Not in education, employment or training (NEET)


A person identified as NEET is either unemployed or economically inactive and is either looking for work or is inactive for reasons other than being a student, an apprentice or a carer at home.

Young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) are at greater risk of a range of negative outcomes, including poor health, depression or early parenthood.

To support more young people to study and gain the skills and qualifications that lead to work and reduce the risk of young people becoming NEET, the Education and Skills Act 2008 introduced what has commonly become known as Raising of the Participation Age (RPA).  From September 2013, young people were required to participate in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 and from 2015 until their 18th birthday.

RPA does not mean that young people need to remain in school, but they could participate in a range of education including apprenticeships, college courses, school sixth forms, and work with training or volunteering.

Key inequalities and risk factors

There are many reasons why young people do not enter education, employment or training.

With the current economic downturn and increasing youth unemployment it is increasingly difficult for young people to obtain employment opportunities. However, the regeneration of Bracknell Town Centre is likely to stimulate the local economy and generate suitable employment for this target group. Innovative application of the Social Value Act 2012 in commissioning and procurement may also lead to additional opportunities in employment and training to build self-esteem, confidence and resilience in young people in this group.

Beyond economic factors such as the strength of national and local economies, opportunity and choice may be impacted by:

  • history of school attendance, exclusion and ultimately educational attainment
  • availability and accessibility of full- or part-time education choices
  • pecific situations or circumstances such as carer status, family responsibilities, teenage pregnancy
  • reasons of health, disability or long-term conditions

There is also evidence of inequalities in relation to deprivation, gender and ethnicity.

Facts, figures and trends

In 2011 the way in which young people who are NEET is defined was changed resulting in a wider group of young people being included and meaning that comparison with previous years cannot be made.

Government data states that the number of 16 to 24 year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) is at its lowest level in a decade, while official figures released in June 2015 showed the lowest rate of 16- to 18-year-olds NEET since records began, with 52,000 fewer young people NEET since 2011.

Analysis for end 2014, show that participation in full-time education by 16-18 year olds rose by 1.6 percentage points (ppts) between 2013 and 2014 to 71.5%, the highest level since consistent records began in 1994. The largest annual increase was for 17 year olds (+2.8ppts to 76.8%). There were also increases in proportions in full-time education at age 16 (+1.9ppts to 87.9%) and at age 18 (+0.6ppts to 50.5%).

The Department for Education also publishes quarterly estimates of the proportion of NEET young people, based on the Labour Force Survey. The data release includes information at an England level. In July to September 2015:

  • 16-18 NEET rate fell to 10.2%
  • 19-24 rate fell to 15.4%
  • overall 16-24 rate fell to 13.8%

For both 16-18 and 19-24 year olds, this change was driven by a fall in the proportion of those not in education or training and a rise in the employment rate of the NEET group.

An indicator to measure the proportion of 16-18 year olds known to the local authority not in education, employment or training is included in the Public Health Outcomes Framework:

Percentage of 16-18 year olds who are NEET 2013-2015

This indicator is published annually and uses the average proportion of NEETs between November and January each year. In 2015/16, 3.3% (140) of 16-18 years olds in Bracknell Forest were NEET. This is a 1.2% decrease on 2014/15’s figure (160) which is also statistically significantly lower than the national figure of 4.2%.

In December 2016, the percentage of 16-17 year olds recorded as participating in education or training in Bracknell Forest is:

  • lower for young people with statement of educational needs or disabilities (SEND) than young people without SEND although both figures are higher than the south east regional and national participation rates
  • lower for boys than in girls at ages 16 and 17.  The participation rate falls for both sexes at age 17, with the rate of non-participation by boys greater than that for girls, the fall for boys taking it below the national participation rate
  • higher in mixed and BME classifications than in the white categories, and with the exception of black/black British and other ethnicities, all categories are lower than the national participation rate

Participation is lower for young people leaving the care system, however, in Bracknell Forest local data from the Department of Education Looked After Children statistics for 2015/16 show participation at aged 19 at 63%, 18% higher than the national figure.  Participation is also well sustained with participation at age 21 at 92% compared to only 42% nationally.

Want to know more?

Adviza – a website offering advice and information to young people and professionals that support them to help young people make better decisions that help them progress in learning and work.

Building Engagement, Building Futures (HM Government, 2011) – sets out Government’s reforms to schools, vocational education, skills and welfare provision to make a significant difference to young people’s opportunities and support.  There are 5 priorities for action:

  1. Raising attainment in school and beyond to ensure that young people have the skills they need to compete in a global economy.
  2. Helping local partners to provide effective and co-ordinated services that support all young people, including the most vulnerable, aiming to achieve full participation by 2015.
  3. Encouraging and incentivising employers to inspire and recruit young people by offering more high quality Apprenticeships and work experience places.
  4. Ensuring that work pays and giving young people the personalised support they need to find it, through Universal Credit, the Work Programme and Get Britain Working measures.
  5. Putting in place a new Youth Contract worth almost £1 billion over 3 years to help get young people earning and learning.

ElevateMe Bracknell Forest  – a website that aims to help 16-24 year olds in Bracknell Forest get help, advice and support on employment, work experience, education, volunteering and mentoring.

Jobcentre Plus  – provides resources to enable job-searchers to find work, through Jobpoints (touch-screen computer terminals), Jobseeker Direct (telephone service) and the Jobcentre Plus website. They offer information about training opportunities for the chronicly unemployed. They administer claims for benefits such as Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Local Action on Health Inequalities: Increasing employment opportunities and improving workplace health (Public Health England, 2014) – a summary of evidence about  the role of local authotities  and how working with employers can lever opportunities to counter the risks and negative long-term health and wellbeing outcomes for the most disadvantaged.

Local Action on Health Inequalities: Reducing the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) (Public Health England, 2014) – a summary of evidence about  the relationship between being NEET and health; inequalities in prevalence of being NEET; and the scale of the problem and actions that can be taken at a local level in order to reduce the proportion of young people who are NEET.

Pathways to Work – A job centre plus service created to help people with disabilities or health conditions that make it difficult for them to find work.


This page was created on 18 March 2014 and updated on 17 January 2017.  Next review date January 2018.

Cite this page:

Bracknell Forest Council. (2017). JSNA – Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training. Available at: (Accessed: dd Mmmm yyyy)


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