Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show there were 975,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years old) not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the UK in the first quarter of 2014. This is 61,000 lower than in the previous quarter and 118,000 lower than in the first quarter of 2013. This latest fall in the number of young people who are NEET suggests the strengthening labour market is making it easier for young people to find work in the UK. But IPPR analysis shows that a structural shift in the labour market against young people occurred before the financial crisis and recession. As a result, even a sustained economic recovery is likely to leave the number of NEETs at an unacceptable level, and well above levels in some European economies.
Analysis of the experiences of young people across Europe shows that a strong workplace-based vocational education and training system, with high employer involvement, contributes more to a smoother transition from education to work and a low NEET rate than anything else. The UK system is some way from the best in Europe and developing it, increasing young people’s engagement with it and increasing the involvement of employers should be priorities.
Tony Dolphin, IPPR Chief Economist, said:
“The latest fall in the number of young people who were not in education, employment or training is welcome, but at 975,000 it remains too high. The proportion of young people who are NEET is more than twice high in the UK as in the European countries will the lowest rates.
If the economic recovery is sustained, the number of NEETs in the UK will fall further; but without action from the government it will remain at an unacceptably high level. A comparison of the experience of young people entering the labour market across Europe shows that a strong workplace-based vocational education and training system with a high degree of employer involvement is the key factor in producing a low NEET rate.
To move towards such a system in the UK, the government needs to do more to involve employers in the design and delivery of vocational education and training; to improve the quality of apprenticeships and traineeships; to make careers advice and guidance better and to establish a distinct benefits system for young people.”
Full press release on www.ippr.org