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Final estimates for 2018 are provided along with provisional estimates for 2019 which use the best data currently available for each aspect of participation. This includes some final data, some provisional data and some modelling.

This report provides the definitive source for estimates of the proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Wales. It also contains data for one of the 46 national well-being indicators.

1. Main points

16 to 18 year olds

  • Participation of 16 to 18 year olds in education or training increased to 78.3% in 2019 compared to 77.6% in 2018.
  • The proportion in employment decreased from 38.5% in 2018 to 36.3% in 2019. Prior to this, the proportion had increased year on year since 2011.
  • The proportion who are NEET increased to 11.1% in 2019 from 10.6% in 2018.

19 to 24 year olds

  • The proportion of 19 to 24 year olds in education or training has increased to 39.5% in 2019 from 38.8% in 2018.
  • The proportion in employment decreased from 64.0% in 2018 to 63.4% in 2019. This proportion had increased year on year between 2013 and 2018.
  • The proportion who were NEET in 2019 was 15.7%, a slight decrease compared with 16.0% in 2018. This proportion has fallen in each of the last 7 years.

2. Participation of 16 to 18 year olds in education and the labour market

Chart 1 shows the trends in participation in education or training, and in employment for 16 to 18 year olds since 2004.

Prior to 2008, the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds in education or training remained broadly unchanged at 74% to 76%. Following the start of the recession in 2008, there was an increase in the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds in education or training, to levels around 80%. This proportion then decreased between 2013 and 2018 prior to a slight increase in 2019 to stand at 78.3%.

In contrast, the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds in employment decreased overall from 2004, with slightly larger reductions between 2007 and 2009. Between 2011 and 2018 it increased before dropping to 36.3% in 2019.

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Chart 1 show the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds in education or training and in employment. There was a slight increase from 77.6% to 78.3% of those in education or training.

Participation of adults and young people on StatsWales

Employment

  • In 2019 36.3% of 16 to 18 year olds were in full or part-time employment.
  • Approximately 25.7% of 16 to 18 year olds were estimated to be engaged in some type of education or training and in employment in 2019, a slight decrease compared to 26.8% in 2018. Most of these were students in full-time education who were also working part-time.
  • In addition, 10.6% were in full or part-time employment but not in education or training in 2019 a decrease from 2018 (11.8%).

Education and training

  • In total, 78.3% of 16 to 18 year olds were engaged in some kind of education or training (full or part-time) in 2019.
  • Participation in full-time education was 64.2%, unchanged from 2018.
  • A higher proportion of females aged 16 to 18 were in full-time education; 67.9% compared with 60.7% of males in 2019.
  • By single year of age, 72.9% of all 16 year olds were undertaking full-time education in 2019 compared with 64.5% of 17 year olds and 55.4% of 18 year olds. 
  • Participation in training was higher for males than for females. In total, 6,800 16 to 18 year olds were engaged in training (both work-based learning courses and job-related training) in 2019. This is approximately 8.4% of all males in this age group compared with 5.0% of females.

Not in education, employment or training (NEET)

  • An estimated 11,200 16 to 18 year olds (11.1%) were NEET, compared to 10,800 (10.6%) in 2018.
  • This comprised of 4,100 unemployed young people and 7,100 who were economically inactive.
  • 12.2% of males aged 16 to 18 were NEET compared with 10.0% of females.

3. Participation of 19 to 24 year olds in education and the labour market

Chart 2 shows the trends in participation in education or training, and in employment for 19 to 24 year olds since 2004.

The proportion in education or training remained broadly unchanged over this period at around 37% to 39%. This proportion increased to 39.5% in 2019. In contrast, the proportion in employment decreased after the start of the 2008 recession to 2010. It then increased each year between 2012 and 2017 before decreasing slightly to stand at 63.4% in 2019.

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Chart 2 shows  a proportion of 19 to 24 year olds in education or training at 39.5% in 2019 compared to 38.8% in 2018.

Participation of adults and young people on StatsWales

Employment

  • In 2019, 63.4% of 19 to 24 year olds were in full or part-time employment.
  • 44.8% of 19 to 24 year olds were in full or part-time employment but not in education or training in 2019.
  • In addition, 18.6% 19 to 24 year olds were estimated to be engaged in some type of education or training and in employment in 2019. Most of these were either students in full-time education who were also working part-time or students in part-time education or training who were also working full-time.

Education and training

  • In total, 39.5% of 19 to 24 year olds were engaged in some kind of education or training (full or part-time) in 2019.
  • 29.3% of 19 to 24 year olds were in full-time education in 2019, up from 28.2% in 2018.
  • A higher proportion of females, 31.8% were in full-time education compared with 27.1% of males aged 19 to 24 in 2019. 
  • There were 13,900 (5.8%) 19 to 24 year olds engaged in training (both work-based learning courses and job-related training) in 2019, with participation amongst females at 5.5% and for males 6.1%.
  • Participation in full-time education decreased with age. Of all 19 year olds, 54.4% were in full-time education in 2019 compared with 19.8% of 22 year olds and 9.0% of 24 year olds.

Not in education, employment or training (NEET)

  • An estimated 37,400 of 19 to 24 year olds (15.7%) were NEET in 2019, a decrease compared to 16.0% in 2018.
  • 16.3% of females aged 19 to 24 were NEET compared to 15.2% of males in 2019.
  • The 37,400 19 to 24 year olds estimated to be NEET in 2019 comprised of 11,600 unemployed young people and 25,800 who were economically inactive.

Chart 3 compares participation in full-time education by level of study in 2019 compared with the position in 2014. Whilst participation in full-time education decreases with age, the participation rates of those aged 18 to 24 were higher in 2019 than 5 years earlier. For those aged 16, the proportion in full time education decreased by 8.8 percentage points in 2019 compared to 2014. For those aged 17, this proportion decreased by 7.7 percentage points.

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Chart 3 shows participation in full-time education by level of study and age. Participation in full-time education decreases with age.

Participation of adults and young people on StatsWales

4. Policy and operational context

This report presents the annual snapshot of participation of young people in education and the labour market. The statistics are used within the Welsh Government to monitor trends in the level of participation in education and training, and the proportion of young people who are not engaged in education, employment or training (NEET).

The Youth Engagement and Progression Framework was announced in January 2013, with an implementation plan published in October 2013. The Framework outlines the Welsh Government’s approach to reducing the number of young people aged 11 to 25 who are NEET. The framework is based on 6 key building blocks.

  1. Identifying young people most at risk of disengagement.
  2. Better brokerage and co-ordination of support for them.
  3. Stronger tracking and transitions of young people through the system.
  4. Ensuring provision meets the needs of young people.
  5. Strengthening employability skills and opportunities for employment.
  6. Greater accountability for local authorities.

Reducing the number of young people who are NEET is also part of the Prosperity for All: Employability Plan.

Indicators around the proportion of young people who are NEET are part of the Child Poverty Strategy annual assessment of progress.

5. Quality information

Relevance

The statistics are used within the Welsh Government to monitor trends in the level of participation in education and training, and the proportion of young people who are not engaged in education, employment or training (NEET).

Other key users of these statistics include:

  • members of the Senedd and the Research Service in the Welsh Parliament
  • other government departments
  • students, academics and universities

Accuracy

Sampling variability

The economic status proportions are estimated from the Annual Population Survey. Therefore, these estimates will be subject to variation due to sampling error and also non-sampling error and should be treated with caution. As a result changes in trend need to be interpreted with a degree of caution, as changes could be attributed to sampling effects as well as real effects. Currently it is not possible to distinguish between these impacts.

Revisions policy

Provisional 2019 figures will be finalised in next year’s publication, due for release in July 2021. The following table shows the difference between the 2018 provisional estimates published in last year’s release and the final published estimate for the key series of the proportion who are NEET, and the proportion in education or training.

  NEET   In education or training  
  Number Per cent Number Per cent
16 to 18        
Provisional 2018 10,300 10.3 78,900 78.3
Final 2018 10,800 10.6 78,700 77.6
Difference 400 0.3 -200 -0.7
19 to 24        
Provisional 2018 39,100 16.2 93,200 38.4
Final 2018 38,500 16.0 93,700 38.8
Difference -600 -0.2 500 0.4

Revisions for earlier years are only made in line with revisions to source data. Annual Population Survey data back to 2012 has recently been reweighted, and the series has been updated with these new data. Totals may not match due to rounding.

Comparisons with previous years

There were changes made in the data sources and methodology used to derive the participation estimates introduced for the year end 2004 edition. Care should be taken when comparing these estimates with estimates from year end 2004 onwards. Please contact us for advice before using comparisons with previous years.

In particular the following changes need to be taken into account when making comparisons with previous years.

Timeliness and punctuality

This Statistical Release is published annually in July and covers the preceding year end (provisional data) and the year earlier (final data). 

Accessibility and clarity

This statistical release is pre-announced and then published on the Statistics and Research website of the Welsh Government. All underlying data for this release as well as other years are available on the StatsWales website.

Comparability and coherence

For this release, participation in education and the labour market has been estimated using population, education and work-based learning data along with the Annual Population Survey (APS) to estimate the labour market status. Further information on these sources and the derivation of the statistics presented in this release is available in our methodology note.

In addition to this release we publish a bulletin Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) to provide users with more timely and detailed (but less statistically robust) NEET statistics based on the APS only.

National Statistics status

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.

All official statistics should comply with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics. They are awarded National Statistics status following an assessment by the UK Statistics Authority’s regulatory arm. The Authority considers whether the statistics meet the highest standards of Code compliance, including the value they add to public decisions and debate. The designation of these statistics as National Statistics was confirmed in July 2012 following a full assessment against the Code of Practice.

Since the latest review by the Office for Statistics Regulation, we have continued to comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics, and have made the following improvements:

  • included a number of visuals showing long term trends as well as commentary on these trends
  • eliminated unnecessary tables from the release as they are freely available of StatsWales

It is Welsh Government’s responsibility to maintain compliance with the standards expected of National Statistics. If we become concerned about whether these statistics are still meeting the appropriate standards, we will discuss any concerns with the Authority promptly. National Statistics status can be removed at any point when the highest standards are not maintained, and reinstated when standards are restored.

Well-being of Future Generations Act (WFG)

The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. The Act puts in place seven well-being goals for Wales. These are for a more equal, prosperous, resilient, healthier and globally responsible Wales, with cohesive communities and a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. Under section (10)(1) of the Act, the Welsh Ministers must (a) publish indicators (“national indicators”) that must be applied for the purpose of measuring progress towards the achievement of the Well-being goals, and (b) lay a copy of the national indicators before the National Assembly. The 46 national indicators were laid in March 2016 and this release includes one of the national indicators:

  • (22) Percentage of people in education, employment or training, measured for different age groups.

Information on the indicators, along with narratives for each of the well-being goals and associated technical information is available in the Well-being of Wales report.

As a national indicator under the Act they must be referred to in the analyses of local well-being produced by public services boards when they are analysing the state of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in their areas.

Further information on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The statistics included in this release could also provide supporting narrative to the national indicators and be used by public services boards in relation to their local well-being assessments and local well-being plans.

We want your feedback

We welcome any feedback on any aspect of these statistics which can be provided by email to post16ed.stats@gov.wales.

6. Contact details

Statistician: Jonathan Ackland
Telephone: 0300 025 8067
Email: post16ed.stats@gov.wales

Media: 0300 025 8099

National statistics

SFR 95/2020

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