What gets them going? The effects of activation policies on personal change processes of unemployed youth

Verena Niyadurupola, Lucio Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Activation policies are widely adopted to encourage labour market participation of unemployed youth, and yet they are poorly understood and monitored with regard to the causal mechanisms unfolding through their implementation. Activation schemes are often based on the carrot-and-stick logic informed by microeconomic job search theory, but activation occurs through processes which are far more complex and comprises elements of career identity and capability development, among others. This paper is the first to provide an in-depth exploration of the processes of attitudinal and behavioural change experienced by unemployed youth over the course of their participation in different activation programmes. Seven phases of change emerged from the analysis, namely vocational availability, self-testing, self-knowledge, self-confidence, goal-orientation, vocational activity and perseverance. For each of these phases, we identify drivers of change from both within and outside the intervention sphere, and discuss them in their implications for research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-609
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Issue number4
Early online date15 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Youth Unemployment
  • Active Labour Market Policies
  • Theory of Change
  • Theory-based Evaluation
  • Qualitative Methods

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