Revealed: 'Cold spots' for education and jobs

The Learning and Work Institute's Youth Opportunity Index highlights stark regional variation in attainment

Stephen Exley

New research suggests there is no North-South divide in terms of young people's education and employment prospects

Nottingham, Hull and Knowsley are among the “cold spots” for young people’s education and employment prospects, according to new research by the Learning and Work Institute.

The Youth Opportunity Index, published today, also highlights the London “success story”, with nine boroughs ranking in the top 20 areas of the country – including first-placed Sutton.

The index combines new data and analysis on education and training, including achievement at age 16, age 19, access to higher education, take-up of apprenticeships and the number of 16- and 17-year olds not in education, employment or training.

It also includes the employment rate of young people and new data on net underemployment – the number of young people wanting to work more hours.

'No North-South divide'

Overall, the index shows no clear North-South or urban-rural divide in young people’s opportunities, with major differences visible within regions.

Other key successes include the proportion of young people in Cumbria taking up apprenticeships (more than 4 per cent) and Trafford’s high attainment at the ages of 16 and 19.

In contrast, apprenticeship take-up is less than 1 per cent in some London boroughs, while areas like Hartlepool and Telford and Wrekin have relatively low employment for young people and high net underemployment.

Institute chief executive Stephen Evans said “Our new Youth Opportunity Index shows that young people’s life chances are directly affected by where they live. This is a basic unfairness and this new report shows where efforts need to be focused. London may be the biggest success story, but there are success stories in every region.

“The index shows how education and employment outcomes vary across the country and identifies the key opportunity gaps. We hope that it will help local authorities and others to prioritise their focus and target their policy efforts to ensure all young people get a good start and fair chance in life.”

Best performing areas

  1. Sutton
  2. Buckinghamshire
  3. Trafford
  4. Hammersmith
  5. Slough
  6. Redbridge
  7. Harrow
  8. Kensington and Chelsea
  9. Kingston upon Thames
  10. Barnet


Worst performing areas

  1. Nottingham
  2. Kingston upon Hull
  3. Knowsley
  4. North East Lincolnshire
  5. Southampton
  6. Middlesbrough
  7. Telford and Wrekin
  8. Salford
  9. Brighton and Hove
  10. Newcastle

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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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