The aim of this study 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.
We would like to acknowledge all individuals and organisations contributing to this study. Special thanks to the staff, participants and former participants of the case study organisations we visited during this study for their hospitality and willingness to participate in the in-depth interviews and various discussions. Also, special thanks to all participants of the workshop that we organised on 20 March 2017 in Brussels. We appreciated their feedback and input in the discussions.