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Breaking the cycle of disadvantage: Cashback Change Cycle Evaluation

We are proud to launch the independent evaluation of our youth employability programme - Cashback Change Cycle.

A programme that has engaged and supported more than 200 young people from disadvantaged and deprived areas of Scotland move towards a positive future.

With three-year funding from The Scottish Government through its CashBack for Communities, we developed the CashBack Change Cycle (CBCC) programme, an innovative employability programme in partnership with The Bike Station in Edinburgh and Bike for Good in Glasgow. The elements of the programme included employability sessions, bike construction and maintenance including workshop experience and a short wilderness residential that has work-related tasks, and biking.

It was a programme designed to reach those young people aged 16-24 who were not in education, training or employment. This included young people who face multiple barriers to their career progression, such as involvement with the criminal justice system, homelessness, alcohol and drug use, poor mental health, caring responsibilities, a care-experienced background or early social work involvement.

After three years, Rocket Science has produced an independent evaluation report that highlights the impacts of the programme.

It works. That is why we are continuing to run the programme.

There are many agencies getting young people ready for work but most of those young adults already have the soft skills to engage in training or to start working. The people Venture Trust help first require significant investment to achieve greater stability – addressing chaotic or destructive behaviours to become ready for training and employment so that they can sustain a job.

They are often dealing with one or more of the following: poverty, alcohol and drug addiction, poor family relationships, mental health issues, learning and housing issues. The majority also have had little or no work experience.

The programme aimed to help participants increase their motivation and self-confidence, develop vocational and employability skills, and support their progression towards work, training or study, increasing the stability of their lives.

The outcomes achieved by young people throughout the three years of the programme show the powerful and positive impact of innovative and person-centred support.

Nearly all the targets were exceeded but more importantly the young people we worked with rode away with a new bike armed with the skills, motivation and confidence to break the cycle of disadvantage holding them back.

Despite youth unemployment figures in Scotland having dropped significantly when the programme was launched, almost 4000 young people remained long-term unemployed because they lack the very basic life skills needed to begin working towards securing and sustaining a job.

Now with the impact of Covid-19 is being felt heavily by young people in Scotland, especially on their future employment prospects a programme like CashBack Change Cycle is never more needed. For those young people who were furthest away from the job market before the coronavirus crisis, inequalities are likely to get worse before they get better. Solutions that include the voices of young people are integral to ensure they are not left behind.

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