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50,000 teenagers on 'dead-end courses' that will lead to Neet-status, study finds

Tens of thousands of teenagers are taking “dead-end courses” that offer little chance of finding work or further study, a report released today has said.

According to research undertaken by the think tank IPPR, up to 50,000 16 to 18-year-olds are studying on courses that mean they are more likely to end up a Neet (Not in Education, Employment or Training) by the time they are 19.

The study indicated that around quarter of a million young people had left school without decent qualifications and researchers believe, of these, 50,000 would be better off on an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship training.

The analysis by the think tank shows that between 2006 and 20010, more than one in five young people studying for a level 2 qualification between the ages of 16 and 18, become a Neet by the time they are 19 or 20.

Nearly one in four ends up Neet if they are studying a level 1 qualification, making them three times more likely to become Neet than young people studying A or AS levels at the same age.  

The figures form part of a report by the think tank that shows more than half a million young people who left education with a low-level qualification are not in work.  

The data comes on the same day as skills minister Matt Hancock was expected to challenge more teenagers to think of starting their own business.

The call from the minister comes as fewer entry level jobs are available to school leavers, with just a third of those who left school with no qualifications are in work.

Kayte Lawton, senior research fellow at IPPR, said the days when school leavers could walk into manufacturing or office jobs and expect a decent pay packet were gone.  

“Young people who don’t do well enough at school often end up taking colleges courses that don’t prepare them for work or further study. Many of these courses don’t include enough decent work experience and often fail to lead to a recognised qualification,” Ms Lawton said.

“We need to see big changes to the way that post-16 education works and we need employers to step up and offer more work experience to young people to help them learn the skills they need to get on in the workplace. We can’t expect schools to do this by themselves,” she added. 

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