Nowhere youths

by Daphne Liddle

THE PROPORTION of young people in this country, aged 18 to 24, who are not in any form of education or training and who are unemployed rose to 18.4 per cent in the second quarter this year, according to official figures.

These young people are referred to as “Neets” — not in employment, education or training. Almost a million (979,000) young men and women were classed as Neets between April and June. This is the highest figure since statistics on this category began in 2006.

The proportion of young people in this “nowhere” situation normally fluctuates throughout the year, especially as young people leave school in July. But these figures come from just before the July rise and compare to 16.3 per cent last year.

The Con-Dem Coalition claimed it was increasing the number of apprenticeships but no impact has registered on the figures.

Ninety per cent of the young people arrested following the riots earlier this month were Neets — young people with no future. If the numbers continue to increase they are likely to become more disaffected and rebellious.


And after hundreds of them have served jail sentences for trivial offences committed during the riots they will be a lot less naïve and a lot more organised and determined in future disturbances.

The Prince’s Trust youth charity said it was “deeply concerned” that the Neets figures were rising again. “We know that unemployment can have a brutal impact on young people, with thousands suffering from mental health problems, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks,” a spokesperson said.

The Government claims it will have supported 250,000 more adult apprenticeship places than under Labour’s plans and has launched a Work Programme offering personalised support and training to help unemployed young people.

But shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham said the figures showed the Government was “being far too complacent” and risked “leaving the next generation behind”.

“By scrapping Labour’s guarantee of an apprenticeship place for young people who want one, scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance [grant for low-income 16-19 year-old students] and cutting careers services, this Government is making it harder for young people to get on,” he said.

“For the first time there is a risk that the next generation will do worse than the last,” he added.