The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures today showing that at the end of last year (from October to December 2014) there were 963,000 young people in the UK classified as NEET: 78,000 less than just one a year earlier.
The ONS defines "young people" as being between 16 and 24 years old.
Even though this is encouraging, the figures are actually an increase of 9,000 young people on the previous quarter, July to September 2014.
For October to December 2014 just under half (47%) of all young people in the UK who were NEET were looking for work and available for work and therefore classified as unemployed. The remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and therefore classified as economically inactive.
Mike Thompson, Head of Employability and Early Career Programmes at Barclays, said: “Any increase in NEETs, even while the figures are down year on year, is unacceptable and a huge issue for society. Especially when the decline of long-term unemployed 18-24-year-olds remains far slower than all other ages and the impact of being unemployed for over a year can be catastrophic.
“The longer spent out of work in youth, the more time will likely be spent out of work later in life, and that young person’s potential wages will be lower.”
Mike said that apprenticeships could be the answer for sustained improvement: “With National Apprenticeship Week approaching, now is the time for businesses to really play their part. Offering an apprenticeship can boost a business’ productivity by as much as £240 a week, and give young people income and training.”