Skills for the Future evaluation is crucial to the sector’s development.
By evaluation we mean ‘a process of thinking back, in a structured way, on what has worked and why, as your project progresses and reaches completion.’
All too often it’s left until the end of the project, but good evaluation is built into a project from the beginning and informs the day-to-day delivery as well as the lessons to be passed on to the sector. In thinking about their evaluation grantees often ask us for advice on:
- what to measure;
- who to work with;
- how to write an evaluation brief.
Some projects will be evaluated by staff in your own organisation. Depending on the scale and how complicated your project is, you may need to employ somebody to help and assess whether the aims of the project are being successfully met. We have produced general evaluation guidance covering both scenarios.
Skills for the Future project managers have offered these tips in recent practice-sharing workshops:
- If you are using outside help procure early so that the contractor can collect information as the project progresses and you can feed the findings into the project.
- Consider whether you want the contractor to evaluate the project or to set up a system for you to evaluate it. It might be an independent view you are looking for or you might want to bring in new research skills into your team. Be clear about the input you need.
- Use creative methods to evaluate the impact on trainees – video for example. There can be elements of their development which are difficult to capture, eg soft skills.
- Ensure your evaluation captures wider impact/incidental impact for your organisation and the impact on the supervisors and other staff affected, including any parners outside your organisation.
Your evaluation should seek to measure the project against the Skills for the Future programme priorities as interpreted in your original application:
- Increase the range and quality of work-based training to develop skills in the heritage sector;
- Meet identified skills gaps or shortages in the heritage sector;
- Increase the capacity of the sector to deliver training and share good practice; and
- Increase the diversity of the heritage workforce.
What measures have you used to judge the success of your project?
Do you have more tips you can add to our list?
Are you willing to share an example of an effective commissioning brief or an evaluation document? You can upload documents here or link us to another website.