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Unemployment: Young People

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many and what proportion of (a) 16-year-olds, (b) 17-year-olds, (c) 18-year-olds and (d) 19-year-olds were not in employment, education or training in England in each of the last three years; (138490)

(2) how many and what proportion of (a) 20-year-olds, (b) 21-year-olds, (c) 22-year-olds, (d) 23-year-olds and (e) 24-year-olds were not in employment, education or training in England in each of the last three years.

The following table gives the number and proportion of (a) 16, (b) 17 and (c) 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) in England in each of the last three years for which figures are available. Comparable figures are not available for older ages.

End 2003

End 2004

End 2005

(a) Age 16

Number

53,000

53,000

51,000

Proportion (percentage)

8

8

8

(b) Age 17

Number

49,000

61,000

73,000

Proportion (percentage)

8

9

11

(c) Age 18

Number

83,000

83,000

96,000

Proportion (percentage)

13

13

14

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.

It is vital that all young people gain the essential skills and qualifications so that they are better prepared for getting on and success in life. Our 14-19 reforms will ensure there are suitable routes through the education and training system in place for every young person.

To keep them in learning, we 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.