In October 2009, the Institute of Welsh Affairs held a one-day conference, in association with the Welsh Government and Coleg Gwent, addressing the issue of young people not in education, employment or training – young people often labeled as ‘NEETs’. The 12% of 16-18 year olds, and 21.6% of 19- 24 year olds1, in Wales to whom this label is applied experience many and varied disadvantages. Indeed, the decades of policy targeted in this direction attest to the lack of a simple solution, and the NEETs agenda has come to be seen as a particularly intractable policy ‘problem’.
Nevertheless, whilst no policy yet has provided a global panacea, existing initiatives often represent a vital lifeline to the individuals they help. Together with speakers from the education sector and from government, representatives of organisations engaged in supporting young people spoke at our conference about their experiences, their successes, the barriers encountered and the challenges to come. This publication contains the contributions of a number of those speakers.