In the process of NEETs in NEED project implementation the partners expressed strong interest  and decided to implement an activity that gives opportunity to include representatives of other sectors (education, labour, local, national institutions) and together to review the policies created to support NEETs. For this reason, the consortium implemented 6-days seminar. The seminar was based on presentations of practices, existing policies and discussions on common challenges but also reflection on specific cases in all four partner countries. As product of the seminar the team created this set of recommendations targeting youth organizations and other stakeholders and aiming to develop the quality of services provided to NEETs.

  1. It can be said that the term NEET itself, does not differentiate the needs and groups within the cohort. There is a need of redefining the young people as “disengaged”, “unsure” and “unable to find work” which will allow the stakeholders to develop a clear focus and targeted policy for each group.
  2. Raising the age of participation changes the context of the work and the courses for offer to young people. Keeping this in mind there is a need to move beyond the idea of NEETs. At first glance this group of individuals will be re-classed as non-participants but on a deeper policy level, if the policy-makers are prepared then the educational offer should present greatest opportunity for progression and employment.
  3. There is a need of pre-apprenticeship training which would help ensure transition between school and apprenticeships or other vocational qualifications. Evidence on the international level suggest that pre-apprenticeship training works best when it is tailored around specific occupations rather than generic “work-ready” skills, and routes for progression from these qualifications into Higher Education or trades must be clear and supported.
  4. The international evidence from other countries suggests that clear progression ladder to higher qualifications and the use of qualifications as license to practice act as strong motivation for participation. The diplomas should ensure that they provide smooth transition to apprenticeship at higher-levels and the Governments should prioritizes its objective of ensuring that there is clear rout of progression from apprenticeship to university.
  5. Support at vital transition points within the education system could be greatly improved. Year 7 of the education is crucial and intensive support at this point could help young people navigate the very different secondary environment. Early assessment for the pupils behind, should separate some of them for part of the time into intensive catch-up and tuition groups. Schools must focus on pastoral support (more individual) and study support systems within the school and where it is possible to encourage innovative peer schemes. There should be strong emphasis on the transition support which appears as very important in a crucial points of time during the education. The support should be focused on transition from Year 9 to Year 10, where the staff should be receiving training on how to give appropriate support and advice to young people when they are choosing their learning options.
  6. At the heart of the strategy to engage young people should be the professional advice and guidance. Advice and guidance to Year 8 needs to take this into consideration. There should be a clear, impartial and constructive advice given to young people to help ensure they feel in control of their learning and training choices. If a young person is not suitable enough into particular area, has unrealistic expectations of progression from a course or there are few jobs in particular field he should be fully aware of this. The teachers may not be sure of the opportunities presented by qualifications such as apprenticeships if they do not have direct experience. Fully independent careers guidance workforce is required. The personnel should be trained to consistent professional standards. The peer mentoring has a huge potential to help the young people and should be supported and developed where possible.
  7. The quality of Careers educations and guidance is not consistent but dependent on the experience of the individuals. There is a need of independent career service which should be governed by a reinvigorated professional qualification. In charge of the career education and guidance should be independent adviser within clusters of schools. The information about the labour market must be much clearer and also to be linked to both professional external advisers and school staff, so they can keep up with changes and developments and to be aware of all the options available. To make informed decisions about options in year 10, the students should be given careers guidance much earlier and in more vigorous and systematic way.
  8. There should be earlier, more systematic options for school children to visit places of work, get knowledge about real jobs and be exposed to different work environments. There should be particular focus place on risk groups. There should be organized visits to industry days, places of work and visits to unconventional careers work places. There should be detailed career paths and firsthand experience factored explicitly in some course materials. If it is possible the course materials should include approximate expected salaries as this is huge motivator for groups at risk. There should be wider usage of digital technologies. On bigger scale the local authorities and the schools should work together to produce showcase events and fairs for primary school leavers in order to expose them in practical and imaginative way to the option that are available.
  9. Policy-makers should not always assume that youngsters at risk dropping from education early for example between 12-16 years old, do so only because they are discontented with academic studies. The generalization that NEETs need vocational education not only masks other socio-cultural problems but damages the vocation study itself. The purpose of different vocational routes should be clearly outlined.
  10. The courses should be accompanied by much clearer information so that learners can make informed decisions at key transition points. A label system for courses would include percentage ratings on learner success, customer satisfaction and those who achieve a positive destination in terms of work or further learning. The rating might also be displayed along with whether the potential wage gain is good or poor. This kind of information can be helpful to clarify progression routes and could be a useful driver of quality in the system but it might have flaws that lead to ‘league table pressure’ type responses from admissions staff, and the tracking of earning potential or employment destinations can be notoriously hard.
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