28 June 2012
The number of NEET 16 to 18-year-olds continues to show a steady year-on-year increase and the latest data confirms this increase. From our own data we know that there are 10,000 fewer 16 to 18-year-olds in FE colleges than previous years, a drop, which is emulated in schools, academies, and sixth form colleges.
Despite an increase in the number of apprenticeships the number of young people in publicly-funded education and training is static.
Demographically, the number of young people has declined in recent years and yet the number who are NEET continues to rise.
NEETS are one of the hardest categories to reach and deserve special attention.
Association of Colleges’ Chief Executive, Martin Doel, said: ‘A survey AoC carried out in October last year and further data gathered in January suggested there has continued to be a fall in enrolments. Our own enrolment figures from 2011 showed a 14% drop in level one (basic skills and pre-GCSE courses) students for our member colleges.
“Unfortunately, many of these potential students who are not pursuing their education are likely to become NEET – schools do not provide the courses they need and most work-based routes are closed to them.
“While it is unclear what the main driver is in this continued decline in youth engagement there are a number of contributory factors that need to be highlighted. The last two years have seen local authority transport cuts, the loss of the connexions service and the abolition of the EMA. In addition there are growing concerns about the debt burden Higher Education now entails and the straitened economic times, which seem to have exacerbated the situation.
“Once someone becomes NEET their path back to becoming a productive and happy member of the working community becomes increasingly difficult. The response to this extremely worrying trend must be speedy but also 'joined up' if we are to prevent the recession giving rise to a lost generation. Colleges need to be at the centre of the response and be given the tools to do the job at the local and national level. Those tools include adequate funding and the freedom to find local solutions working with partners.”