Young Peole Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs) in Development and Transition Countries: Need for Action Beyond Unemployment

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 4:15 PM-5:45 PM
206 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Ummuhan Bardak, ETF, Turin, Italy
Martino rubal Maseda, ETF, Turin, Italy
Francesca Rosso, ETF, Turin, Italy
The NEETs indicator has become very popular in recent years, being increasingly used by governments, international organisations, researchers and the media. It refers to the percentage of youth who are not in employment, education or training. This indicator is generally linked to early school leavers, the unemployed or discouraged young people, as well as those outside the labour force for various reasons (family carers, sick or disabled). All these labels refer in one way or another to young people who might be vulnerable, and puts them under a single label and one statistic.

The research conducted constitutes the first in-depth analysis of the NEET groups, their profile and risk factors in ETF partner countries (North Africa, Western Balkans and Turkey, Eastern countries), based on international definitions and calculation methodology. It also reviews various policy responses to the phenomenon of NEETs and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using these results in the policy interventions of partner countries. It proposes some policy conclusions and recommendations.

The ETF analysis shows that individual and family characteristics are important factors determining the outcomes of youth transitions from education to employment. The various social or cultural norms, the different structures and performance of education and VET systems, and the functioning of local labour markets and economies in general also play a key role.

The key findings can be summarised as follows:

  • The focus on NEETs highlights the problem of ‘inactive youth’, together with the young unemployed.

  • The NEETs indicator only becomes useful when disaggregated into sub-groups that allow investigation on the reasons behind such a classification to design targeted policies.

  • Countries can improve through developing policies and support structures in relevant fields (including, for example, childcare, primary and secondary education, the VET system, employment, healthcare, housing, transport). 

  • VET can play an important role: in many countries, secondary education makes little difference in preventing young people from becoming NEETs. This entails that room exists for improving the scope and the quality of the programmes provided and for providing second-chance opportunities for young adults.

  • Given the shortage of skilled jobs in many countries, VET can be helpful as a credible alternative to higher education for many young people and can also assist in adapting the skills of the higher educated to the needs of the labour market.

  • ‘Prevention’ is key to avoiding an uncontrolled increase in the number of young people falling into the NEET trap and to breaking the cycle of social exclusion. Developing more qualitative, effective, labour-market-relevant and balanced education and training systems is essential to tackle the issue at source. A participatory and coordinated action plan involving families, early child educators, schools, training providers, public employment services, youth organisations and the private sector is needed to ensure early tracking of disengagement and prompt intervention. However, reintegration and compensation measures are also necessary to ensure the social inclusion of NEETS.