Over 1m young people in England are unemployed or outside education

22 November 2012 | last updated: 11 December 2015

One in six (17%) young people (aged 16-24) in England are not in education, employment or training (so-called NEETs), according to government statistics released today. UCU said the government must work harder to provide opportunities for young people.

Today's figures reveal that 1,027,000 16-24 year olds in England were classified as NEET in the third quarter in 2012 - up 1 percentage point on the second quarter in 2012, but down 2.2 percentage points on the third quarter from 2011.

UCU said the slight annual drop in the number of NEETs aged 16-24 could not be a cause for celebration while over 1m young people remained without work or access to education and training.

The union highlighted government policies such as axing the education maintenance allowance (EMA) and raising the price of a university degree, at a time when there are so few jobs and opportunities for young people, as major factors behind the worrying numbers who are not earning or learning.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'At a time when the job market is so tough, the government's decision to hike university fees and remove grants for the poorest college students looks even more ill-advised.

'We will be incredibly disappointed if politicians try to champion the minimal year-on-year drop in NEETs as some sort of success. The fact remains that over 1m young people are not earning or learning and that is no cause for celebration.'

The full figures can be found here.