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Criteria for Effective Practice
While approaches to job creation may vary, certain criteria are vital to initiatives’ effectiveness. To be included in this Effective Practice Guide, job creation programmes incorporate at least one of the following criteria. The more successful initiatives tend to incorporate many if not all.
This guide focuses exclusively on youth-oriented job creation initiatives, which empower young people by giving them the skills, guidance, experience and/or responsibility to succeed. Youth-led job creation initiatives, which are quite rare, are especially highlighted. For the purposes of this criterion, youth is defined as those up to age 30.
To promote the green economy, this guide will highlight initiatives that promote sustainable development, renewables, recycling and environmental protection. Please refer to section four of this guide for the benefits of the emphasising the green economy in job creation.
Metrics are the quantitative and qualitative data collected from the monitoring and evaluation procedures initiatives use to gauge their effectiveness. Tracking a programme’s reach, cost-effectiveness and participants’ progress is essential to understanding what the programme does well, where it can improve, if it should expand or contract, etc. Metrics are necessary to secure funding and/or support because they serve as proof to potential partners and funders that it is worth investing in the initiative.
For the purposes of this guide, initiatives must be replicable, scalable or, if it is network-based, joinable. To reduce youth unemployment Europe-wide, effective programmes should be recognised and replicated. Not every job creation initiative is capable of literal duplication due to differences in location, target demographics, cultural considerations, environment, funding and educational systems mean altering programmes appropriately, but even initiatives that operate on a pan-European or global sphere tailor their programmes depending on these regional variations. These larger-scale, network-based initiatives essentially resemble franchises, meaning they are joinable.
The most effective initiatives take a comprehensive approach to job creation by incorporating several approaches. If a single approach is taken, the programme tends to prove ineffective in the long term. For example, providing a loan to an entrepreneur with no training or experience is harmful both to the entrepreneur and the lender, but if a loan is provided in tandem with business training courses, the enterprise is more likely to succeed. Similarly, training alone is potentially ineffective while training programmes that connect with local businesses or offer career counselling are more helpful[i].
A sustainable initiative is able to maintain its effectiveness over time. As youth unemployment is a systemic problem, the most sustainable job creation projects recognise the problems within the system and try to change, supplement or provide alternatives to them. A sustainable initiative has a cost-effective organisational model and ensures that it has stable sources of funds. It can adapt its mission statement and programmes while embracing long-term goals. Metrics are critical to ensuring an initiative’s sustainability.
[i] Matthieu Cognac. 26.11.2013. 14 ways to foster youth enterprise. http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/nov/26/young-unemployment-entrepreneurship-best-bits.