Funding challenges could hinder calls for compulsory careers advice in colleges to stop young people becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET).
New research from the University of Sheffield and Middlesex University London, published today, said that adding "compulsory high-quality career information, advice and guidance to their curriculum" could help youngsters in their transition from college to work.
But the Association of Colleges (AoC) warned current funding levels might make this a challenge.
'Substantial work experience'
Deputy chief executive of the AoC Julian Gravatt said the authors were right "right in principle to suggest compulsory careers advice and better data but there are practicalities of making this work given current course funding levels”.
According to the most recent figures, there were 750,000 18-24 year-olds NEET in December 2017.
Among the recommendations of the report, entitled Re-engaging NEETS, was the establishment of an early warning system to identify learners who are lacking engagement with their studies. Substantial work experience should be offered to students as well as improved training for teachers to identify those with special educational needs.
A living wage for apprentices, housing support for young homeless people and financial help for those coming out of unemployment would also help to lower the number of NEET young people, said the research.
It added high numbers of NEET young people continued to be a serious challenge in British society. “This generation of disadvantaged youth has borne the brunt of the financial crisis and austerity. Our recommendations highlight the importance of supporting youth services. This is absolutely the wrong time to cut youth services and close down local job centres,” the report concluded.
It also showed that young people are most at risk of becoming a NEET if they have a criminal record, are homeless, grew up in the care system or have few or no qualifications and little work experience.