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Bridgeman, J, Maple, P, Murdock, A, Hardy, S and Townley, C (2016) Demonstrating the Social Value of a Schools Engagement Programme: Introducing Young People to the Construction Professions. In: Chan, P W and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 32nd Annual ARCOM Conference, 5-7 September 2016, Manchester UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 1007–1016.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: Construction professions, Network Rail, Social Return on Investment, SROI,
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-0-1
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/5ec12232303b2a7558637b03f1ea4d90.pdf
  • Abstract:


    Construction Youth Trust’s Budding Brunels is a three day schools engagement programme aimed at inspiring young people, facing barriers, about opportunities within the construction professions.  Network Rail funded a series of Budding Brunels Rail projects and as a social investor they were keen to determine the social value generated by the programme. 

    The Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology was selected as the method to demonstrate impact by capturing financial, socio-economic and social returns using qualitative description, quantification and monetisation.  While there has been significant development and application of SROI in practice academic discussion and theory development has lagged behind.  This has meant that SROI approaches have not developed the necessary rigour and objectivity.  This is partly due to a lack of universalism in indicators, outcomes and financial proxies.   

    A search of the literature revealed that transition to work initiatives tended to focus on young people at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) (e.g. Bynner & Parsons, 2003: Coles et al. 2010: Dattani & Trussler 2011: Goodspeed 2007).  There were examples of universities engaging with communities (Powis et al. 2007: IntoUniversity, 2010) but no construction examples were found.   

    It is not recommended that SROI studies are used for comparison this is partly due to a lack of standardisation.  Conversely, SROI reports are a good source of data for practitioners.  However because of a lack of a similar SROI study stakeholders have been consulted and involved from the beginning of the study.  A forecast SROI was put together where information from stakeholders was balanced with research and evidence.  However, Budding Brunels Rail is ongoing and the research will discuss balancing information from stakeholders with research and evidence, the journey of stakeholder involvement and refining the SROI methodology for a specific construction schools engagement programme.