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Skills

Volume 697: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many young people aged between 16 and 18 years are not in education, employment or training; whether the numbers are increasing year on year; and what plans they have to assist these young people with a view to their futures. [HL538]

The table below shows the proportion of young people aged between 16 and 18 years who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) at the end of each of the past 10 years. The proportion NEET at the end of 2006 was 10.3 per cent.

Table—young people aged 16 to 18 not in education, employment or training

End of calendar year

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 provisional

Proportion

8.5%

9.4%

8.1%

9.1%

9.5%

9.5%

9.2%

9.7%

10.9%

10.3%

Numbers

154,300

170,300

144,500

162,900

175,900

180,200

178,700

190,000

217,100

206,200

Source: SFR 22/2007—www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000734/sfr22_2007.pdf

Young people who are NEET have a very mixed range of characteristics. Not all are unemployed—they may be taking a gap year, caring for family, or simply be between jobs or courses.

The department's strategy for assisting young people to re-engage is based on four key elements: careful tracking to identify young people's needs; a flexible mix of learning provision designed to meet the needs of every young person in every area; good advice and support to enable young people to access suitable provision; and a set of clear rights and responsibilities for young people to re-engage should they become NEET. Together with the education and training and Youth Matters reforms, these will make a significant reduction in the proportion of young people NEET and put us on the pathway to ensuring that all young people participate in education or training up to the age of 18.

A strategy, setting these out in detail, was published in November 2007, and is available on the DCSF website at www.dfes.gov.uk/1419/index.cfm?sid=42& pid=343&lid=336&ctype=Text&ptype=Single).