support.”

The initiative aims to support participants by helping them appraise their difficulties with a solution-focussed mindset. They are challenged to make an accurate assessment of the challenges in their work lives, and at the same time, get to identify the strengths and resources they have to overcome these obstacles.

The YMCA Youthworks mentoring programme supports more than 400 young people each year. Staff from all over Scotland have now gone through the behavioural science training.

Franny McGrath, operations manager at Perth YMCA, said: “Attending the Esher House training has given me a greater understanding of behavioural science and how we can best use these tools and assessments to support young people in our local communities. We are extremely excited to start implementing these methods into all areas of our work.”

15th August 2019 by Ally

Behavioural Science has been at the heart of policy development for years now. I'm delighted to see it moving out into practice.

16th August 2019 by Angela Graham.

Brilliant they are finally moving in this way.