The Department for Education has now published it figures for the number of NEETs. (Young people Not in Employment, Education or Training) and a more accurate measurement of youth unemployment. According to the DfE, there are 1.16 million 16-24 NEETs – almost 1 in 5 of all young people. The figures also show over 21% of 18-24 year olds are in this category – just over 1 million in total. If full-time students are excluded from calculations however, then out of the remainder, 1 in 4 are NEETs!
A ‘youth contract’ that’s too little too late
In response to this and to head off accusations that youth unemployment was getting out of control, Nick Clegg has announced a new £1bn ‘youth contract’. At first sight, this appears to represent a return to philosophy behind Labour’s Future Job Fund – derided by the Coalition. Employers will receive £2275, half the minimum wage – though less than under FJF – to encourage them to take on 160 000 unemployed young people over the next three years – starting from April 2012. As Clegg made clear on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme though, the scheme is aimed at those in the private, rather than the state sector. Despite being offered subsidies to take on apprentices, employers have failed to do so. Like the apprenticeship programmes any incentive to the private sector is unlikely to happen while the economy remains ‘flat’. Even if the total was reached it would have only a marginal effect on the overall numbers of unemployed young people.
250 000 young people will also be offered work experience placements lasting up to eight weeks –but, this practice already takes place and has been open to abuse. In particular young people will lose their benefits if, for any reason, they do not complete these