From education to employment

Participation in education, training and employment age 16 to 18

silhouette of person reading book

This release contains the Department for Education’s official measures of participation and NEET (not in education, employment or training) for 16 to 18 year olds.

  • 16-17 year olds are required to remain in education and training in England following raising the participation age legislation in 2013.
  • 18 year olds in this release are in the first year post compulsory education.

Much of the narrative focuses on these two age groupings but individual ages are discussed where appropriate. Other key analyses is by gender, type of learning (e.g. full-time education/apprenticeships), institution type, highest qualification level being studied and labour market status (e.g. employed/unemployed/inactive).

Participation estimates for the 2020 and 2021 cohort’s impacted by COVID-19 may not fully reflect engagement and attendance. 

Key Figures:

  • 81.2% of 16-18 year olds participating end 2021, highest recoded was 82.1% end 2020
  • 6.4% of 16-18 year olds NEET end 2021, lowest recorded was 6.3% end 2016

Overall ages 16-18

  • Participation in education or apprenticeships down 0.9 percentage points to 81.2%.
  • The not in education, employment and training (NEET) rate has decreased and is one of the lowest on record at 6.4%.
  • Of the remaining 12.3% of the population, 4.4% were in wider training and 8.0% in employment.

Ages 16-17 (in compulsory education or training)

  • 90.5% participating in education or apprenticeships, down 0.5 percentage points.
  • 5.0% NEET,  highest rate since 2013.
  • 2.9% in wider training and 1.5% in employment.

Age 18 (first year post compulsory education or training)

  • 62.2% participating in education or apprenticeships, down 1.5 percentage points.
  • 9.3% NEET, a decrease of 2.9 percentage points and the lowest on record. 
  • 7.3% in wider training and 21.2% in employment (highest rate since 2007).

Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First, has commented:

“While it’s good to see that the number of young people in this country not in education, employment or training (NEET) has not increased, the fact remains that there are thousands who remain in this position. Despite the same potential and talent, we know young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are significantly more likely to end up NEET – so it’s a problem we must address if we want to truly level up our country.

“There are measures that we can – and must – take if we want to ensure every young person has the opportunities and skills needed to thrive after leaving school. High-quality careers advice and work experience is part of this and can no longer be a postcode lottery. Fixing this on a national level will make a huge difference to young people’s development at school, their future employment opportunities and ultimately will help build the country’s long-term prosperity.”

Related Articles