From education to employment

One in ten now ‘NEET’

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday revealed unemployment in the UK had soared to 2.261 million in the three months to April this year. This rise is the highest seen in the nation since November 1996.

The results show that in the three months to April, 462,000 people aged 16 and 17 were in employment – a drop of 16.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. The number of 18-24 year olds in employment also plunged 4.8 per cent to 3.5 million.

The number of young people in England not in education, employment or training (NEET) has rocketed to more than one in ten.

At the end of 2007, 9.7 per cent of 16 to 18 years olds came in this group, but by the end of last year this had jumped to 10.3 per cent.

Although the Government points to a record 1.61 million of this age group in education or training, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said the rise in NEETs provoke serious concern.

"Although we broadly support raising the age for staying in education or training to 18, this must not be used as a temporary solution to keep unemployment figures down. There will be little purpose keeping young people in school or college unless we have the flexibility to create a curriculum that provides the skills they need for work and their future lives so they want to stay in education," said Dr Bousted.

"With the number of semi and unskilled jobs continuing to decline and unemployment rising, we risk having a lost generation of young people who will always be on the periphery of the economy."

(Pictured: ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted)


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