The next government must create more specialist schools and “reinvigorate” practical learning to tackle the problem of Neets once and for all, according to an educational charity.
The Edge Foundation, which campaigns for vocational and technical learning, says that despite signs of progress, too many young people are still classed as Neet (not in education, employment or training).
In its manifesto for the next election, published this week, it says it wants to cut the number to zero.
Jan Hodges, chief executive of Edge, said: “There is a growing skills mismatch. Skills shortages are growing, but large numbers of young people aged 19-24 are Neet.
“Our education system must adapt. The next government must equip young people with the technical, practical and vocational skills they so desperately need. The target must be simple and bold: no Neets.”
To achieve this, it wants the next government to create more specialist 14-18 schools such as university technical colleges and career colleges, and to “reinvigorate” practical learning in schools, including in classrooms, laboratories, workshops and even outdoors.
It also calls for a baccalaureate that recognises the full breadth of young people’s achievements up to the age of 18 and an entitlement to impartial face-to-face information, advice and guidance for all young people.
Apprenticeships must be given top priority, it says, and national initiatives that help employers and educators to work together must be introduced.
The latest figures show that between April and June this year, 955,000 young people aged 16-24 in the UK were Neet – some 13.3 per cent.
However, this was 20,000 fewer than during January to March and 138,000 fewer than the same period last year.
Ofsted: Force colleges and schools to work together to tackle Neets – September 2014
Nick Clegg announces vocational 'clearing' system to stop young people becoming Neet – February 2014