Building the evidence

The What Works Unit design and deliver a range of complex evaluations to support evidence-based decision making. We help commissioners to identify what works, for whom and in what contexts across a range of issues including youth unemployment, the future of skills and lifelong learning.

We design and conduct experimental and non-experimental evaluations, including: process evaluation, outcome and impact evaluation, economic/cost-benefit evaluation, theory-based and realist evaluation.

We build prototypes and trials to test the most promising interventions and build the evidence base.

Evidence generated from our evaluations has supported the development of local and national policies that support lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion.


Investing in ‘what works’ activity in further education and adult learning policy

This policy brief sets out the case for a What Works Centre for further education and adult learning. Completed as part of wider work for the Social Mobility Commission, it presents the evidence for establishing a What Works Centre, including areas of work in the first five years and the level of investment needed.
Read the policy brief

Understanding evidence use in adult learning and skills

The Department for Education (DfE) funded this project to better understand how organisations and institutions across the adult learning and skills sector engage with and use research and evidence to inform their decision making.

Developing a Jobs-Plus model for the UK

Learning and Work Institute worked with 19 social landlords across Britain from 2016-2018 to develop these proposals. They were brought together by Give Us A Chance (now Communities that Work). The plan builds on the highly successful Jobs-Plus model implemented in the United States since the late 1990s. We are now working on developing these proposals further.
Find out more about the model

Working together on what works

We would like to build partnerships and collaborations with other organisations to build the evidence on what works for learning and work. If you would like to discuss an idea, please get in touch with Fay Sadro.