Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Who's right on NEETs?

At Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron and Gordon Brown traded statistics on so-called NEETs - those young people not in education, employment or training. It is true that these figures are rising, and it is also true that there are more young people in education or employment than ten years ago. But what is less well understood is how dubious the headline NEET figures are in the first place. They are based on a snapshot, and they include, for example, gap year students. Those who are long-term NEET - and are not doing jobs or in training at different stages during the year - are actually a much smaller group than the main figures suggest, though in the recession they are a growing number. Politicians developing policies on the subject should look beneath the headline statistics and focus on those who need support most.
UPDATE: I'm pleased to see that the Chancellor has recognised this in his Budget plans to guarantee jobs or training to the long term youth unemployed.

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