How does the YPQI support quality, equity, and outcomes for young people, in line with the foundations of youth provision and youth work practice in the UK? How can it support with other priorities in your work with young people?
At the heart of the College’s work is a fundamental belief in the relationship between young people’s experience of provision and positive change in their lives. We believe that understanding impact and quality should stand side by side, and that each should inform the other. This helps us to see evaluation as a dynamic, reflective practice in service of equity and social justice. A focus on quality within this is essential to support continuous quality improvement (CQI), outcomes, and equity for young people.
To move forward, we believe four interconnected components are needed to sustainably embed a focus on quality and equity in youth work:
Shared Definitions of Quality: The more we are collectively surfacing, sharing, and reinforcing a shared understanding of quality, the greater the potential for practitioners, senior leaders, and funders to prioritise and engage with the broader quality agenda, and specific continuous quality improvement processes; sharing information, building communities of interest, encouraging engagement, and strengthening the power of a focus on quality and equity.
Capacity Building: Supporting young people to develop socio-emotional skills (SES) is at the heart of youth work practice, as recognised in the Youth Work Curriculum, the Youth Work Code of Ethics, and the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work. However, we do not have a common and consistent way to describe and measure (and therefore improve) specific practices which can support SES across the sector. Training and resources will support with building our collective understanding of quality practice, and its relationship to equity and outcomes.
Shared Evaluation: The strength of the YIF Learning Project evaluation rested on a shared evaluation framework and data collection using common measures. Informing and shaping funding and policy decisions and the development of provision for young people calls for improving our understanding of collective quality and impact through building an open, sector–wide data set. More evidence will allow us to demonstrate the relationship between quality, outcomes, and equity with even greater confidence.
Continuous Improvement: Finally, at the heart of a sector-wide commitment to quality must sit consistent and continuous quality improvement processes within organisations, implemented by practitioners, enabled by senior leaders at youth work organisations, and proactively supported by funders and commissioners. The YPQI offers a strong framework for this, that both complements and enhances existing quality ‘assurance’ models.
The YPQI forms a key part of this approach, alongside other systems, tools, and initiatives for continuous quality improvement, meaningful outcomes measurement, and equity efforts. We've started to develop and collate resources to support with the priorities we’ve named above – read on to get started and get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’ve got ideas, comments, or questions that you’d like to discuss.
You can also visit our Measuring the Impact of Youth Provision page to learn more about other tools that can support you to build confidence in the quality of your provision.
Why focus on socio-emotional skills in quality improvement work?
How high quality practice supports young people’s socio-emotional skills development
How to centre meaningful quality improvement in your evaluation and learning efforts
Training and learning opportunities
Details on upcoming training opportunities to help you on your quality improvement journey