UpRising Leadership Programme Evaluation

UpRising is a UK-wide youth leadership development organisation, aiming to open pathways to power for talented young people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds. This report marks the culmination of an independent evaluation of UpRising conducted by Demos, which began in summer 2014. Our evaluation of UpRising has sought to measure the outcomes of taking part in UpRising’s flagship nine-month Leadership Programme for participants over the short term, and to assess the programme’s medium- and potential longer-term impacts. Our interim report, The Power of UpRising, looked at the medium to long-term impact of the Leadership Programme, based on a survey of UpRising alumni and people from under-represented backgrounds who have reached positions of power. This report supplements those interim findings and focuses on the short-term outcomes for participants taking part in UpRising.

UpRising has an ambitious vision for social change. The organisation seeks to equip its participants – recruited from diverse backgrounds – with the knowledge, networks, skills and confidence to be effective leaders and change makers in society. As more people from under-represented backgrounds ascend to positions of authority, leaders in the UK will better represent the country’s growing diversity.

For this report we have measured changes according to UpRising’s theory of change – looking at four key ‘ingredients’ of success that UpRising attempts to develop in its participants: knowledge, networks, skills and confidence. We have also measured changes in UpRising participants’ political and democratic engagement around the May 2015 general election – another priority for the organisation. We have looked at a range of measures of interest to the Cabinet Office in the context of youth social action, including how participants score on wellbeing, cooperation, ‘grit’ and other measures. And this quantitative insight has been supplemented by the qualitative feedback on the programme from our focus group participants.

Our evaluation findings show that the Leadership Programme appears to have led to significant positive outcomes in knowledge, networks, skills and confidence of the 2014/15 cohort. The level of political and democratic engagement of Leadership Programme participants also increased over the course of the programme. Overall, the evaluation in its entirety shows a positive picture for the impact UpRising is having in preparing its participants with the tools for success. Feedback from UpRisers in our focus groups suggested that many felt they had benefitted from their work with UpRising, often years after completing the programme. Many had taken the knowledge and skills learned and had found jobs where they were using them successfully and making a difference to their communities.

The press release with key findings can be accessed here.

The full report can be downloaded here.