Around 40,000 16- and 17-year-olds are not in education, employment or training, in spite of the legal requirement for them to be so.
The figure was calculated by the Learning and Work Institute, which today launches its Youth Commission to look into how the problem can be resolved.
In total, around 700,000 16- to 24-year-olds are not in education, employment or training – more than a tenth of this age group.
The participation age was raised to 18 in 2015. A report released for the launch of the commission today highlights an “opportunity divide”. One in five young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are in various forms of insecure work, it says, and the “generational pay gap” has widened between younger and older workers.
The report contains new polling conducted across all adult age groups which shows a generational divide in expectations for young people. Those aged over 25 are almost twice as likely to be pessimistic about the prospects of young people than young people themselves, it found.
The Youth Commission consists of:
- Kate Green MP, formerly a shadow minister and chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group
- Maggie Galliers, chair of Learning and Work Institute and former college principal
- Jo Maher, principal of Boston College
- Amy King, founder of GlamSci and former Festival of Learning winner
The commission will conduct research on the likely impact of future changes in the jobs market, including automation, and current government reforms such as apprenticeships and T levels. It will publish final recommendations for improving education and employment prospects for young people in "spring/summer 2019".
Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute, said: “Too many young people are missing out on the chance of a good education and first step on the career ladder. This is both fundamentally unfair and a major risk for our economy… Our new Youth Commission aims to find big answers to the big challenges ahead.”