The number of young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) in Surrey has more than halved in just over four years thanks to the help of initiatives spearheaded by the county council.
Latest figures show there were 449 so-called NEETs aged 16 to 19 last month compared to 1,080 in April 2009. That means around 1.5% of the 30,000 16 to 19-year-olds in Surrey’s 16 to 19-year-olds fall into the NEET category. Nationally 5.7% of 16 to 18-year-olds are classed as such*.
The dramatic drop follows a series of county council initiatives designed to boost young people’s job prospects. These include incentivising businesses to hire more than 760 apprentices by next April, a new chain of county-wide centres to equip young people with basic skills and extra support in youth centres for those at risk of becoming NEET.
At the same time, the council has saved £4.5 million – or 25% of its 2009 youth services budget – by transforming young people’s services through working more closely with voluntary and community groups.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning Linda Kemeny said: “It’s fantastic news that the number of NEETs has halved in four years, while we’ve also saved local taxpayers £4.5m by doing things differently and better.
“This is real proof that our initiatives, such as encouraging businesses to hire more than 760 apprentices and opening a string of skills centres, are paying dividends and giving young people the opportunity to make the most of their futures. But there’s no room for complacency and we’ll continue to explore every possible avenue to ensure all Surrey’s young people have the chance to find a job.”
* Latest annual Department for Education figures.