What are the barriers to employment for young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or who have experience of care? What works best to support them? In partnership with the Education Development Trust (EDT), our latest report draws conclusions from a survey of practitioners and young people to understand the barriers they face, what services are offered, and what is considered to work best in helping NEET young people – and especially care leavers – to progress into work.

More than one in ten young people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 24 are classified as not in employment, education or training (NEET), and the rate of young people being NEET has not fallen below 10% over the last twenty years. We know that being NEET can have immediate negative consequences for a young person, such as decreasing levels of self-esteem, increasing the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviours such as substance misuse and criminal activities, and increasing their chances of living in poverty. While there has been much research into the factors that lead to becoming NEET, how these can be mitigated, and the impacts of being NEET, there is not the same body of evidence to inform the support provided to young people to move into and stay in education, employment and training (EET).

This study looks at what the existing research has to say and surveys young people and the practitioners who work with them on four key questions:


Drawing out lessons for practitioners and policymakers, this study contributes to our understanding of what young people see as the issues, the support they need and what service providers are offering to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

The executive summary and full survey report ‘Entry and retention in the labour market: Narratives and solutions for NEET and care leaver employment support’ can be accessed here.

Policy and recommendations summary here.