Fall in unemployed 16 – 18 year olds

By Ruth Williams

- Last updated on GMT

Small businesses have been urged to offer more apprenticeships to young people
Small businesses have been urged to offer more apprenticeships to young people

Related tags: Young people, Unemployment

The number of 16 – 18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) has fallen to 148,000 out the population of two million but it is still behind other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) according to figures released by the Commons Select Committee.

Margaret Hodge MP and chair of the committee of public accounts said: “Too many young people simply disappear from all the relevant public systems. 100,000+ young people are off the radar in that some local authorities do not know whether they are participating in education or training or not.”

This number has fallen since the law was changed to ensure young people remain in training or education until the age of 18.

While the number of 16 - 18 year olds NEETs has fallen, figures released by the Government this week on unemployment rates showed that there has been a rise in unemployment in the 16 – 24 age bracket.

Hodge said the amount the Government spends on education for 16-18 year olds has fallen by 8% in real terms compared to 2010-11 and in September 2014 it reduced the basic rate of annual funding for an 18-year-old from £4,000 to £3,300.

She said: “With scarce resources it is vital to understand whether and which initiatives are most effective and why. Yet, the Department for Education has little understanding of the impact of existing initiatives and programmes.

“Some within the NEET group have been reached by the Youth Contract, but this is expected to only support half the number it was originally predicted to assist. The Programme will end in 2016, earlier than expected, and the Department has no plans to replace it.

“We welcome the increase in longer apprenticeships available to young people. However, it is disappointing that the total number of new apprentices aged 16 to 18 fell last year. It is important to ensure that smaller businesses can be helped to offer quality apprenticeships too.”

The Select Committee said young people who are NEET are, “on average, more likely to be unemployed, have lower paid jobs, have addictions or go to prison”.

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