Case Study

Transform Society

How we helped Transform Society begin a revolution in the way future leaders for the public sector get recruited.

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The challenge

Transform Society’s mission is to help tackle social injustice by inspiring more of the best graduate talent into front facing roles in the public services.  As social problems get tougher and public funding gets harder to come by, the importance of attracting and retaining the best and brightest becomes ever-more pressing. 

Transform Society is comprised of an alliance of five charities which recruit, train and develop frontline public-sector workers: Teach First (primary and secondary school teachers), Frontline (child social work), Unlocked Graduates (prison officers), Think Ahead (adult mental health) and Police Now. Transform Society will collectively build strategic relationships with universities to not only inspire a generation to serve but also increase their employability skills whilst studying, build the value proposition so the offer can compete with the private sector (e.g. student loan forgiveness) and connect the participants and alumni of the 5 programmes so more can be delivered on the ground in our toughest communities.

Transform Society Alliance members collectively are the UK’s largest recruiter.  But before it could get substantial seed funding, a proof of concept was needed.

The solution

YouthSight helped* Transform Society to test their offer with prospective graduates to understand the salience and appeal of the concept - would the idea resonate with Gen Z? What incentives would motivate applications? And where would the sweet spot between ‘head and heart’ reside?

To fully get to the heart of Transform Society’s aims, we recommended a three-tier approach.  In partnership with The Student Room and SMRS* we used an online forum to gauge graduate opinion on working in the public sector and capture potential barriers.  We then invited the most articulate participants back to a further forum, where we presented them with the Transform Society offer.  The final stage was a nationally representative survey with 1000 students, in which we used a Max Diff approach (which allows the capture of preference scaling) to identify which factors would most attract them most to Transform Society graduate programmes.

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The outcome

Our research highlighted the importance of ‘loan forgiveness’ in the Transform Society offer.  It also gave a clear steer product feature preferences. James Darley, the founder of Transform Society, commented that our insights provided a powerful foundation to the Transform Society offer, adding “I couldn’t have got Transform Society off the ground it if hadn’t been for the insights brought to life by the YouthSight research… their insights have been instrumental to Transform Society’s emerging success, giving strategic clarity and unlocking 2 years of funding."



* YouthSight has believed in Transform Society from the start.  Together with two other specialist agencies / media owners (The Student Room and SMRS) YouthSight provided services for this project on a pro bono basis.
** James Darley is Transform Society founder, visionary and, now, Chief Executive.  James headed up the Teach First graduate recruitment programme from 2004 taking it from a ‘modest’ recruiter to become the largest graduate recruiter in the UK and #2 in the prestigious Times Top 100 Graduate Employers rankings.  James is one of the UK’s most influential and passionate leaders in graduate recruitment.  As well as devising, founding and leading Transform Society he sits on the Board of Frontline, Police Now, Think Ahead & Unlocked as well as the Advisory Boards of Now Teach & The Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation.  He also supports Teach for All ensuring programmes around the world are successful in tackling educational inequity.

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