With coordinated action, we can end the NEET crisis in five years time
It is no great secret that today, almost one million 16-24 year olds remain NEET. This is not a term we enjoy using, but it has come to represent a systemic group of young people, ever present in our society.
Over the past three years, Impetus-PEF’s research into the NEET issue has taken us far and wide, allowing us to monitor the effects of successive changes in national policy, the structural nature of youth unemployment and the impact of the economic downturn on some of our European neighbours.
We have discovered this: every year, thousands of young people fail to make a successful transition from school to work due to conflicting policies, patchy quality of provision and fragmented responsibility.
The impact of a period NEET on a young person can be devastating. The loss of wage over a lifetime can amount to up to £50,000 when compared to a peer who has never spent time NEET.
The young person across the street is not born into a society any different to your own. They go to school like everyone else, but the difference is that more often, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds fail to successfully transition from school-to-work, often leading to them becoming NEET.
We have launched a stepped set of recommendations for the next Government, represented in this infographic. We do not have all the answers. Nor do we expect policy-makers to have a hidden silver bullet. What we are asking is for everyone with influence to change the lives of young people to work together and stop a generation from failing to achieve its potential.
As such, we are calling for a five-year cross-departmental strategy to make NEETs history by the end of the next Parliament driven by clear accountability at the heart of Government and overseen directly by the Prime Minister.
We are not calling for a top down solution, but greater top level oversight and responsibility to ensure incentives are offered at local level so that everyone works in the best interest of young people, thus preventing them from becoming NEET.
If you’re thinking this cannot be done, look no further than 2012. The success of the London Olympics was a result of collaborative efforts to an extent never before seen in this country. The way in which so many came together to deliver something that continues to breathe into our societal psyche should be used as an example of how Government can be effective, can be trusted and can deliver, when it works collaboratively towards a common cause.
Let’s be clear. If we do not prevent today’s at risk young people from becoming NEET, they will join a growing number who will cost our nation an estimated £22-77 billion over the next decade in lost taxes, productivity and additional strain on public services.
This is too high a price to pay and can be avoided if Government takes collective action in designing and beginning to implement a five-year strategy to make NEETs history today.
Visit our policy section for more information on our school-to-work transition campaign.