ERIC Number: EJ1059723
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
NEET, Unemployed, Inactive or Unknown--Why Does It Matter?
Educational Research, v57 n2 p121-132 2015
Background: The UK, like most countries across Europe and other advanced economies, has experienced an alarming rise in the levels of young people (aged between 16 and 24 years) who are detached from both the labour market and the education and training system. In the UK, there are nearly a million 16-24-year-olds who are recorded as being not in education, employment or training (NEET). For governments throughout Europe, the need to address high levels of youth unemployment and social disengagement has become an urgent priority. As a result, policy-makers are faced with the challenge of developing effective interventions to prevent these levels being sustained over the longer term, with potential scarring effects on successive generations, and concomitant economic and social impacts. Purpose: This paper will inform the development of policy and practice targeted at NEET prevention and reintegration of those young people who have become NEET, with suggestions for areas to be addressed and methods and mechanisms which might be incorporated into programme implementation. The paper highlights gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the size, characteristics and geographical distribution of young people in the NEET group in England, and questions the continued relevance of the term "NEET" to capture youth disengagement. Sources of evidence: After drawing on Europe-wide data to present a picture of the scale of youth unemployment throughout the continent, official UK data are used to drill down to specific issues which are the focus of the piece, in particular, the regional disparities in the size of the group whose destination is "unknown". This is discussed in the context of a range of literature relating to the emergence of the term "NEET" and the characteristics of the NEET group. A review of current policy intervention in England to tackle the NEET "problem" is also presented. Main argument: This paper will suggest that the implementation of effective policy interventions to address the "NEET" issue is highly problematic, due to three overriding concerns. These are: (a) a lack of clarity in the definition of this group in England; (b) inadequacies in determining with any precision how many under-18s there are in this group, or where they are located, leading to large numbers whose post-education destination is "unknown"; and (c) misguided stereotyping of NEET young people's behaviour, attitudes and aspirations. These problems have partly been exacerbated by budget cuts and changes to guidance and support services, as well as inadequacies in mapping and tracking systems. Conclusions: The paper concludes with recommendations that policy development must, in the first instance, be underpinned by robust and reliable data about the size and composition of the group, derived from impartial, independent mapping and tracking services. Furthermore, policies designed to reduce the NEET population should include measures which tackle NEET prevention, re-engagement strategies for the hardest to reach groups and active labour market policies for the young unemployed.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Youth Problems, Adolescents, Young Adults, Unemployment, At Risk Persons, Social Problems, Policy Formation, Intervention, Public Policy, Social Bias, Economic Factors, Financial Support, Research, Geographic Location, Data Collection, Needs Assessment, Youth Programs, Job Training, Dropouts
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England)