NEETS in 2013

This report makes a highly significant contribution to our understanding of youth unemployment. In many ways, its findings are both disturbing and sobering and clearly illustrate the negative consequences of being outside education and employment – both for individual young people and for society more broadly.

The research shows that young people categorised as NEET (not in education, employment or training) are prone social exclusion and isolation, and that they are more likely to suffer from depression and other limiting illnesses than those in education and work.

It also illustrates the corrosive effect that unemployment can have on a young person’s confidence, motivation, and their view of the future.

Importantly, however, the report also shows that most NEET young people do not have low aspirations: its findings suggest that the vast majority want to work and believe they can make a valuable contribution to society.

Furthermore, whilst the research confirms that individuals with no qualifications are particularly vulnerable to being NEET, it also shows that a significant proportion of young people outside education and work possess high-level skills and qualifications.

Such findings suggest that youth unemployment is related as much to the availability of employment and the particular nature of jobs available to young people as it is to their individual and personal qualities and dispositions.

Whilst education and training which equips young people for the world of work is clearly important and high-quality, personalised Information, Advice and Guidance is desperately needed, new and creative ways of engaging young people are necessary: a new settlement – a Youth Resolution – is needed.

The creation of such a movement, to which training providers, support services, voluntary organisations and, perhaps most importantly, employers commit, would provide an  agenda for change – not only for education, training and employment standards, but also for the broader social responsibilities we as a society have for young people’s individual well-being and their collective future.

Professor Robin Simmons
University of Huddersfield

 

 

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