Working Progress phase 2 evaluation (2019-2023)

Project Details


The research seeks to continue work conducted in phase 1 evaluation of the Working Progress project in relation to the employment of people furthest away from labour market, including: carers, people with SEND, people over 50 and people from BME communities. This data will be combined with the University’s Social Impact Matrix, to develop a valid, robust and holistic evaluation framework for the intervention delivered by Working Progress. In doing so it seeks to answer the following specific research aims and questions:

To explore and understand the beneficiary experience of the scheme. Including:
Q1: Who were the main beneficiaries of the scheme and what barriers had they experienced in relation to employment?
Q2: What were participants’ views/impressions of the scheme?
Q3: How far has Working Progress improved the knowledge and confidence of its participants whilst equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications to seek employment?
Research Aim 2: To assess the efficacy of Working Progress in working with its partners and participants with complex needs. Including:
Q4: How flexible and responsive have Working Progress’ range of support activity’s been in meeting the individual needs of its client groups?
Q5: How successfully have Working Progress utilised the expertise and delivery experience of Northamptonshire’s VCSE sector who are firmly embedded in the county and have a thorough understanding of the target beneficiaries?
Q6: How have Working Progress reviewed and developed good practice throughout the project?
Q7: How successfully have Working Progress engaged with those who are hard to reach and may have complex needs (as specified in the KPIs)?
Research Aim 3: Evaluate the impact of the project for participant VSCEs, local employers and target beneficiaries. Including:
Q8: What has been the social impact of the Working Progress project?
Q9: What learning can be disseminated amongst the VCSE sector and local employers in the county from this scheme?

The project is part of the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme and is funded by European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

Layman's description

This evaluation builds on the Working Progress Phase 2 evaluation to examine the continued delivery of employability support for people living in Northamptonshire.

Key findings

Both the interviews and questionnaires illustrated the value of BBO Working Progress programme in promoting well-being and self-efficacy. Specifically, the outcomes of the programme are:

Strong relationships: Strong relationships between delivery partners and programme participants were evident throughout the evaluation, which enabled programme participants to access support during the Covid-19 pandemic. These relationships were key in empowering programme participants and reducing social isolation.

Increased health and well-being: Support and positive relationships, which enable programme participants to feel empowered, led to increased well-being. The provision of well-being workshops, check-in sessions and flexible support during the Covid-19 pandemic was essential for programme delivery. This level of support endured after the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure programme participants were supported with post-pandemic challenges (i.e., cost of living crisis and limited employment opportunities).

Increased confidence and self-efficacy: Self-efficacy improves programme participants confidence and motivation which increases the chance of finding employment. The provisions of virtual support in C.V. writing, job search and interview skills were offered to programme participants throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to improve job readiness.

Increased abilities in job searching and general employability skills: Improved digital and technology skills, English language skills, knowledge of creating a curriculum vitae, and interview management increased programme participants employability.

Overall, BBO Working Progress programme produced positive outcomes for the programme participants, enabling them to live a better life, with increased self-efficacy and well-being. It reduced social isolation and increased the programme participants skills and ability to apply for employment opportunities.
Effective start/end date1/08/1931/03/23


  • Employment
  • Employability
  • Social Impact
  • Evaluation
  • Wellbeing
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Confidence


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