Out of Sight

Richard Brooks


How we lost track of thousands of NEETs, and how we can transform their prospects

Almost nothing would have so great an impact on our society and economy in the long term as seriously reducing the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training. But in order to crack the problem, we need to know who they are and where they are. We have lost track of over 150,000 young people nationally, including over 50,000 NEETs, and are in thrall to a profoundly misleading idea that they are troubled, excluded and even dangerous.

NEETs are not a ‘wicked’ issue, but one that can be tackled successfully. This does not require major new resources or far-reaching changes to national legislation or policy. It does require a proper count, at both local and national level, to reflect the true scale of the problem and push the issue up the political agenda. It also requires proper accountability and determined leadership, especially at the local level, to bring together schools, colleges, employers, careers advice services and third sector organisations to ensure many more young people develop the skills and qualifications they need.