From education to employment

Industry response to the Department for Education’s latest NEET statistics

DfE Employer Provider Guide

In response this morning’s NEET stats revealing that young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) decreased slightly for the 19-24 and 16-24 age groups and remained the same for the 16-18 age group, Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy & External Affairs at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has issued the following comment.

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy & External Affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, comments:

“Today’s figures are promising but there is still clearly a long way to go to significantly decrease the number of NEETs. According to our own research with the EY foundation, a third of current 16 – 21 year-olds in the UK aren’t confident of finding a job in the next few years. With the skills shortage persisting, the productivity gap showing no signs of abating, and youth unemployment continually above the national average, it is clear that decisive action is needed to help solve these problems.

The apprenticeship levy coming into force this year, along with the launch of new degree apprenticeships, means the UK’s education and training landscape is transforming. The impetus is now on businesses to act.  Apprenticeships are a proven route of raising productivity and helping plug the skills gap. Businesses that focus their efforts on offering work-based learning and improving employability will reap the benefit of a more talented and productive workforce. They will also go some way to helping solve the UK’s long-standing youth unemployment problem.”

Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) said:

“These numbers would seem to suggest that introducing Raising the Participation Age has not had much of an impact, but that’s probably not a surprise when it was interpreted by many as staying on school and many young people will resist being forced back into the classroom if they want to find work instead.” 

“16-18 Study Programmes may be making a positive difference to the prospects of young people and we would like to see the government really get behind Traineeships.  Ministers say they like Traineeships but uncertainty over their funding is holding back providers from investing in the programme when there is evidently demand for places.   We need to overcome short term rigidity and medium term uncertainty in funding.”


Julian Gravatt, Assistant Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “These quarterly figures reported by the Government are encouraging as they demonstrate that the number of young people not in education, employment or training has stabilised between October and December 2016, compared to 2015.”

“Colleges are vital for better social mobility. They provide a broad mix of academic and technical education as well as apprenticeship training that helps young people get a great start in life. Through work experience and links with employers, they also help young people to get the employability skills they need to get into the workplace.”

“If they want to continue to tackle unemployment in young people, the Government must review its education spending and provide fairer funding for colleges.”

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, ERSA comments: “The slight fall in young people that are not in employment, education or training (NEET) in the statistics released today is welcome but should not detract attention from the fact that over 11.3% of 16-24 year remain NEET. Indeed, youth unemployment is almost three times as high as general levels of unemployment. Focusing on the national NEET statistics also misses the significant regional variation, with young NEET people disproportionately concentrated in particular geographies.”

“What is clear, is that young people require distinct approaches to being supported to enter the labour market, and getting this right is critical. The case for investment in support for young people is especially high, with the long-term reward exponentially outweighing any such cost.”

“Currently, many young people have a negative perception of Jobcentre Plus and this is driving many young people to fall out of the system altogether – the government needs to urgently address this if it is to really tackle the NEET statistics.”


Responding to today’s ONS NEET statistics, Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute said:

“It is always good news to see a decrease in the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). This fall is consistent with the trend since 2011.” 

“However, for the UK to thrive in an uncertain post-Brexit world, our young people need to be skilled and fulfilling their potential. With 11.5% of young people currently NEET this is a missed opportunity for our economy. Our research last year showed that, below these headline figures, 1.3 million young people spent at least 6 months NEET. And some groups, such as care leavers and young adult carers, are twice as likely to be NEET as other young people.”

“To ensure all young people are in education, employment or training, we must make sure apprenticeship opportunities are attractive to young people, high quality, accessible to all who want them and relevant to the skills that employers need. We also need to provide better support for young people to get the first rung on the career ladder.”

“At Learning and Work Institute we are committed to helping young people from all backgrounds build their careers and every day we are working with a range of partners to improve opportunities across the UK.”

Lindsay McCurdy, Chief Executive of Apprenticeships 4 England comments: 

“826,000 young people (aged 16 to 24) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET), a decrease of 31,000 from July to September 2016 and down 36,000 from a year earlier. The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 11.5%, down 0.4 percentage points from July to September 2016 and down 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier.”

“Any reduction is always a good sign, but we need to do more to reach these young people the 58% of the 826,000 who were not looking and/or not available for work and therefore classified as economically inactive.”

“The Government has set a target of 3m apprenticeships by 2020, we need to ensure that this target includes the 58% of NEETS we are not reaching, this would make a real difference and break the cycle of long term unemployment, we need to have initiatives in place that reaches these young people this would make a real difference to the young people classed as economically inactive, we need campaigns and support that reaches the 58%, The 3m apprentice target will be reached by organisations giving apprenticeship to people that are already employed, apprenticeships numbers for young people starting on the career ladder will not increase by any great amount. The Government if it really wants to make a difference to the 58% needs to urgently address this urgently.”

Click here to see the Department for Education’s NEET statistics quarterly brief: October to December 2016

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