CBI calls for more apprenticeships to combat rising number of Neets

The CBI has renewed calls for employers to offer apprenticeships, internships or volunteering opportunities to combat the rising number of 18- to 24-year-olds not in employment, education or training (Neets).

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said today that the number of young teenagers considered to be Neets had grown to 10.3%, or more than one in 10. There are now 100,000 more 18-to 24-year-olds not attending college or school compared to last year.

The figures come just days after the Conservative Party revealed a 73% increase in 16 to 24-year-old Neets in the South West to 78,000 in the first quarter of 2009, and a 71% rise in the South East to 130,000.

Susan Anderson, the CBI’s director of education and skills policy, said: “The number of 18 to 24-year-olds not in employment, education or training has risen to record levels, and will continue to rise. We know from the recession in the 1980s that unemployment scars the lives of young people – so they need our support. This can include apprenticeships, internships or volunteering opportunities.”

Children’s minister Iain Wright said the recession had made it harder to tackle the growing problem of Neets.

“Reducing the proportion of 18-year-old Neets has proved challenging, and we know that the economic downturn is significantly affecting young people. The government has taken decisive action to strengthen existing provision and put in place new support for young people,” he said.

Keith Dugdale, global head of resourcing and recruitment at KPMG, added today’s young teenagers – including those picking up their A-level results this week – will face a very different jobs marketplace when they graduate in four years time.

“The current recession is simply masking the demographic timebomb, and this will have a far more important long-term impact on their future prospects than the current downturn. As soon as the recession ends, there will be a global shortage of talent, and future graduates will be best placed to take advantage of these opportunities, not only in the UK but across the globe.”

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