With many young people entering new school years, leaving home for University or starting new jobs, it is worth bearing in mind that for many young people such steps can feel a daunting or out of reach concept. There are currently 790,000 NEETs in the UK, ‘NEET’ an acronym originating from the UK in the late 90’s used to describe young people aged 16-24 who are ‘not in education, employment or training’ (House of Commons, 2014). That is 11.1% of the total population in this age group. A regional breakdown displays that the West Midlands has the third highest proportion of NEET’s in the UK (House of Commons, 2014).
What are the challenges that NEETs face?
There are many factors that influence NEET status, young people may have faced challenges achieving academic qualifications or experienced school exclusion. Many young people may have had to contend with difficult circumstances such as abuse, bullying, mental health or poverty.
Consequences of young people finding themselves NEET include poorer well-being and reduced self-confidence, along with wider economic costs (Willemse, 2015). Having worked with young people throughout my profession, I’ve seen first-hand how daunting it can be for young people to find themselves NEET and how difficult it can be to overcome the challenges faced to turn their circumstances around. Failure to engage young people in training or employment by the age of 24 has indicated a lifetime of unemployment, increased likelihood of a run in with the law and additionally greater odds of mental health disorders, substance misuse and suicidal behaviour (Goldman-Mellor et al., 2016).
How can we support NEETs?
The government (Environment & Planning: government and policy, 2008) has highlighted the importance of providing early intervention, goal-focused and individually tailored pathways. As part of this initiative, many programmes are being implemented by schools and community organisations to support young people attain employment, education and training. However, some young people simply aren’t ready to make change or engage in such programmes, and require support with developing the rationale to begin change in their lives.
Motivational Interviewing is a popular goal-orientated, person-centred approach, with psychological origins. The model supports behaviour change, through exploring and resolving ambivalence (Kraybill and Morrison, 2007). Four basic skills form this model, which we can all use and put into practice when supporting young people to make change: providing affirmations, reflective listening, use of open-ended questions and summary statements. The approach is non-judgemental, non-confrontational and non-adversarial and encourages the young person to consider and develop their approach to change.
Innovating Minds CIC is currently working as a specialist partner delivering ‘Progress’, a tailored programme of coaching and support to help NEET’s in Coventry and Warwickshire, access training and employment prospects. ‘Progress’, is part of ‘Building Better Opportunities’ a project funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social fund, with an aim to increase employment levels by providing coaching support and activities to assist the transition from unemployment into work.
As a specialist programme partner, we provide accessible psychological support for young people who face barriers because of mental health related difficulties. The approach is individualised, using an evidence-based model and delivered by experienced professionals who aim to challenge perceived barriers and encourage aspiration in order to support individuals on the right path to a successful future.
To find out more about the Innovating Minds, Building Better Opportunities Progress Programme and partnership services, please visit: http://www.innovatingmindscic.com/bbo-progress-programme/
* Mirza-Davies, J. (2014). NEET: young people not in education, employment or training. House of Commons Briefing Paper, 6705.
* Pemberton, S. (2008). Tackling the NEET generation and the ability of policy to generate a ‘NEET’solution—evidence from the UK. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 26(1), 243-259.
* Goldman‐Mellor, S., Caspi, A., Arseneault, L., Ajala, N., Ambler, A., Danese, A., … & Wong, C. (2016). Committed to work but vulnerable: self‐perceptions and mental health in NEET 18‐year olds from a contemporary British cohort. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(2), 196-203.
* Willemse, R. P. (2015). The perceived impact of unemployment on psychological well-being among unemployed young people in Worcester (Doctoral dissertation).