Numbers of people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)

28 September 2010

Current progress and issues relating to one of the LSP Board's areas of focus for 2010

Archived press release

NEET percentage figures are seasonal and rise gradually from January through to September. Figures during the summer months are particularly high as 17 year olds who complete one year courses become NEET in the intervening months before enrolling onto new courses. However throughout 2010 NEET figures have been at least 1% lower than the comparable figure in 2009. Thus the July 2010 NEET figure was 10.8% compared to 11.8% in July 2009

The borough has set itself a target of 6.2% for the months of November 2010 to January 2011, compared to the stretch target of 6.7% that was achieved last year. The reduction in staffing levels at Connexions will clearly be an added pressure to NEET reduction activity. However we are working closely with providers and third sector organisations to coordinate all work, with an aim to replicate what was successful last year and learn from any issues that were identified.

We are focusing particularly on supporting the most vulnerable within the NEET cohort. This includes young offenders, teenage parents and young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Many of these young people face multiple and complex barriers to engagement – and progressing them into education, employment or training (EET) will be a longer term process as support must first go into addressing their underlying problems and needs.

Apprenticeship growth within the council

There are currently 37 apprentices employed within the council, 22 in Education and Children Services, 13 in Housing and Community Care and 2 in Environment, Culture and Sport. In addition there is a post currently being processed in Education Admissions and a further four apprentice gardeners that are being recruited. There are also plans to recruit 6 apprentices to support the transition of children with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities from nursery provision into primary school.

Reduction in public sector funding is, clearly, making it more difficult to recruit apprentices within the council. Therefore, we are also seeking to expand significantly the number of apprenticeships within the private sector. Close links have been established with the Federation of Small Businesses. The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) spoke to a group of employers from this group, and this led directly to the recruitment of a number of apprentices. Further work is currently being undertaken by the local authority, in partnership with Reading UK CIC, NAS and the Thames Valley Regional Network of Training Providers to develop a Reading apprenticeship brand. Critically we need to coordinate work across agencies to develop a ‘one stop shop’ approach to apprenticeship support.

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