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Study on the Contribution of Sport to the Employability of Young People in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy


This study investigated sport’s contribution to the employability of young NEETs in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy. Its aim was to identify the key components needed to effectively produce outcomes in sport for employability programmes. An in-depth investigation was conducted of 10 selected case study organisations in 8 different European Member States. A theoretical framework provided the basis for data collection and analysis. In total, 85 in-depth interviews in 4 different languages were conducted with programme designers, social workers, sport coaches, participants and former participants. Documents, field notes and follow-up interviews provided more understanding of the complexity of the workings of each case study organisation and their programme. A generic ‘programme theory’ for optimal sport for employability programmes was then developed which identified the key components, mechanisms, relationships and a presumed sequence of causes and effects. Because of its normative nature, the theory serves as a set of guiding principles and recommendations. It can be used as a robust basis for monitoring and evaluation of existing programmes, as well as to optimise design and implementation of future initiatives. Insights from this study also provided the basis for a number of policy recommendations.

This study was conducted by a Consortium Group consisting of the following partners; Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Prof. Dr. Marc Theeboom, Prof. Dr. Fred Coalter and Dr. Jasper Truyens); Streetfootballworld (Niklas Soendgen and Elvira Gonzalez-Valles); ENGSO Youth (Nevena Vukasinovic); VDAB (Stijn Vanden Berghe). 

Academic output from this study, available via Taylor & Francis Online:

Coalter, F., Theeboom, M., & Truyens, J. (2020). Developing a programme theory for sport and employability programmes for NEETs. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 12(4), 679-697.

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