In every school, there are young individuals who will face the challenge of finding themselves Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEETs). In today’s ever-evolving job market, it is essential to address the challenges faced by these young people. Schools play a pivotal role in guiding and supporting these individuals towards a brighter future, but how best can they be supported, and what options are available?
This blog aims to shed light on the issue of NEETs and provide strategies to empower students with informed choices, ensuring they have access to education, employment, and training opportunities and offering advice to schools to support these young people in their journey towards the workplace.
NEETs refer to young individuals aged 16-24 who are currently not engaged in any form of education, employment, or training. The reasons for their disengagement can vary, including lack of awareness, socio-economic barriers, academic difficulties, mental health issues, or limited access to resources. Each situation is of course, unique, and any student, regardless of academic ability, can find themselves in this group. So it is crucial to recognise the unique challenges they face and take proactive steps to provide them with the necessary support.
According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, the number of young people classified as NEET experienced a notable increase in October to December 2022.
The total estimated count of NEETs rose to 788,000, up from 724,000 in July to September 2022. This surge follows a previous decline during the pandemic. The percentage of all young people classified as NEET rose to 11.5% in the same period, marking an increase of 0.9 percentage points from the previous quarter (July to September 2022).
This figure represents a 0.5 percentage point increase from pre-COVID-19 levels in October to December 2019.
Gender and NEET Rates:
The rise in NEETs has affected both genders equally. The increase of 32,000 NEET individuals in the October to December 2022 period was observed in both men and women, highlighting the need for gender-inclusive solutions. Notably, this period witnessed a record quarterly increase of 32,000 NEET women, emphasising the urgency to address the unique challenges faced by young women in education and employment.
Unemployment and Inactivity
Among the NEET population, unemployment has emerged as a significant concern. The number of NEETs classified as unemployed in October to December 2022 reached 299,000, experiencing an increase of 65,000 compared to the previous quarter. This increase is the highest since July to September 2011. Disturbingly, the rise in unemployment disproportionately affects women, accounting for the largest quarterly increase of 32,000. Additionally, an estimated 489,000 young people in the UK were classified as NEET and economically inactive, with a small decrease of 1,000 from the previous quarter (July to September 2022).
Early Identification and Intervention
Early identification is key to preventing young individuals from becoming NEETs. Establish systems to regularly review attendance records, academic performance, and well-being indicators. Foster open communication channels with students, parents, and teachers to identify signs of disengagement. Early intervention can make a significant difference by providing tailored support and guidance to address their specific needs.
Personalised Support and Guidance:
Offer personalised support and guidance to NEETs to help them navigate their future. Provide comprehensive information about various career pathways, vocational training, and apprenticeship opportunities. Help them explore their interests, strengths, and aspirations to make informed decisions. By tailoring our support, we empower NEETs to discover their potential and set achievable goals.
Work Experience and Internships:
Facilitate work experience and internship programs to provide NEETs with practical skills, workplace exposure, and professional networks. Collaborate with local businesses to create meaningful opportunities for students to gain real-world experience. These programs not only enhance employability skills but also increase their confidence and readiness for the workforce.
Partnerships and Collaboration
Forge partnerships with local organisations, employers, and training providers to create opportunities for NEETs. Collaborate with employment agencies, community centres, and vocational training institutes to offer diverse pathways for these young individuals. By working together, we can provide a comprehensive support network and access a wider range of resources.
The StartingPoint platform allows employers to advertise job opportunities and apprenticeships directly to thousands of young people or use their filtering system to find candidates with the right skills and talents for their vacant roles and opportunities. The idea being to increase positive career outcomes while making life easier for the educational head of careers.
Students create and manage their own profiles where they can share their talents and achievements.
Mentors then simply monitor and guide the student’s profiles to help them present themselves at their best. Once ready, students can search and apply for work opportunities and apprenticeships directly added by employers using a unique messaging function that keeps the contact between candidate and employer completely safeguarded.
Mental Health and Well-being Support:
Acknowledge the importance of mental health and well-being in the lives of NEETs. Provide access to counselling services, mentorship programs, and well-being workshops. Promote resilience-building, stress management, and self-care practices. By nurturing their emotional well-being, we create a supportive environment for NEETs to thrive.
Flexible Education and Training Programs:
Develop flexible education and training programs that cater to the unique needs of NEETs. Consider alternative learning approaches, blended learning models, and vocational training options. By adapting our educational offerings, we can make learning more accessible and engaging for NEETs, increasing their chances of reengaging with education or training.
Ongoing Monitoring and Follow-up:
Establish a system for monitoring and follow-up support for NEETs even after they access education, employment, or training opportunities. Regular check-ins, mentorship programs, and support networks help them stay on track and address any challenges that may arise along the way. Consistent guidance ensures their progress and continued growth.
Call to Action
In recent years, the issue of young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET) has become a growing concern. These individuals, aged 16 to 24, find themselves at a crucial crossroads in life, facing challenges that can hinder their personal and professional development, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this issue, leading to a sharp increase in the number of NEETs.
By recognising the challenges faced by these individuals and implementing targeted strategies, we can empower NEETs to overcome obstacles, unlock their potential, and build brighter futures. Through collaborative efforts, personalised guidance, skill development, mental health support, and community engagement- schools, businesses and apprenticeship providers alike can create an environment where no young person is left behind, ensuring that every young mind thrives, regardless of their circumstances, inspiring a generation of resilient and talented individuals ready to contribute to society.