‘Who you meet’ can stop you becoming NEET

Published on Friday, 10 February 2012 14:54
Written by Dr Anthony Mann

Groundbreaking new research shows a significant link between young people’s experience of the world of work whilst at school and the chances of them successfully avoiding becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) as young adults

Those who recalled ‘four or more employer contacts’ are five times less likely to be NEET than those who had no involvement.

The research ‘It’s who you meet: why employer contacts at school make a difference to the employment prospects of young adults’ by the charity the Education and Employers Taskforce is based on a survey undertaken pro-bono by YouGov which asked young adults aged 19-24 about their current employment status and to reflect on their experiences of the world of work whilst they were at school.

The findings were striking, 26.1% of young people who could recall no contact with employers whilst at school went on to become NEET. This reduced significantly to 4.3% for those who had taken part in four or more activities involving employers (career insights, mentoring, work tasters, work experience etc). Importantly, robust statistical analysis demonstrates that these outcomes are not linked to academic achievement.

The survey also finds that those young adults in full-time employment who remembered 4+ employer contacts whilst at school earned, on average, 16% more than those who recalled no such activity.

The report draws on recent academic research which highlights the value that pupils can gain from first-hand insights into jobs and careers from employers.  Contacts with employers help young people to make better, more achievable decisions about their career aspirations and best routes into them.  Those young people who had most opportunity to understand the working world were better prepared to compete with older workers for jobs once they left education.

Through free volunteering service Inspiring the Future anyone, in any job or profession, from apprentice to CEO, can go into their local state school or college to give young people short career insight talks. Employers getting involved in local schools can gradually help alleviate the youth unemployment problem.  The ‘It’s who you meet’ research with  young adults who met 3+employers while at school found:  85% said it helped them decide on a career, 77% said it helped in getting a  job after education and 75% said it helped with getting into HE.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) says: “It’s really important for young people to get a chance to meet a range of people, doing a range of jobs. We need to do everything we can to tackle the crisis of youth unemployment.”

The Taskforce survey was published to coincide with the launch on 6 February of the report by David Miliband MP, Chair of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations’ (ACEVO) Commission on Youth Unemployment.

Useful links:
Register for free for Inspiring the Future: http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/
The full It’s who you meet report http://www.educationandemployers.org/research/taskforce-publications/it's-who-you-meet/

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