The number of young people not in education or work is at its lowest level since 2008, new figures reveal.
The total number of 16 to 24-year-olds in the Yorkshire region classed as ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET) has fallen to 95,000 for the first time since the recession hit.
But Bradford’s jobs supremo says long-term youth unemployment remains a problem and has called for more government help.
Figures released by the Department for Education and the Department for Innovation, Business and Skills, show the number of NEETs in Yorkshire and the Humber fell by 17,000 in just three months, from 112,000 in the final quarter of 2013 to 95,000 in the first quarter of 2014.
It means NEETs now account for 14 per cent of the region’s young people, compared to 23.8 per cent at the height of the economic downturn.
The government’s Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock, welcomed the news, and said: “This is further evidence that our long-term economic plan is securing young people’s future.
“Every young person should be given the chance to reach their potential, whether that is through studying or training, embarking on an apprenticeship or traineeship or entering the world of work.
“Today’s figures show that more and more young people that were previously held back from reaching their full potential are now in work or developing skills that will allow them to become valued employees.”
But Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe (Lab), Bradford Council’s executive member for employment and skills, remained unconvinced.
She said while a lot of work was being done to help those aged 16 to 18, she remained very concerned about those aged 18 to 24.
“There is a huge amount of work being done in schools for 16 to 18-year-olds, and raising the age of participation will help with that,” she said. “But there are too many 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of work and are really struggling to get that start in life.”
Coun Hinchcliffe said while Bradford Council was trying to tackle the problem with its Get Bradford Working scheme, there still needed to be a “major push” from the government.