IBM Analytics Software Helps Medway Trust to Reduce Youth Unemployment

Greater Intelligence Delivers Resources to High Risk Youth Faster

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LONDON, U.K. - 24 Feb 2011: IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that it is working with Medway Youth Trust to identify education, training and employment opportunities for young people to reduce unemployment in communities. Applying IBM predictive analytics software to its operations, Medway Youth Trust can now better identify and reach out to high-risk young people who are unemployed or need education and training to prepare them for future opportunities.

By combing the contact information collected by personal youth advisers and community schools with the youth charity’s database, the Trust's predictive model can aggregate and analyse data to deliver a list of candidates that are likely to fall into the NEET (not in employment, education or training) category in the next year. This enables the Trust to more pro-actively intervene with the support of community partners.

Prior to using IBM predictive analytics, the Trust had to manually search thousands of client records to identify those most at risk and score candidates individually. This process could take days or weeks to process often using erroneous or out date information. Now the search is automated and can be completed accurately in a matter of hours.
The new analytics-based initiative -- code named Project ‘Hidden Patterns’-- allows the Trust to draw on volumes of information from a variety of sources. For example, additional insight is now available based on the system's ability to access the Trust's database and analyse text notes attached to client’s records.

Using information stored in its database, Medway Youth Trust staff can extract actionable information to create a more complete picture of the young person. By ensuring data integrity and automatically identify and correct inconsistencies within client records, this guarantees reporting metrics that are accurate and timely.

Once applied, IBM’s predictive analytics software was able to identify people who had been reported NEET on the system, but were in fact in employment or training. Using IBM’s predictive analytics software the Trust can identify anomalies. For example, between what staff record as the destination of a young person,(i.e. where they want to end up in terms of education, training and employment), and the existing information in the young person’s record. More accurate records allow the training staff and resources to be more appropriately allocated to youth that need these special services.

Prior to using analytics software, the Trust had a database of demographic data and personal advisors visiting schools asking qualitative questionnaires to the youngsters. The questionnaires aimed to discover where the youngsters wanted to end up, with the objective of making sure they ended up gainfully employed.

The information from the questionnaires helped identify a sample group who were at risk of factors such as teenage pregnancies, becoming homeless, having drug abusing parents, being part of a divorced family or violence at home. Decisions were then made about how best to intercede and provide interventions.

“We found there were sometimes inconsistencies between the written notes of staff and the client records, which created errors in actions taken. This was especially true as it can be quite arduous reading text when looking at thousands of records,” said Gary Seaman, Data Quality Manager at Medway Youth Trust. “With IBM’s support we are now able to ensure that scarce resources were provided for the people that need them most. The new model allows us to achieve 82 percent record accuracy and 250 percent improvement in manual search to  identify more young people who may be at risk of disengaging from society.”  

Colin Shearer, predictive analytics strategist at IBM added: “During a period of deep austerity, ensuring young adults are employed or in training will be critical to ensuring the skills and resources are available to support a private sector recovery in the UK.”

Medway Youth Trust is a registered charity focused on improving the life chances of young people. Medway Youth Trust’s vision is to identify young people in the community who are most at risk of not being in education, employment or training in order to meet the government target of 6 percent or under of 16 to 18 year olds falling into this category.

Ultimately, the government’s objective is to have as many 18-25 year olds employed or in education or training programs to help them secure a job in the future.

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