Home Children and Young People Knowsley Council leads the way in keeping young people in employment or education
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Knowsley Council leads the way in keeping young people in employment or education

by Guy Murphy

The number of 16–18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Knowsley continues to improve following the release of the latest Department for Education data.

According to the figures, Knowsley Council’s NEET rate is currently at 6.5% (August 23) and is outperforming the the borough’s statistical neighbours (local authorities with similar characteristics) which averaged at 7.8%

Back in 2021 Knowsley Council’s NEET level was 8.7%, which was significantly higher than both the national average and that of its statistical neighbours (7%).

The Council has worked hard to reduce the figure and has improved a number of service areas to ensure the best possible outcomes for young people.

Regular reviewing of the Council’s case loading process has resulted in levels of support being directed into the areas where it is needed most. For example, it was identified that Kirkby had the highest level of active NEET young people and therefore the number of caseworkers assigned to that area was increased.

An additional focus has also been put upon specific NEET groups (For example, NEET due to pregnancy or mental health reasons). This enables caseworkers to develop specialist knowledge and a greater understanding of the support needs of young people who fall within the group.

The Knowsley Advice and Guidance Service provides support to complex NEET cohorts that focuses upon outcomes and progression into education, employment or training. Many of the young people who access this support have disclosed having undiagnosed mental health conditions including anxiety.

The Council also works closely with partner organisations, including MACE (Multi-Agency Child Exploitation), Virtual School and YOS, to ensure knowledge is shared and the most appropriate support worker engages with a young person who is flagged as being NEET.

By sharing information, it is easier for caseworkers to establish the underlying reasons that a young person might be NEET. Common barriers to employment, education or training include lack of qualifications, long-term absence from education, low levels of self-confidence and lack of motivation.

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Knowsley Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “The latest figures released by the Department for Education show the impact of the work undertaken by our teams to improve outcomes for young people in Knowsley.

“Back in 2021, we lagged behind our peers and it was clear that a different approach was needed to  ensure that we gave young people not in education, employment or training the support they needed to break the cycle and improve their life chances.

“It is great to see we are now leading the way and will this bring further long-term benefits for Knowsley and our communities.”