Press release

Proportion of young people in England NEET plunges to record low

Almost 100,000 fewer 16- to 24-year-olds classified as not in education, employment or training (NEET) compared to same period last year.

engineering apprentice

The proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) in 2015 reached a record low for the time of year, according to official figures published today (25 February 2016).

The figures show that almost 100,000 fewer 16- to 24-year-olds were classed as NEET between October and December last year, compared to the same period in 2014.

This brought the NEET rate to its lowest for the time of year since comparable records began in 2000, providing further evidence the government is delivering on its pledge to abolish youth unemployment and ensure all young people are earning or learning.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

We are committed to giving every young person, whatever their background, the chance to earn a good living or learn new skills - this is vital not just for the individual but for the whole country.

The continued fall in young people not in education, employment or training - leading to today’s record low level - shows that we are delivering on this commitment.

There is no room for complacency, though, and through our plans to deliver 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020 and our qualification reforms, we are determined to build on these excellent results.

Today’s figures are based on Labour Force Survey data, and are compared to the same period over different years, ensuring they are not distorted by seasonal factors.

The figures show falls in NEET rates across all age groups, continuing a downward trend for the time of year which began in 2011.

The figures show that the proportion of:

  • 16- to 18-year-olds who were NEET had fallen by 0.4 percentage points to 6.6%, a fall of 12,000 year on year to the lowest level since 2000, when consistent data began
  • 16- to 24-year-olds who were NEET had fallen by 1.5 percentage points to 11.6%, down 97,000 year on year and at its lowest rate since 2000
  • 19- to 24-year-olds who were NEET had fallen by 2.1 percentage points to 13.8%, a reduction of 86,000 on the previous year

The NEET figures follow recent statistics showing youth unemployment at its lowest since 2005, and the number of young people claiming work-related benefits at its lowest since the mid-1970s.

The government has undertaken a number of reforms since 2010 to help young people over the age of 16 fulfil their potential, including:

  • raising the age of compulsory participation in some form of education or training to 18
  • stripping out low-quality technical and professional qualifications which were not valued by employers from league tables
  • putting in place plans to simplify the technical and professional education system by introducing high-quality, easy-to-understand routes leading to skilled employment, which will be as easy to understand as academic routes
  • committing to reaching 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020, ensuring they deliver the skills employers and the economy need for growth
  • introducing degree-level apprenticeships to offer in-work training with university-class qualifications
  • doubling the annual level of spending on apprenticeships between 2010 to 2011 and 2019 to 2020 in cash terms to £2.5 billion, funded by the new apprenticeship levy

Notes to editors

Read the latest young people’s participation in education, employment and training statistics.

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Published 25 February 2016