Harry Armitage, Kim Heyes, Chris O’Leary, Mariola Tarrega, Emma Taylor-Collins


There is a large body of research, policy and comment on youth mentoring schemes. Despite this, there is very little evidence on whether such programmes work and, if they do, what makes them effective. This rapid review of the literature explores the existing evidence around what factors make youth mentoring (or intergenerational) programmes effective.

We found that youth mentoring programmes can improve outcomes across academic, behavioural, emotional and social areas of young people’s lives. These impacts are small, but nevertheless significant. There is no evidence that youth mentoring programmes can improve physical health, although few studies examine this particular outcome. The evidence provides a number of insights into what makes youth mentoring programmes effective, including that longer mentoring relationships are associated with better outcomes, the importance of training and motivation, the need for goal-orientated programmes and the key role of the matching process.

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