'Neet' teenager levels show rise


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The Independent Online

The number of teenagers who are not in school, work or training has risen in the last year, according to new figures.

The latest official data shows that 191,000 youngsters aged between 16 and 18 were considered "Neet" - not in education, employment or training - in the three months up to June.

This is up from 186,000 young people in the same age group who were "Neet" at the same point in 2011.

The number of 16-to-18-year-olds who fall into this category has fallen compared to five years ago, when 222,000 were "Neet".

The new figures also show that almost a million 16-to-24-year-olds - 968,000 young people - were not in education, employment or training in the second quarter of this year.

This has fallen slightly from the same point in 2011, when 979,000 people in this age group were "Neet".

But it is still 133,000 more than were considered "Neet" in the same quarter five years ago.

The statistics, published by the Department for Education, show that 875,000 18-to-24-year-olds were "Neet" in the three months to June.

This is down from 884,000 in the same quarter last year, but up from 712,000 in 2007.

A Government spokeswoman said that the number of "Neets" is still too high, and insisted they were determined to tackle the problem.

"We are spending a record £7.5 billion on education and training for 16-to-19-year-olds, we have increased apprenticeship starts with growth across all ages, in all sectors and throughout the country," she said.

"As part of the Youth Contract, we are spending £126 million over the next three years on extra targeted support for the 55,000 16- and 17-year-olds most in need of education and training.

"Our education reforms will create a world-class education system that will equip young people properly for both higher education and skilled, sustainable employment."

Shadow education minister Karen Buck said: "These figures, a jump of 100,000 young people not in education, employment or training since the 2010 General Election, show the Government is allowing the talents of too many young people to go to waste.

"Now more than ever, we need to ensure our young people have the right skills, experience and opportunities to progress in education or the workplace.

"But the prolonged double-dip recession and the lack of support to help young people stay in education, or find work and training, is making that impossible."