Statistics published this week show a decrease in the level of 16 to 18 year olds in Wales who are not in education, employment or training but a slight increase for 19 to 24 year olds.
The Welsh Government publishes two different sets of statistics relating to young people who are not in education, employment or training in Wales. The Statistical First Release (SFR), Participation of young people in education and the labour market, is published annually in July and is the definitive source for estimates of the proportion of young people in Wales who are not in education, employment or training.
A second Statistical Bulletin, Young people not in education, employment or training, is published each quarter and provides more timely, though less statistically robust, statistics and includes analysis by gender, age and region, which is not possible with the annual SFR data.
16 to 18 year olds
The statistics released on 24 July 2013 show that the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds in Wales who are not in education, employment or training has fallen from 12.2 per cent in 2011 to 10.2 per cent in 2012. The reduction is more significant amongst males (2.6 per cent percentage points) than for females (1.5 percentage points). Despite this, male rates of not being in education, employment or training at 16-18 years old continue to be higher than female rates, as has persistently been the case whilst data has been collected since 2004.
19 to 24 year olds
The proportion of 19 to 24 year olds who are not in education, employment or training has increased slightly from 22.2 per cent in 2011 to 23.0 per cent in 2012. However, there was a decrease amongst females of 0.8 percentage point whilst the rate amongst males rose by 2.2 percentage points. In contrast to the 16-18 age range, female cohorts have traditionally had higher rates of falling outside of education, employment or training although the gap with males has now closed to 3 percentage points.
Wales has the highest rate of 19 to 24 year olds not in education, employment or training in the UK although it no longer has the highest rate for 16 to 18 year olds after Scotland’s level in 2012 exceeded Wales’.
The issue of youth participation in education, training and the workforce and youth unemployment is a major issue across the UK and one which the Welsh Government has said is a stubborn challenge and a key priority (Programme for Government Annual Report 2012, p15)
The Welsh Government is moving from an action plan in respect of youth engagement and employment to a framework built on six key building blocks. This was announced in Cabinet statements on 17 January and 23 April 2013. It is expected to publish details of its implementation plan for the framework for youth engagement and progression this coming September (2013).
Article written by Michael Dauncey, National Assembly for Wales Research Service.