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More than 1,000 Suffolk teenagers classed as NEET

PUBLISHED: 16:48 24 October 2018

Apprenticeships are just one route teenagers can take Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Apprenticeships are just one route teenagers can take Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Fresh questions have been raised over youngsters not in education, employment or training (NEETs), after the latest data revealed Suffolk had disproportionately high numbers.

Gordon Jones: 
Suffolk County Council cabinet member for childrens services, education and skills said a host of measures were helping to promote employment, education and training Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL/SIMON LEE PHOTOGRAPHYGordon Jones: Suffolk County Council cabinet member for childrens services, education and skills said a host of measures were helping to promote employment, education and training Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL/SIMON LEE PHOTOGRAPHY

Data published by the Department for Education last week showed there were 1,090 NEETs in Suffolk out of 14,740 16 and 17 year olds.

The 7.4% NEET rate is the second worst of the 11 authorities in the East, behind only Luton.

The data also means Suffolk is around 3% worse than the national average for youngsters employed or in education or training.

Education chiefs said the rural make-up of the county, coupled with pockets of deprivation were behind the figures.

Jack Abbott has questioned why Suffolk has a high number of NEETs Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILJack Abbott has questioned why Suffolk has a high number of NEETs Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for education and skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “It is a priority for Suffolk County Council to swiftly identify young people who leave full time education and to provide support for them to access local opportunities and move into alternate learning or training.

“We are pleased that progress is being made as the proportion of young people who are NEET in Suffolk reduces year-on-year and is currently the lowest it has ever been. In comparison to last year, the percentage of young people who are NEET or whose destination is not known, in Suffolk has reduced by 0.1%, compared to no change across England.”

Mr Jones pointed to a measures to tackle the situation, including the Suffolk Skills Show to highlight opportunities and the Enterprise Advisory Network to help schools and colleges inspire teenagers. The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group has also committed £1million over the next three years.

Figures published last month by the council’s scrutiny committee revealed a 20% fall in the number of people starting an apprenticeship.

Jack Abbott, Labour education spokesman, said: “Suffolk County Council is once again failing young people. The council has a legal obligation to ensure that all those in education have access to training, education or employment, yet this council neglects more than 1,000 16-17 year-olds by not providing them with the opportunities that they deserve. They should be raising aspiration, standards and prospects for all young people, but, instead, the Tories seem content with removing opportunity.

“If the Conservatives do not have the inclination or ability to fix the many problems this county faces, I know a party that does.”

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