School to work transitions

At Impetus-PEF, our focus is on the need to solve the problem of more than a fifth of the UK’s young people who fail to successfully transition from school to work every year. This can lead them to become NEET (not in education, employment or training), which also has a profound effect on their economic, mental and physical wellbeing.

The majority of NEETs remain so for a year or more, but just six months spent NEET can result in wage scarring compared to peers who spent no time NEET. There is also a stark cost to the public. A study for the Audit Commission estimated that young people currently NEET will cost the UK at least £34bn – £12bn in public finance costs and £22bn in losses to the economy and society.

Nearly one million young people are NEET in the UK, a number that has remained stagnant since records began in 2000. Contrary to belief, this is not just a result of the recession; youth unemployment has been on the rise since the turn of the century. The UK’s youth unemployment crisis is structural in nature and, following a wealth of research into the causes of the problem and illuminated by our direct work with charities, we are calling for Government to adopt a five-year cross-departmental strategy to address the NEET issue. This strategy must be driven by clear accountability and we recommend that it be overseen directly by the Prime Minister.

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The transition from school-to-work is a crucial moment in a young person’s life and often, the right intervention can make all the difference in helping them succeed.

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