1.3 million young people spend 6 months out of education, employment and training

25th May 2016

Research published today in the ‘Youth Jobs Index’ by Impetus-PEF, a charity supporting disadvantaged young people in the UK, reveals an average of 1.3 million (17%1) 16 to 24 year olds spend 6 months out of education, employment or training (NEET) – a deeper problem than the government’s quarterly statistics indicate.

The government’s figures, which are a snapshot of young people’s education and employment status at a given point in time, have shown a decline in the numbers NEET since 2012. In February 2016, ONS reported 853,000 young people were NEET and their latest figures will be published tomorrow (Thursday 26th May).

Now, new independent research by The Learning and Work Institute for Impetus-PEF, using the same Labour Force Survey data as ONS, gives a fuller picture of both how long young people are out of education and employment for and how likely they are to get into a job having been NEET.

The first of an annual series, the ‘Youth Jobs Index’ shows that young people are spending more time NEET than the government statistics suggest. As well as the 1.3 million young people spending 6 months NEET, the research reveals 700,000 (10%) young people are spending a whole year out of education, employment and training. Impetus-PEF are calling on government to work with them and other youth charities to develop a strategy that can get the most disengaged young people into work.

Andy Ratcliffe, Impetus-PEF CEO says, “Our research shows that more than a million young people in this country are wasting six months not working or learning. This can have knock- on effects for the rest of their lives, reducing their opportunities and earnings. So while we should celebrate the good news that the number of young people who are out of work or education has been falling in recent years, we need to make sure those young people who spent long periods NEET don’t miss the party.”

“Helping the young people furthest from work is essential to meeting the government’s manifesto commitment to abolishing youth unemployment, and the Youth Jobs Index will track progress towards this goal.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission said, “This research places much-needed focus on a significant population of young people who are often over- looked and under-supported. Social mobility is not just about getting graduates into the professions but making sure that every child in the UK is given the chance to follow a path into education or employment for the long-term.” 

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA (Employment Related Services Association) said, “Some young people, especially the most qualified, are faring better in the labour market as the economy has grown. What the Youth Jobs Index shows is that there is a sizable number of young people who are getting left behind – they need access to skilled, specialist support to get them into training or work, and to ensure they stay in the labour market long-term.”

Tony Wilson, Director of Policy and Research at the Learning and Work Institute said, “Our analysis of the government’s data for the Youth Jobs Index looks at young people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) over a three year period from January 2013 to December 2015. This data shines a much-needed light on how long young people are NEET and we welcome greater scrutiny on the fact that so many are disengaged from work and education long-term.”