New research identifies the key risk factors for young people becoming NEET

Dec 7, 2023

New research, commissioned by Youth Futures Foundation, reveals that there are two groups of young people facing multiple types of marginalisation that are associated with a substantial increase in becoming NEET (not in employment, education, or training).

Young people identified as SEN with no academic qualification above level 1 and young people who have a limiting disability and poor mental health, are two ‘clusters’ recognised within the research.

Exploring the extent and degree of overlap between different forms of marginalisation among young people (aged 13 to 25) in England, Youth Futures commissioned The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to carry out this research.

Joe Crowley, Senior Researcher (Analyst) at NatCen said:

“Our research highlights how multiple types of marginalisation is linked to the risk of young people not being in employment, education, or training (NEET) as young adults. This research and our ongoing further work are designed to help policymakers and frontline staff target their support to the young people who need them the most. We are grateful to the Youth Futures Foundation for making this work possible.”

Until now, far too little was known about what happens to young people who experience multiple risk factors, or about how risk factors interact with one another. The report identifies how experiencing multiple types of marginalisation increases the risk of young people not being in employment, education or training (NEET). With the findings, Youth Futures hopes to help policymakers understand how best to match interventions to the complex realities of young people’s lives.

The report concluded that experiencing multiple risk factors is linked to a cumulative increase in the likelihood of a young person becoming NEET. The graph below shows prevalence of NEET, by number of risk factors.

Within the research, NatCen identified that certain groups of young people are at increased risk of being NEET. Particularly young people from low-income households, young people who identify as bisexual or ‘other’ when asked about their sexuality, young people from Black ethnic groups and young people with Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds.

Youth Futures will use this evidence to look in greater depth at those additional barriers that young people face, helping to guide and influence programmes and initiatives tackling youth employment. Using the local data will benefit the place-based approach adopted by Youth Futures’ flagship programme, Connected Futures – a programme launched to offer young people the right support from the right place at the right time to help them into good jobs.

Barry Fletcher, CEO at Youth Futures Foundation, comments:

“This research is vital in addressing the additional barriers that young people are facing across England. We must utilise the data available to find solutions that provide more young people with the opportunity to access good quality work. We are hopeful that this research can help to build on our place-based initiatives and inform the continued development of the Building Futures Programme and our Connected Futures Programme”.

Data from the report will appear on Youth Futures’ recently launched data dashboard enabling the ability to download the underlying analysis and look up risk factors in local authorities.

Read the full report here.

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