Press release

Lowest rate of young people NEET for 20 years

New stats show more 16- to 18-year-olds in education, employment or training since comparable records began.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Students looking at computer

Figures released today (25 June 2014) reveal the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) is at the lowest level since comparable records began 20 years ago.

The statistics also show the number of 16- to 18-year-olds NEET has dropped by more than a quarter since the end of 2009. Education Secretary Michael Gove credited the fall on the government reforms to education and training.

The figures show that for England at the end of 2013:

  • there are 33,400 fewer 16- to 18-year-olds NEET than in 2012 - a drop of almost a fifth in just 1 year - and 55,200 fewer NEETs since the end of 2009
  • the proportion of 16- to 18-year olds NEET is also down - to 7.6%, the lowest rate since comparable records began in 1994
  • there are now more than half a million 16-year-olds in full-time education - up 16,200 (2.4 percentage points) on last year - these are the first figures available since we raised the age to which young people must stay in education or training beyond the age of 16
  • the number of 16-year-olds NEET fell by almost 12,000 (1.9 percentage points) - the largest fall seen since comparable records began

The government’s reforms mean that more and more young people are being given the chance to fulfil their potential - through studying or training, embarking on an apprenticeship or traineeship or entering the world of work.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

I am delighted to see more young people earning or learning. The figures showing how many 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds are not in education employment or training are at their lowest level since comparable records began.

Today’s figures show our education reforms are helping to deliver the government’s long-term economic plan. More young people are better prepared than ever before for the world of work or further study. That means greater economic security for young people and their families across the country.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

These figures confirm our radical education reforms are improving the prospects of thousands of young people across England.

A clearer link from education to work, more rigour, and record numbers of apprenticeships have all helped give more young people what they need to get the jobs available.

It’s a vital part of our long-term economic plan and our moral mission to help all young people in Britain to fulfil their potential.

The government has a package of measures to help young people get the best possible start in life. This includes:

  • introducing a rigorous new curriculum and world-class qualifications, ensuring proper preparation for further and higher education, and work
  • ensuring that young people who have not achieved at least a C in GCSE English or maths must continue studying those subjects up to the age of 18
  • removing low-quality vocational qualifications from league tables in favour of courses proven to deliver the skills employers demand
  • a £30 million package of funding designed to improve the prospects of up to 20,000 vulnerable young people, helping to prevent them becoming NEET
  • a new programme of traineeships to help those aged 16 to 23 (inclusive) to develop the skills and vital experience they need to secure apprenticeships and other sustainable jobs
  • spending £7.2 billion in 2014 to 2015 to fund a place in education or training for every 16- or 17-year-old who wants one
  • encouraging schools and colleges to use employers to mentor and inspire young people towards ambitious careers, as part of revamped careers guidance
  • raising the participation age so that young people in England are now required to continue in education or training beyond the age of 16

Further information

  1. View the statistics released today.
  2. Today’s statistics are drawn from a combination of administrative data sources (schools, colleges, training providers and universities), the Labour Force Survey, and population data for England.

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Published 25 June 2014