The number of young people not in education, employment or training (Neet) has remained stubbornly static in the past year, and has even increased slightly.
According to the latest Labour Force Survey estimates for October to December 2018, 11.3 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds were Neet, a slight increase of 0.2 percentage points from quarter four of 2017.
Commentary: Here’s a Neet idea: help young people
In the 16- to 17-year-old group, the Neet rate was 4.2 per cent – an increase of 0.6 percentage points. The 18-24 Neet rate was 13.1 per cent, increasing by 0.2 percentage points on the same period last year.
However, the government stressed that none of these changes were "statistically significant".
Last year, statistics showed that, in particular, young care leavers were at risk of ending up not in education, employment or training, with one in five of them ending up Neet at some point.
Skills minister Anne Milton welcomed the fact that the proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds who were Neet had remained "steady following last year’s all-time low in England".
She said: “We are creating even more opportunities for young people through the introduction of our gold standard T levels from September 2020, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create high-quality technical education courses on a par with the best in the world.
"Alongside this, the changes we have made to apprenticeships are giving people the chance to learn the skills that will help them land a great job in a skilled profession.”
Shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden said nothing had been done to improve the opportunities of young people who were NEET. "As far as I can see, nothing has been done since last year," he said, adding he would like to see action taken to ensure the new T levels provided such an opportunity, and more was also done to promote traineeships.