One in six young people spend six months out of work, education and training

Of the 7 million young people in the UK, 10 per cent were found to be spending a year or more out of education, work or training

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The Independent Online

One in six young people in the UK spend at least 6 months out of education, work or training, according to new research suggesting a deeper problem in terms of youth unemployment than Government statistics indicate.

While official ONS figures suggest an overall decline in the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), new independent analysis of the same Government data suggest a large proportion of 16-24 year olds are still struggling to find work for long periods of time.

The research, published by youth employment charity Impetus-PEF, found that an average of 1.3 million 16-24 year-olds (17 per cent) spend six months NEET. The revelation comes ahead of the latest ONS figures which are due to be released on Thursday.

The Learning and Work Institute, which carried out the research for Impetus-PEF, analysed groups of young people over a three-year period to get a long-term picture that is not provided in the official figures

Of around 7 million young people in the UK, 700,000 were found to be spending a year or more out of education, work or training – leading researchers to call on the Government to improve their strategies to help get disadvantaged and disengaged young people into work.

Andy Ratcliffe, CEO of Impetus-PEF, said the analysis shows more than a million young people are “wasting” significant amounts of time not working or learning.

“This can have knock-on effects for the rest of their lives, reducing their opportunities and earnings,” he said. 

The chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Alan Milburn, said the new figures draw attention to young people at risk of being forgotten.

“This research places much-needed focus on a significant population of young people who are often overlooked and under-supported,” he said.

“Social mobility is not just about getting graduates into the professions but making sure that every child in the UK is given the chance to follow a path into education or employment for the long term.”