The geography of NEETs


A new report examining NEET rates for 16 – 24 year olds across Great Britain has identified a group of blackspots that without effective, targeted action from government and business, will result in a generation of young people facing a bleak future in the labour market.
The Work Foundation report for the Private Equity Foundation says: "In a difficult labour market, young people often find it harder to gain a foothold in work - and there is a real danger that youth unemployment could soon reach one million.

"Alongside this, public sector cuts mean youth services and 16-19 education face reductions of around 20%."

It adds: "The combination of these two pressures means that unless urgent action is taken, the levels of young people who are Neet is likely to increase further still."

Among the chief blackspots identified are cities such as Grimsby, Doncaster and Blackpool. Parts of London, such as Hackney and Newham, also have high rates of young people NEET.

Of those cities with relatively low levels of NEETs, Oxford, Aberdeen and York come out as the best performers, with cities such as Portsmouth and Plymouth also coming performing well.

Shaks Ghosh, Chief Executive of the Private Equity Foundation, said: "This report has highlighted the great disparity in opportunities for young people across Great Britain.  The fact that nearly a quarter of 16 to 24 year olds are disengaged from education or employment in certain cities is not only shocking but very sad. Children from deprived areas urgently need the right support to continue in school, go to college or to get a job. To neglect these NEETs, risks a crisis in too many of our communities”

Report author Neil Lee said: "For a young person, being out of education, employment or training can have major ramifications, including long-term reductions in wages and increased chances of unemployment later in life, as well as social or psychological problems arising as a result of sustained unemployment."

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of Schools and Colleges said: "This very worrying report highlights the need for redoubled efforts to ensure that all young people who are at risk of becoming Neet have access to targeted support, including an engaging curriculum relevant to their needs.

"A key aspect of this support is access to high-quality advice and guidance so that young people are helped to find their way towards the career opportunities that do exist but are not always easy to find."

Skills Minister John Hayes said: "Government departments are working together to ensure that all those aged 16 to 24 are provided with the support they need to get the skills for work. Data indicates that apprenticeship starts for academic year 2010-11 have risen by more than 50% on last year's figures."

The report recommends that local government focuses on the better coordination of services at a local level, ensuring clear pathways between school, education and the world of work. It also calls on the government to ensure better data is made available to analyse the extent of the problem.

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