THE LEVEL of young people in Yorkshire not in work, education or training has fallen by 20,000 since last year but remains one of the highest figures in the country, new figures show.
One in five 16- to 24-year-olds in the region are classed as NEET (not in education, employment or training) according to the latest statistics from the Department for Education (DfE).
Only the North East and the West Midlands regions have worse figures across the country.
Yorkshire’s figures are better than at the same time last year, however, and have remained fairly constant throughout the year so far. Last year at the end of the third quarter 157,000 16- to 24-year-olds – 22.7 per cent of the age group in Yorkshire – were NEET. This year it is 20 per cent.
Traditionally there is an increase in the number of people who are classed as NEET between the second and third quarters of the year as it includes those who leave the education system aged 16 or 18 after exams. In 2011 NEET figures for Yorkshire rose by more than 30,000 between the second and third quarter of the year and there has been an increase in this period every year since these figures were first recorded.
This year’s data from the DfE shows the level of young people in the region’s figures has actually fallen by the end of the third quarter.
The percentage of people between the age of 16 and 24 classed as NEET in Yorkshire has risen slightly from 19.9 per cent to 20 per cent between the second and third quarter of the year but the number has fallen from 138,000 to 137,000.
Yorkshire had its highest ever NEET figures for the end of the first and second quarter this year but the third quarter results are better than in 2011, although still the second highest level ever recorded.
Nationally, NEET figures dropped by more than two per cent. More than a million 16- to 24-year-olds – around one-in-six – are now considered NEET. But this number has fallen by 2.1 per cent since the same period last year, from 1,163,000 down to 1,027,000.
A Government spokesman said: “We welcome the fall in the rate of 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training compared with the same time last year. However, there is no room for complacency as the number of young people who are NEET is still too high. We will continue to tackle this.”
The most significant drop in the number of young people out of school or work was seen among 16- to 18-year-olds, with 11.3 per cent of this age group now considered NEET, as opposed to 14 per cent in the third quarter of last year.
The University and College Union (UCU) said the drop could not be a cause for celebration while more than a million young people remained without work or access to education and training.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “At a time when the job market is so tough, the Government’s decision to hike university fees and remove grants for the poorest college students looks even more ill-advised.
“We will be incredibly disappointed if politicians try to champion the minimal year-on-year drop in NEETS as some sort of success.”
Labour spokeswoman for young people Karen Buck said: “The number of young people who are not in education, employment or training is higher than it was in 2010 when this Government came to office. There are an extra 32,000 18- to 24-year-olds who are out of work, education or training now compared to the same quarter of 2010.
“Under David Cameron’s watch, we have seen face-to-face careers advice for young people and the Education Maintenance Allowance axed while he prioritises a tax cut for millionaires.”