Thursday 1 July 2021 / 8:09 AM Education / Kate Green

Labour slams Conservatives’ “broken promises” as new data shows one in eight young people are locked out of education, employment or training 5 years after leaving school

Labour has today slammed the Conservatives’ ‘broken promises’ on creating opportunity as data shows one in eight young people are not in education, training or employment (NEET) 5 years after leaving school, with new data showing one in seven 18-year-old men were NEET last year.

The number not in education, employment or training is even higher for young people who received free school meals during their time at school, with 26% registering as NEET five years after leaving, nearly three times higher than among pupils not in receipt of free school meals.

These statistics demonstrate the repeated failure of Conservative governments to prepare pupils for life beyond the school gates with many schools having struggled to deliver careers advice and guidance after the Conservatives slashed funding for these services.

Young people leaving school in 2014 have been faced with fewer training and development opportunities. Under the Conservatives apprenticeship starts among under 25s have fallen by over 113,000 in five years, while the number of young learners in further education has fallen by a third as the Government slashed millions from the 16-19 education budget, taking training opportunities away from thousands of young people.

In a speech to the Learning and Work Institute, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green MP, will:

  • warn that the Government’s Skills Bill does not deliver for these young people, with no clear plan to reverse the decline in opportunities.
  • highlight Labour’s Job Promise, which would guarantee equality training, education, or employment opportunities for young people who have been out of work, education, or training for six months.
  • call for the Government to adopt the proposals in Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan, which would allow young people to stay in further education for an additional year, and provide greater funding to disadvantaged pupils.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“This data shows that the Conservatives have broken their promises to create opportunities, and young people are being held back as the result.

“We need to unleash young people’s potential for our recovery, but real-terms cuts to school budgets and 16-19 education have taken opportunities away from the young people who need them most.

“As we rebuild from this pandemic, children and young people should be at the heart of our recovery. Labour’s plan for a jobs promise would help unleash the potential of these young people using their fresh ideas, creativity and energy to boost our recovery from the pandemic.”