Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) – UK ONS stats for August 2019

UK labour market statistics

The latest NEET statistics from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) reveal that the UK NEET rate has not improved over the past five years.

ONS NEET key statistics for April to June 2019

  • There were 792,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET); this number increased by 28,000 from January to March 2019 and was up 14,000 when compared with April to June 2018.
  • The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 11.5%; with the median for the past 5 years sitting at 11.5%. This would suggest not an awful lot has changed at all in the past half a decade.
  • Of all young people in the UK who were NEET, 41.6% (329,472) were looking for, and available for, work and therefore classified as unemployed; the remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and therefore classified as economically inactive.

What can be done to reduce youth unemployment?

In 2020, councils are expecting a funding gap of more than £5 billion. In light of this and the level of young NEETs in the UK, organisations like the Local Government Association (LGA) are calling for devolved support strategies to allow councils to deliver skills provision locally and ensure every young person can realise their full potential and that the needs of employers are met.

Chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, said:

“By devolving careers advice and post-16 skills budgets and powers to local areas, councils can work with schools, colleges and employers to improve provision for young people so that they can get on in life.”

NEET success stories on a local level

LGA additionally puts forward some success stories of councils addressing their problems at a local level:

  • In Medway NEETs fell by almost a fifth between December 2018 and February 2019, compared to the same period in 2017/2018. Medway Council has a specialist team which provides 1-2-1 support for young people who are NEET, youth offenders or those with special educational needs.
  • Blackpool Council works closely with local further education colleges and sixth forms to reach young people who are NEET. They offer a pre-apprenticeship programme and have commissioned a local provider who offers key employment support, and four weeks ‘personal development’ opportunities to develop employability skills.
  • Southwark Council has engaged with over 900 young people throughout the last year, offering impartial information, advice and guidance, through a twice weekly drop-in service. All NEET or at risk of NEET young people have a named advisor to support them into education and training. Council leaders say devolved powers and funding are necessary to get more young people and disadvantaged jobseekers into education, employment or training.

Current research: Understanding NEET predictors and variations

Organizations like Impetus are also making great strides in attempting to more comprehensively understand the NEET population, predictors of being NEET and how it varies from region to region. Their latest findings on the employment gap in the West Midlands corroborated LGA’s perspective by revealing that NEET and employment issues in the area need to be considered on a granular, local level.

For example, in some local authority areas disadvantaged young people are overrepresented among apprenticeship starters by over 10%, whereas in others they are underrepresented by more than 20%. Also, 72% of disadvantaged young people with top GCSEs from Wolverhampton access university.

“The findings really show the need to consider the issues on a granular, local level. The question of whether the West Midlands is “good” or “bad” at something isn’t really meaningful – the answer differs in different places.”

Find out more about their work here.

How does Youth Employment UK tackle NEET rates?

Since 2012, Youth Employment UK has been committed to tackling these issues on several fronts by:

  • Providing expert guidance and support to all organisations working with and employing young people through our Youth Friendly Employer Mark
  • Providing online skills training and resources for young people to access with impartial careers information, signposting, case studies and forum
  • Providing volunteering opportunities for young people who wish to gain work experience whilst fighting youth unemployment
  • Influencing and supporting the political agenda to ensure that youth employment remains a government priority, and that the views of young people and our Youth Friendly Employer Community are being heard
  • Work closely with partners in the sector to cohesively offer best-practice solutions to ensure more young people successfully achieve their potential.

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