Evaluation of the Employment Service in Schools Pilot


The Employment Service in Schools is a pilot service lead by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MoE). It aims to address the employment-related needs and goals of young disabled learners in their last two years of school. Launched in 2021, the pilot is currently operating in five regions – parts of Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago-Southland.

Evaluation was commissioned by MSD to understand the effectiveness of the pilot and inform decisions about the future delivery of services. This included understanding progress made towards pilot goals, coherence of the delivery approach, and the relationships built with communities, providers, learners and whānau.


The evaluation was conducted by Standard of Proof and Standards and Monitoring Services (SAMS) who adopted a mixed-methods approach. Data was collected and collated at two points during the pilot; between September-December 2021 and May-August 2022.

This included:

  • analyses of providers’ programme administrative data
  • review of procurement and contracting documents
  • key stakeholder interviews with MSD and MoE officials
  • case studies conducted around learners, including the learner and their whānau, school staff and employment consultant.

Key findings

The evaluation found that the pilot:

  • built strong, reciprocal partnerships with communities, providers, learners and, in some cases, whānau
  • was delivered in a coherent way, aligning with the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) principles and alongside activities within schools
  • empowered those learners who were included in the pilot
  • was effective at making progress towards its goals.


The evaluation carried out case studies around learners in two of the five pilot regions. The case studies demonstrate aspects of performance in relation to the selected individual or region but are not necessarily generalisable to the pilot overall. Analysis of secondary data, including monthly learner reports, represented all learners and pilot regions. Variance in data reported by providers means this may not be generalisable across all elements of the evaluation.

Next steps

Lessons from the evaluation will inform future delivery of the service which has funded under Budget 23 until June 2024.

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