Young jobless 'Neets' total falls slightly

By Angela Harrison
Education correspondent, BBC News

image captionNeets figures are issued quarterly

The number of young people not in education, training or work in England has fallen slightly since this time last year.

Official figures for the last quarter of 2012 show there were 893,000 people aged from 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (Neet).

That is down from 957,000 for the same period in 2011.

Among 16- to 18-year-olds, 153,000 are Neet - the lowest figure in more than a decade for this quarter.

About one in seven of those aged from 16 to 24 are Neet and about one in 11 of 16- to 18-year-olds.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock welcomed the falls: "These figures show the proportion of young people not in employment, education or training has fallen sharply, and at 16-18 is the lowest comparable figure for a decade.

"Any number of young people Neet is too high, and the government will be working day and night to do still more on Apprentices, the Youth Contract, and the new Traineeships programme."

Government figures out in January said more than 500,000 people started an apprenticeship between 2011 to 2012 - an increase of 14%.

But Labour says apprenticeships are increasingly being taken up by older people - and more effort should be put in to helping school and college leaders.

Karen Buck MP, Labour's shadow minister for young people, said: "Any headline fall in the numbers of young people out of work, education or training is welcome but there are still far too many young people who are dropping out.

"Most worrying is the increase in 18-year-olds who are out of work, education or training compared to 2010. It's not surprising given the number of apprenticeships going to young people is falling and the government abolished the Education Maintenance Allowance."

A total of 92,000 18-year-olds were Neet in the last quarter of last year. That is the same figure as this time last year but up from 90,000 in 2010 and down from 104,000 in 2008.

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