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Further Education

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of 16 to 18 year-olds who were previously not in education, employment or training (a) began a course in (i) a further education college, (ii) a sixth form college, (iii) a school sixth form, and (iv) a work-based learning provider and (b) were no longer included under the definition because they reached their 19th birthday in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (135322)

The following table shows the number of young people aged 16 to 18 previously not in education, employment or training who began (a) education or (b) work based learning in each of the last three years as a proportion of the average number of young people not in education, employment or training during each of these years.

Percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds previously not in education, employment or training who began a course 2003-04 to 2005-06

Education

Work based learning

2003-04

16

34

2004-05

20

34

2005-06

22

36

Source: Connexions Service

The proportion of young people beginning education cannot be broken down by the type of education establishment. Information on the proportion of young people who are no longer included under the definition because they reached their 19th birthday is not collected as Connexions may continue to work with them after this date. Young people beginning more than one course will be recorded on each occasion.

It is estimated that 220,000 (11 per cent.) 16 to 18-year-olds were not in education, employment or training (NEET) at the end of 2005. Not all of these young people are out of work—the figures include young people taking a break from study, caring for families, or simply between jobs or courses. Annual surveys carried out on a group of young people at ages 16, 17 and 18 found that nearly 20 per cent. were NEET at one of the three survey dates, while only around 1 per cent. were NEET at each of the three survey points.

Record numbers of 16-year-olds are in full-time education. But, we recognise the need to take action to reduce the proportion of young people not in any form of education, employment or training, and have set ourselves a very challenging target to get the proportion down to 8 per cent. by 2010.

Our 14 to 19 reforms are vital: the implementation plan makes commitment to make and offer of learning to every young person after they complete year 11. They also give us the platform for agencies working with young people to plan and develop learning and employment opportunities that meet local needs.

To keep them in learning, need to help them tackle the other issues in their lives that might cause them to leave which we are doing through our every child matters reforms.