Recent figures show a reduction in young people who are not in education, employment or training during 2015.
2015 saw a significant reduction in young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). This figure has fallen from 18 per cent in 2014 to 13.8 per cent in 2015. The NEET rate has fallen from 39,000 in the first quarter of 2015 to 29,000 in the last quarter.
The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work is at 69 per cent. This is the highest rate in Northern Ireland since 2007, however it remains lower than the UK employment rate of 74.1 per cent.
The numbers of young people claiming benefits in Northern Ireland has also been consistently falling in recent years. A total of 10,137 young people aged under 25 were claiming benefits in February 2016, making up a quarter of all claimants. This showed an increase of 0.7 per cent (68 claimants) over the month and a decrease of 17.6 per cent (2,163) on the previous year.
However, the Northern Ireland NEET rate still remains the highest of all the UK regions and is 2.3 per cent higher than the UK average of 11.5 per cent. The NEET rates for the rest of the UK are as follows: Wales (12.9 per cent), England (11.3 per cent) and Scotland (11.1 per cent).
There are currently 13 European Social Fund projects with a total funding value of £6.5 million working with young people in the NEET category across Northern Ireland. These projects provide support such as a one to one mentoring service, confidence building, training and work placements, education and careers advice, job search and support with job interviews to secure employment.
The £2.7 million Community Family Support Programme also supports families with a high level of need to reach their full potential by addressing the employment, educational, training, health, social and economic issues that impact on their daily lives.
Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry commented: “There are a range of options available to help young people including free essential skills courses, options for further and higher education and personal advice and support from careers and employment advisers. I would continue to encourage young people to take up the range of support available, to help them get the skills and training to gain employment or re-engage with education.”