Evaluation of the Training Strategy of Reviving the Heart of the West End SRB programme

From January 1999 to January 2001
Project Leader(s): Jill Clark
Staff: Elaine Robson and Ian Hall
Contact: Jill Clark
Sponsors: Reviving the Heart of the West End.

Introduction The Training Strategy is a central part of the Reviving the Heart of the West End programme, and aims to address the need for local provision which overcomes the barriers which continue to prevent/inhibit many people from accessing and participating in training. The evaluation aimed to examine whether the Strategy achieved its own overall aims and objectives and had: • improved the 'employability' and employment prospects of local people; • met the needs of all sections of the community and • achieved an appropriate balance between pre-vocational support and vocational support. Research Paradigm Evaluation is a methodological area that is closely related to, but distinguishable from, more traditional social research, and utilises many of the same methodologies used in traditional social research. However, because evaluation takes place within a political and organisational context, it requires group skills, management ability, political dexterity, sensitivity to multiple stakeholders and other skills that social research in general does not rely on to the same extent. Research Methodology The evaluation study aimed to examine the effectiveness and impact of five local projects which work at the core of the Strategy. The research was broken down into three phases: Phase 1: • Participant observation of the five projects in action; • Semi-structured interviews with key staff; • Collection and Collation of 'hard' data; • Focus group discussions with users; • Identification of the samples of users to 'track' • Interviews with representatives of 'outside partners/collaborators'; Phase 2: • Interviews with key individuals; • Interviews with 'users'; • Focus group discussion with key staff; • Focus group discussions with other groups; Phase 3: • Interviews with 'users'; • Semi-structured interview with the co-ordinator; • Focus group discussion with key staff of the five projects; • Focus group discussions with other groups. • Data analysis, writing up and report preparation. Publications: Ian Hall, Jill Clark and Elaine Robson. Reviving the Heart of the West-End Training Strategy, An evaluation of the Intermediate Job Market Program. 2001. Department of Education, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Clark, J. and Robson, E. (1999) 'Evaluation of the Reviving the Heart of the West End Training Strategy (SRB)'. Initial Report (Department of Education, University of Newcastle). Research Report.


Dr Jill Clark
Principal Research Associate and Executive Director of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching