Blog: Reboot West – Value Based Employability Support

Last week we presented at the ‘Improving Employability for Young People with Care Experience’ event which was hosted by NLCBF, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Department for Education.  We were sharing about Reboot West, one of the Employability Social Impact Bond projects funded by the DfE.

Reboot West is a project delivered by Bristol-based charity 1625 Independent People and supports 16-25 year old care experienced young people in the West of England to obtain and sustain high quality education training and employment (EET) opportunities.

Reboot coaches work with the young people for up to three years and explore what matters most to them (their values) and what they are good at, helping them to gain the confidence, skills, motivation and qualifications to progress to meaningful work. This includes job coaching and practical help (for example with their CVs and preparing for job interviews) as well as providing things like laptops and work clothes. The project also helps to create supportive, sustainable education and employment opportunities by working in partnership with employers, colleges, universities and training providers.

The project uses a model of support based on Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) called DNA-V that was developed specifically for working with adolescents. The co-founder of DNA-V, Australian clinical psychologist Louise Hayes, has supported the project since the beginning, along with Bristol-based senior educational psychologist, Duncan Gillard. This psychological approach helps young people to build commitment and make positive choices. Rather than be driven by some of the unhelpful thoughts and feelings that young people leaving care can often experience, DNA-V enables young people to choose behaviours and action based on their personal values and the life they want to lead. DNA-V stands for the following:


Discoverer – The adventurous part of people that wants to explore and try something new

Noticer – Active mindfulness, how people are feeling emotionally and physically, engagement in themselves and their surroundings, it is non judgemental, innate/instinctive

Advisor – Inner voice and thoughts that people use to navigate the world

Values – What is import to people, values can be flexible and change from moment to moment.


When working with a young person an example could look like: they might identify that they have social anxiety which prevents them from going to college. A Reboot coach would support that young person to consider what feels important to them about going to college, which could be ‘self-development’, we would then bring awareness to the thoughts that come up for them when thinking about going to college, e.g. ‘no one will like me’. Following this we would use ACT techniques to support the YP to prioritise the value, over the thought, or if going to college felt too risky at that time, then to move towards self-development by setting other goals, i.e. doing some self-led learning at home.

Reboot West was first launched in 2018 through funding from the Department for Education’s Social Care Innovation Fund. The project was funded through a Social Impact Bond (SIB), which meant that the upfront delivery costs were met through investment from our social investor, Bridges Fund Management.  We agreed a set of contracted targets with DfE that we were then measured against. Reboot West 1 worked with 237 care experienced young people through a strong partnership approach with the 4 local authority leaving care teams in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset. The success of Reboot has been a reflection of the skills, ambition and achievements of the young people we supported, and the strength of the partnership and with the local authority teams and Bridges Fund management with whom we worked so closely.

The evidence from this contract demonstrated, that in spite of the Covid lockdown, which struck midway during the delivery period, Reboot West was successful in supporting young people to achieve the higher rate “stretch targets” for education and employment outcomes that were agreed with DfE  at the beginning of the contract. Furthermore young people raised the aspirations of the contract, for example accessing higher education wasn’t a target at the start of the programme as the young people we were supporting were, statistically speaking, not likely to go to university, but during the course of the programme lots of young people aspired for this, and so the contract targets were reviewed to include accessing higher education as a paid outcome.

In 2020, 1625 Independent People were successful in securing continuation funding for Reboot from the West of England Combined Authority and Youth Futures Foundation –  the What Works Centre for Youth Employment. The joint investment of the Youth Futures Foundation and the regional authority has brought many benefits. We have been able to support 157 more young people, better integrate the resources and experience of the regional skills and employment sector with the work of 1625ip and local authority leaving care services, work with the evaluation team at Behavioural Insights Team to prepare for a full impact trial of the Reboot approach and share learning to strengthen the impact of our work regionally.

The funding from the Regional Authority was matched by Youth Futures Foundation, which aims to reduce the employment gap for young people by investing in high quality evaluation and support for promising programmes that help young people from marginalised backgrounds move into meaningful work.

Youth Futures Foundation have recently announced substantial funding for a full £3M Impact Trial of Reboot West, which launched in August this year and will support a further 265 care experienced young people to access high quality education and employment. As part of “Reboot West 3”, Youth Futures Foundation have commissioned the Behavioural Insights Team to run a full-scale impact trial, the largest and strongest of its kind ever to run in the UK.

The randomised control trial aims to produce robust evidence that can establish whether, through accessing the Reboot’s therapeutic approach to support a longer term, relationship-intervention, care experienced young people are more likely to access and sustain education, training and employment.  We will also be identifying potential cost savings to the public purse – for example through young people being less reliant on welfare benefits, contributing to taxation income, and avoiding negative outcomes such as offending, homelessness, deterioration in mental health and having their own children taken into care …etc.

The intention is that the evidence can be used to bring about positive systemic change and improve outcomes for care experienced young people nationally and even internationally.


For more information on the DNA-V model you can access various resources here:

Next upcoming training:

Values cards:



Want to read more about this event? Here are two additional blogs we think you would enjoy:

Blog: The Care X Apprentice Network talk about Employability

Blog: It’s the relationships, stupid!