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UK — Prospect of becoming NEET rises by 40% for those with A-levels

18 August 2010

As young people worry about their A-level results, new statistics show that no matter what their grade they will face a tough year.

Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) and the Private Equity Foundation (PEF) shows that young people due to find out their A-level results could have a difficult year ahead of them despite their achievements. Their risk of becoming so-called 'NEET' (Not in Education, Employment or Training) has increased by over +40% since the onset of the recession.

Just over 9% of those with Level 3 qualifications (which includes A-levels) were classified as NEET in the second quarter of 2010, up from 6.4% in the first quarter of 2008.

Recent graduates, who might have hoped that a degree would cushion them from unemployment, are likely to get an even bigger shock. Graduates have seen the fastest increase in the numbers becoming NEET, with their risk growing by +50% over the last two years.

Young people with no qualifications remain far more vulnerable than their more highly qualified counterparts. A shocking 36.1% of young people who have left school empty-handed are NEET. This is far higher than those with degrees (11.4%) and those with Level 3 qualifications (9.1%). The percentage of young people with no qualifications who are NEET has hardly changed since the recession started, suggesting a long-term problem whose causes are not connected to the recent economic upheaval.

Lisa Harker, Co-Director of the ippr, said "while it is true that those with A-levels and degrees have seen their risk of becoming NEET increase the fastest, they remain much better protected than young people who have no qualifications, and they are likely to do better when the economy recovers."

"The challenges facing young people with no qualifications are not just the result of the recession. Over a third of this group were already NEET before the recession began. This suggests a long-term problem whose causes are not connected to the recent economic upheaval. It is important not to lose sight of this challenge at a time when many are focusing on the high numbers of graduates who cannot find work."

Shaks Ghosh, Chief Executive of the Private Equity Foundation, said "getting a first job has always been tough but these statistics highlight just how hard the recession has made the transition from school to work, for so many. I fear our young people will not feel the positive effects of our fragile economic recovery this year."

"That said, this research also highlights how vital qualifications are. Those with A-levels and degrees will be better placed when the job market recovers. For those with nothing, the outlook is bleak. These young people risk not just being left behind for the next year but years after. They need real targeted help or could be entirely lost to the world of work and to their communities."



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