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Aug 17, 2017 | by Centre

Call for evidence: engagement and progression in learning for 16 – 24 year olds and wellbeing

Our learning and wellbeing evidence team is conducting a review of interventions which seek to widen participation in learning and support progression for 16-24 year olds who experience low wellbeing or poor mental health. The review is focusing on access to learning specifically for this age group because this a key transitional phase in both learning and work. We are interested in all forms of learning for people in this age group, for example:

  • learning that takes place in further education colleges
  • higher education
  • apprenticeships
  • learning initiatives for young people who are unemployed.

What will our review look at?

  • The review will identify interventions that specifically seek to improve access to learning or facilitate progression. Relevant interventions need not necessarily include a learning or wellbeing component, they may support participation by other means, for example by building confidence or social relationships.
  • This review seeks to understand how wellbeing (happiness, life satisfaction, purpose), mental health (such as depression or social anxiety) and related wellbeing constructs (such as self-esteem or confidence) act as a barriers to learning, and how they can be addressed
  • The review aims to identify key features of interventions that facilitate access to, and progression in learning for 16-24 year olds who experience low wellbeing as defined above. We are interested in how features of interventions impact on whether the young people initiate engagement and/or sustain engagement and progression in learning.
  • In addition to understanding the impact of interventions on learning, the review will also explore other wellbeing and work outcomes of interventions, where these are measured alongside engagement in learning.

How can you get involved?

We are looking for good quality evidence that can help us answer these questions.

We are interested in any studies that measure the impact of interventions on engagement or progression in learning. The measures might include, course attendance or enrolment, uptake of further education, qualification, learning evaluations or assessments, which may be informal, such as achievement of self-determined learning goals. Qualitative and quantitative evidence are both welcome.

We are particularly seeking evidence that meets the following criteria:

  1. Evaluation studies of interventions that target groups or individual learners experiencing poor wellbeing/mental health or related constructs as a barrier to learning and assess the impact of the intervention on engagement and/or progression in learning.
  2. Evaluation studies with measure engagement or achievement/competency in learning for 16-24 year olds before and after an intervention are particularly helpful as this will allow us to determine whether the intervention produced any changes.
  3. Studies which measure wellbeing or work outcomes alongside learning would also be welcome.
  4. Evidence that includes comparison groups that did not participate in an intervention are  particularly helpful, but not essential.

All examples must be written in English or have an English translation and include an author and publication date. We can only accept evidence which can be made publicly available.

Please send your submissions electronically to the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (, with the subject line Call for evidence: Engagement and Progression in Learning and Wellbeing.

All submissions should be received by 15 September 2017.


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