University of Sheffield academics call for action to support the transition from education to employment

2nd February 2018

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Middlesex are calling on the government and employers to act after a new study revealed the scale of challenges faced by young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Re-engaging NEETS, a study led by Professor Louise Ryan from the University of Sheffield's Department of Sociological Studies, identified that young people are most at risk of becoming a NEET if they have a criminal record, are homeless, grew up in the care system or have few or no qualifications and little work experience. Although the number of 18-24 year olds classified as NEETs has decreased in recent years, more than 750,000 young people are still not in education, employment or training. The West Midlands has the highest percentage of young people classifying themselves as a NEET more than 16 per cent of the 18-24 year old age group. The research team recommends that schools and colleges should implement compulsory high-quality career information, advice and guidance to their curriculum, as well as establishing an early warning system to identify pupils who are lacking engagement with their studies. The study also advises that substantial and relevant work experience should be offered to students, with improved training for teachers to identify those with special educational needs. Recommendations for improvements also extend to providing employers with incentives to provide opportunities for inexperienced workers especially those with criminal convictions and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. A living wage for apprentices, housing support for young homeless people and financial help for those coming out of unemployment would also help to lower the number of NEETs. Professor Louise Ryan, Professorial Research Fellow from the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield, said: -The prevalence of NEETs continues to be a serious challenge in British society as of December 2017 there are 750,000 young people defining themselves as NEET. -Our research revealed the complex causes underlying the process of disengaging from education and employment. This generation of disadvantaged youth has borne the brunt of the financial crisis and austerity. -Our recommendations highlight the importance of supporting youth services. This is absolutely the wrong time to cut youth services and close down local job centres. The study, involved more than 3,000 students from schools and colleges in London and the North East, as well as interviews with 60 young people not currently in employment, education or training. An event to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the challenges faced by young people in moving from education to employment is being run by the team in London today (30 January 2018).

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