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Research 05/07/2023

Entry and retention in the labour market: narratives and solutions for NEET and care leaver employment support

What are the barriers to employment for young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or who have experience of care? What works best to support them? In partnership with the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), our latest report draws conclusions from a survey of practitioners and young people to understand the barriers they face, what services are offered, and what is considered to work best in helping NEET young people – and especially care leavers – to progress into work.

More than one in ten young people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 24 are classified as not in employment, education or training (NEET), and the rate of young people being NEET has not fallen below 10% over the last twenty years. We know that being NEET can have immediate negative consequences for a young person, such as decreasing levels of self-esteem, increasing the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviours such as substance misuse and criminal activities, and increasing their chances of living in poverty. While there has been much research into the factors that lead to becoming NEET, how these can be mitigated, and the impacts of being NEET, there is not the same body of evidence to inform the support provided to young people to move into and stay in education, employment and training (EET).   

This study looks at what the existing research has to say and surveys young people and the practitioners who work with them on four key questions:  

  • What are the key barriers to EET for young people and care leavers who are NEET?  
  • What is currently offered to young people and care leavers in terms of entry to EET support?  
  • What is currently offered in terms of in-work support for young people and care leavers? 
  • What types of provision are most effective at dealing with the barriers young people face to EET? 

Drawing out lessons for practitioners and policymakers, this study contributes to our understanding of what young people see as the issues, the support they need and what service providers are offering to some of the most vulnerable people in society.


Entry and Retention in the labour market: Narratives and solutions for NEET and care leaver employment support

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) and Education Development Trust (EDT) have undertaken research to understand the barriers faced by young people in the UK not in education, employment, or training (NEET), and the support that is currently available to them. At the time of writing, the percentage of all young people who were NEET was estimated at 11.5% (around 788,000 people), which was up 0.5 percentage points from before the COVID-19-pandemic.1 The prevalence of NEET young people in the UK has remained structurally high over the last 20 years, with levels of NEET 16-to-24-year-olds never falling below 10%.

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