University of Sheffield academics call for action to support the transition from education to employment

  • Research shows that young people are most at risk of becoming a NEET if they have a criminal record, are homeless, grew up in the care system or have few or no qualifications and little work experience
  • Although the number of 18- to 24-year-olds classified as NEETs has decreased in recent years, more than 750,000 young people are still not in education, employment or training
  • Academics recommend schools and colleges implement compulsory high-quality career information to their curriculums, as well as establish an early warning system to identify pupils who are lacking engagement with their studies.

Young People

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Middlesex are calling on the government and employers to act after a new study revealed the scale of challenges faced by young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Re-engaging NEETS, a study led by Professor Louise Ryan from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Sociological Studies, identified that young people are most at risk of becoming a NEET if they have a criminal record, are homeless, grew up in the care system or have few or no qualifications and little work experience.

Although the number of 18- to 24-year-olds classified as NEETs has decreased in recent years, more than 750,000 young people are still not in education, employment or training. The West Midlands has the highest percentage of young people classifying themselves as a NEET – more than 16 per cent of the 18- to 24-year-old age group.

The research team recommends that schools and colleges should implement compulsory high-quality career information, advice and guidance to their curriculum, as well as establishing an early warning system to identify pupils who are lacking engagement with their studies.

Our recommendations highlight the importance of supporting youth services. This is absolutely the wrong time to cut youth services and close down local job centres.

Professor Louise Ryan, Professorial Research Fellow from the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield

The study also advises that substantial and relevant work experience should be offered to students, with improved training for teachers to identify those with special educational needs.
Recommendations for improvements also extend to providing employers with incentives to provide opportunities for inexperienced workers – especially those with criminal convictions and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A living wage for apprentices, housing support for young homeless people and financial help for those coming out of unemployment would also help to lower the number of NEETs.

Professor Louise Ryan, Professorial Research Fellow from the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield, said: “The prevalence of NEETs continues to be a serious challenge in British society – as of December 2017 there are 750,000 young people defining themselves as NEET.

“Our research revealed the complex causes underlying the process of disengaging from education and employment. This generation of disadvantaged youth has borne the brunt of the financial crisis and austerity.

“Our recommendations highlight the importance of supporting youth services. This is absolutely the wrong time to cut youth services and close down local job centres.”

The study, involved more than 3,000 students from schools and colleges in London and the North East, as well as interviews with 60 young people not currently in employment, education or training.

An event to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the challenges faced by young people in moving from education to employment is being run by the RESL.eu team in London today (30 January 2018).

Read more about the event

Additional Information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Mary Hickey
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1034
m.o.hickey@sheffield.ac.uk