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Hundreds of young Leeds people ‘are slipping through the NEET net’

PIC: PA
PIC: PA
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Hundreds of young people could be going under the radar and missing out on jobs, training and education opportunities, new figures detailing Leeds’s ‘NEET’ hotspots reveal.

In the last three months of 2017, more than 750 young people in total were classified as NEET (not in employment, education or training) in the city’s 15 council wards with the highest individual numbers.

However in all the cases, the number of ‘not knowns’ was even higher than the official number of NEETS.

It has led to renewed concerns that too many youngsters are slipping through the net of services, and potentially losing out on important advice and guidance to help them take the next step.

A renewed drive is now under way to promote council run drop-ins at the city’s Community Hub locations.

A meeting at Leeds Civic Hall heard that the city “needs to get to grips” with reducing the ‘not knowns’, and that there was also a “data quality” issue that needed to be addressed.

However councillor Mohammed Iqbal, who represents the City and Hunslet ward - which topped the list of Leeds’s NEET hotspots - said issues of NEETs and underachievement had been “happening for years in these areas”.

Steve Walker, director of Children’s’ Services at Leeds City Council, told a cross party panel of councillors who have conducted an inquiry into the issue, that work was under way to develop new approaches and “restorative” support for young people.

The city has been successful in getting new “innovation funding” to help develop the work he said, adding that council teams are “very much targeting resources” where they are most needed.

“Clearly we want all children in Leeds to reach their potential,” he said.

Despite the numbers, the meeting was told that more localised advice drop-ins based in community hubs - rather than in city centre offices - were “proving to be quite successful”, with more young people starting to use the services.