The number of young people across Cheshire East classed as ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ fell by 34% last year – the largest fall of any borough across the North West.
Data from the Department for Education show that just 3.7% of 16-18 year-olds in the borough are ‘NEETs’ compared to 5.6% across the region as a whole.
Welcoming the figures, Cheshire East Council Leader, Michael Jones, said: “I’m extremely proud that the number of NEETs across Cheshire East has fallen by such a large margin. This shows that the national economic recovery is on the right track, with businesses growing in confidence and creating jobs and opportunities for our young people.”
He added: “What is also clear is that the council’s focus on jobs, investment and skills is helping to set the right framework locally. We are committed to driving growth, encouraging investment and supporting innovation. From the hi-tech bio-sciences jobs that are coming into Alderley Park, right the way through to our exciting plans for a new hub rail station at Crewe, the council is working flat out to support jobs and prosperity in Cheshire East.”
Cllr Jones added: “However, one child is too much and we are not complacent and we will work to help all young adults to succeed.”
The dramatic fall in the number of NEETs reflects the innovative ways in which the Youth Support Service has been reorganised into small, focused, agile, geographical teams, with the focus on understanding the individual needs of young people.
The approach includes developing new flexible working practices in order to better support young people, including detached teams out on the streets at night, offering targeted provision to engage and motivate our young people.
The approach is a move away from them being seen as ‘numbers’ to individuals with clear actions for each young person.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet Member for Children and families, explained: “We know that it can sometimes be hard for young people to find the right direction when they leave school which can lead them to end up feeling lost and frustrated, hence they end up not in education, employment or training.
“Our approach has been to identify the barriers that stand in the way of young people and find practical ways of overcoming them.
“Our teams assess young people’s individual needs, which might include help with mock job interviews or assisting with accommodation issues. In the hardest cases, the focus has been in voluntary projects, helping young people understand the value of attendance and motivation.”
She added: “While these figures are extremely encouraging and reflect the hard work and innovation of our teams, the council, schools, employers and careers services will continue to work together to make sure this encouraging fall in the number of those not in education, employment education or training is improved further still.”