Young Lives Leeds NEET Research 2015

Now available - a report reflecting the views, issues and aspirations of local young people not in education, employment or training.

“I just want to get a job so I have something to do all day that isn’t looking at job sites".

The report

13 November 2015 marks the release of the Young Lives Leeds NEET Research 2015; a report reflecting the views, issues and aspirations of local young people not in education, employment or training.

The report has been written and researched by Gary Blake and Cuchulainn Sutton-Hamilton of Voluntary Action Leeds, in partnership with a number of key organisations across Leeds. More than 70 young people aged 16-25 took part in this research, attending focus groups to talk about their experiences of being NEET in the city.

The report is available to download now at the foot of the page.  Please feel free to add any comments you have on the report using the Comments box below.

The research

“You don’t have experience but you can’t get a job unless you have experience and you can’t get experience unless you have a job”.

This research is based predominantly on the findings of 12 focus groups and a feedback event. These conversations were recorded, transcribed word for word and analysed thematically over a number of months. The faultless level of commitment from the team allowed for large amounts of qualitative and numerical data to be included, making the report a significant insight into the lives of the young people.

Quotes from the young people are at the centre of the research, with the word-for-word transcriptions maintained, to represent the authentic voices of the young people involved. The quotes included in the report have been very carefully selected from a list of hundreds, discussing issues such as mental health, being skint and trying to navigate the working world with multiple barriers.

“I applied for a hundred retail jobs when I was on Job Centre and I didn’t get replies from any of them”.

The following are some of the themes that came out of the research process:

  • What jobs are you people looking for?
  • Apprenticeships
  • Barriers to becoming engaged in employment, education or training
  • Being out of work ‘too long’
  • Lack of qualifications
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Not hearing back from job applications
  • Intensity of the job search
  • Job interviews
  • Experiences of support from Jobcentre Plus
  • Types of support wanted
  • Sanctions

Each of these themes is explored and actionable recommendations are provided for future change.

“When you’re working you haven’t got time to think, but when you’ve got no job and you’re just sat there thinking and your mind starts over thinking about things, and then that makes you depressed”.

Every recommendation in the report has been suggested or approved by the young people involved. The young people also discuss the stereotypes of being a young job seeker, their care responsibilities and how they feel about their situations. 

A big thank you to Your Consortium, Big Lottery, Leeds City Region Enterprise Headstart Programme and Voluntary Action Leeds for funding this project, and the huge number of local organisations and individuals were involved in making this research happen. 

Most importantly, thank you to young people for sharing their experiences and providing these insights about their lives in Leeds.

“As young people, you want to be supported and someone having an interest in you”.


(Blog prepared by Emma Bennett who contributed to the NEET research project whilst volunteering at Voluntary Action Leeds)

Young Lives Leeds NEET Report 2015

Comments (1)

  1. Julia Preston:
    Nov 13, 2015 at 02:14 PM

    Young people have been hit harder by welfare changes and government policy than any other group. Unless you have very generous and supportive parents (which the vast majority in Flagship don't), it's hard and it's getting even harder.

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