Evaluation of the project that promotes youth employment in Italy

Title StartNetII – Network for school-to-work transition

Location Puglia and Basilicata in Italy with the support of a European network including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Romania, Spain and Switzerland.

Durataion 2020-2023

Funding Stiftung Mercator and Goethe-Institut



StartNet II is the second phase of the project StartNet launched in 2017. StartNet II is an innovative network designed to promote youth employment and school-to-work transition for young people according to their aspirations.

StartNet operates on two levels: StartNet Italy promotes youth employment and school-to-work orientation in Puglia and Basilicata, two Italian regions characterised by a high rate of youth unemployment and internal migration towards other territories in search of job opportunities. The project therefore aims to act as a bridge between schools, institutions, the world of work, youth aggregations and the Third Sector to create concrete projects in the area.

StartNet Europe, on the other hand, works at European level to bring together different state and European initiatives in a platform for specialised dialogue on the topic of school-to-work transition, where it is possible to co-construct good learning-networks practices and find opportunities for their concrete development.

This multilevel approach aims at

  • linking regional initiatives in different European countries;
  • promoting the exchange of knowledge and skills to address socio-economic phenomena such as youth unemployment;
  • building bridges between the education and employment sectors;
  • maintaining and strengthen an open technical dialogue at European level on the topic of school-to-work transition.


General Objective

The M&E and Impact Evaluation Unit was involved to carry out the mid-term and final evaluation of StartNet II. The mid-term evaluation focused on assessing the achievement of project results in the period from March 2020 to September 2022 in order to elaborate useful recommendations to steer project activities in the remaining months; while the final evaluation will look at the totality of the achieved project results, paying due attention to the scalability potential of the StartNet model and the sustainability of the created Network.

The Unit was also involved in the participatory elaboration of the Theory of Change for the future third phase of the project.


Our contribution

The project has a wide and heterogeneous range of beneficiaries. The evaluation strategy developed is based on a participative approach and the use of mixed qualitative and quantitative approaches  in order to assess the achievement of the project objectives, while leaving room for the perceptions of the intervention beneficiaries.

The data collection tools are divided between structured tools for standardised application and unstructured tools based on participant observation and in-depth analysis of multiple perspectives through individual interviews and Focus Group Discussion with the beneficiaries carried out by applying the Evaluation Human Development (EHD) methodology.

The evaluation thus focused on three main strands of analysis

  • Analysis of StartNet II’s compliance with OECD-DAC criteria;
  • Analysis of StartNet II’s impact on strengthening and consolidating the network of stakeholders in the education/youth employment sector, at regional and European level, through a Social Network Analysis. Through this method, ARCO will assess the relationship created between the various networks and its potential for sustainability;
  • Evaluation of the project’s potential to be modelled as good practice, scalable and/or replicable in other contexts/projects.


Read more on our M&E and Impact Evaluation Unit