Horizontal evaluation of the Youth Employment Strategy - Skills Link stream - Summary

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Evaluation of the Youth Employment Strategy – Skills Link Stream [PDF - 173.9 KB]

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About the program

The former Horizontal Youth Employment Strategy consisted of 3 program streams: Summer Work Experience, Skills Link and Career Focus. A new Horizontal Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) that came into effect in June 2019 merged these 3 streams.

Skills Link targeted youth who faced barriers to employment. Skills Link funded local and regional organizations from various sectors. These organizations provided youth with opportunities to gain employment experience and acquire knowledge and skills.

In 2017 and 2018:

  • 19,000 + youth participated in Skills Link
  • the government provided $170M in funding to organizations

Main findings

  • Immediately after participating in Skills Link, more than 70% of youth worked or had returned to school, exceeding the program target of 60%.
  • Overall, the magnitude of the incremental impacts on participants’ labour market attachment was limited, suggesting challenges associated with helping youth with barriers to employment
  • Youth who received “work experience” through the program resulted in stronger labour market attachment relative to youth who received “group-based workshop” interventions
  • Analysis suggests that interventions involving a workshop approach had generally negative incremental impacts. However workshops were relatively more effective for youth who had a lower level of education.


  • Findings suggest that there are potential challenges associated with the group-based workshop approach. Especially when it is applied to a mixed group of youth facing various barriers to employment. This points to the benefits of better tailoring interventions, in line with the needs of the different segments of participating youth.

The full Evaluation of the Youth Employment Strategy – Skills Link stream is available at Skills Link Stream.

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