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Value For Money and Policy

7 potent mechanisms delivering improvements for targeted youth programmes


Communication skills are essential for a successful transition to work or training, for independence, and to access a range of life opportunities, to attainment, in forming positive relationships and in reductions in re-offending.


Confidence and agency enables young people to recognise that they can make a difference to their own lives and that effort has a purpose, is important to key outcomes such as career success. There is evidence of a link between positive outcomes and self-confidence.


Planning and problem-solving, alongside resilience, provides young people with a ‘positive protective armour’ against negative outcomes associated with risky life events. Problemsolving has also been shown to be associated with the ability to cope with stresses in life.


Relationships are an effective mechanism for getting young people involved in positive activities through valued personal relationships with peers, adults or siblings. A beneficial change in young people’s relationships with other adults through their participation in positive activities can be transferred to academic learning and may lead to better outcomes.

Creativity and imagination is related to resilience and well-being. Creativity can have a positive impact on both self-esteem and overall achievement.

Resilience and determination – If society intervenes early enough, it can improve cognitive and socio-emotional abilities and the health of disadvantaged children. Effective early interventions can promote schooling, reduce crime, foster workforce productivity and reduce teenage pregnancy. Self-discipline has been highlighted as a vital factor in building academic achievement, significantly better than IQ.


Emotional intelligence is associated with the ability to manage feelings by knowing one’s own emotions, as well as recognising and understanding other people’s emotions. This is vital in managing relationships (e.g. managing the emotions of others).