One-in-14 not in job, college or training

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NEARLY one-in-14 young people in Suffolk have no college place, job or training when they leave school.

The number of 16 to 18-year-olds in the county, who are ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEETs), has continuously eclipsed national figures this past year.

The county also fares badly when compared to its ‘statistical neighbours’ – areas with similar population size.

The figures were compiled as part of a report on NEETs, which is due to be discussed by Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee on Tuesday.

In March, 7.32 per cent of young people, aged 16 to 18, were classed as NEETs compared with 6.1 per cent nationally and 5.26 per cent across its statistical neighbours.

According to the figures, West Suffolk has tended to fare better compared with other parts of the county in the last 12 months.

The West scored 6.44 per cent in March with 7.62 per cent in South and 8.65 per cent in North Suffolk.

A report for the committee, produced by Simon White, interim director for children and young people’s services, and Pauline Henry, county youth support manager, said the data was ‘uncomfortable reading for all who are concerned about young people who are NEET in Suffolk’.

Another paper cited research from last year which found that many young people who would previously have held down ‘lower level employment’ are now without a job and are ‘faced with a system that often appears unfair and biased against them’.

The papers say the county’s new Youth Support Service ‘provides a unique opportunity to address some of the root causes of NEET’.

The committee will meet to establish what work is being done to reduce the number of NEETs and look at its effectiveness. Cllr Graham Newman, portfolio holder for young people’s services, said: “This is about us trying to raise aspirations to raise attainment levels but also economic development opportunities linked to new technologies and positively encouraging jobs to the county.”