Young people in the UK spend more time unemployment than their counterparts in Europe, says OECD

 

Young people in the UK spend more time out of work or on the dole than their counterparts in other western countries, according to an influential report out today.

They can expect to spend an average of 2.3 years either unemployed or out of the labour market entirely between the ages of 15 and 29 - compared with 1.1 years in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, 1.2 in Iceland, 1.3 in Norway and Switzerland and 1.7 in Germany and Australia.

The figures are contained in an annual international survey of education system, Education At A Glance, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and were immediately seized upon as a “shaming testimony” to the UK’s failure to provide decent vocational education.

“We can’t afford the economic and social cost of such shocking dropout levels,” said Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation - dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. “If young people don’t develop their skills in work or education, they lose what they have already learnt and rapidly become unemployable.

“Our one million NEETS ( young people not in training, education or employment) are a shaming testimony to our collective failure to get vocational education right and the OECD is right to highlight how poorly we compare with many other countries in this regard.”

Andreas Schleicher, head of education at the OECD, said figures showed a drop-out rate of 40 per cent in the UK from education between the end of compulsory education at 16 and 18.

“Indeed, the UK has one of the lowest percentages of 15 to 19-year-olds and 20 to 29-year-olds enrolled in education amongst OECD countries,” the report added.

Those who left education had become the “victims” of the economic squeeze which started in 2008.  “What has actually struck us is the impact of the financial and economic crisis has emphasised the value of a good education,” he added.  “It has been a lot worse for people with low qualifications than the people with high qualifications.

“The biggest risk for those in the UK is really for those who don’t go down the academic route to education.  Countries with a strong vocational education system have a much better way of quickly getting people into employment.”

He said the lack of a strong vocational route in education was “a big weakness in the UK”.  “I think it is a big question for the UK,” he added.

Mr Schleicher doubted whether government plans to raise the education leaving age to 17 from September and 18 would have much impact without a drive to improve vocational education and the standard of apprenticeships.  “Locking people up in school does not necessarily lead to better skills,” he added.

Neil Carberry, the CBI’s Director of Employment and Skills, also warned the UK was facing “a critical lack of skills which risks holding back our long-term growth”.

Government plans to introduce tougher GCSEs were “not an end in themselves”, he added. “We need to ask how relevant high stakes national exams at 16 will become over the coming years as the demand for higher skills increases.

“We need to end ingrained snobbishness about technical education.”

The annual survey - the most comprehensive world-wide guide to trends in education - also reveals that the UK has one of the youngest teaching forces in the western world - with 60 per cent of primary school teachers below the age of 40 compared to an international average of 41 per cent.  Experts believe younger teachers are far more willing to adapt to changes to the way education is delivered than an older workforce would be - a  finding which might well be music to the ears of Education Secretary Michael Gove as he strives to implement is school reforms.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Marketing & Social Media Executive

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Marketing Graduate or...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Services Graduate Training Scheme

£20000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a successful and establ...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border