Number of Welsh school-leavers known to be NEET at six-year low

The number of Welsh school-leavers who are known to be NEET is at a six-year low, according to new research published today by Careers Wales. 

The careers advice body’s annual ‘Destinations’ survey of 56,404 school leavers from Years 11, 12 and 13 in 2017 shows a substantial drop in those shown to be NEET; from 4% in 2012 to 1.7% in 2017, a 2.3% decrease.

In numerical terms, this represents a drop from 2,580 in 2012, to 940 in (2017).  

Careers Wales reports the decrease is in part due the continued success of targeted partnership working, including working closely with schools, colleges, work-based learning providers and Engagement and Progression Coordinators (EPCs) in every local authority with the aim of supporting all 16-18 year-old school-leavers to make a successful transition into education, employment and training at the end of their time in school.

Among the other key findings of the report is that, for the second year running, college has overtaken school as the most popular choice for Year 11 leavers, by 7% (53.5% compared with 46.5%). This has further widened the gap between those choosing college over school. . 

In 2016 the split was much narrower; 49% (school) versus 51% (college).

In addition, the percentage of the total Year 13 cohort going on to Higher Education (university) has increased from 62.4% in 2016 to 63.4% in 2017.

Careers Wales’ annual Destinations survey provides a snapshot of pupil destinations on 31st October each year. It aims to inform careers advice work, as well as aid partners involved in planning learning and training opportunities.

Careers Wales Director of Clients Services, Shirley Rogers, said: “We welcome today’s figures, which show that, through working in partnership with schools, colleges, work based learning providers and Local Authorities to support pupils through key transition points we are seeing improvements year-on-year."

“Reducing the number of school leavers who become NEET to below 2% demonstrates real progress in this area."

“Similarly, the destinations data reports other interesting trends, including the number of pupils opting to go straight into the workplace increasing to 8.6%, as well as an increase in Year 13s opting for university, and more Year 11 pupils  choosing to go to college ,rather than stay in school sixth form, than ever before."

“The outcome of the survey underlines the importance of impartial careers information, advice and guidance to help inform young people make informed decisions at 16,17 and 18 and the role Careers Wales plays in supporting those decisions.”

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “he drop in the number of young people who are NEET is very encouraging and is testament to the excellent work being done by all involved to ensure young people have options available to them and the best possible advice when they leave school."

“However, there is still more work to be done and this is why reducing the number of young people who are NEET, by providing them with targeted support, is a key element of our Employability Plan which we launched earlier this year.”



The detailed findings of the survey show the following:

Year 11 – sample size of 30,811 pupils

 Remaining in full-time education remains the most popular route across the 6-year period

  • In 2017, a greater of Year 11 leavers chose to remain in full-time education at an FE institution (college) over school 53.5% compared with 46.5% 
  • Females were more likely to continue to Year 12 in school (49.6% to 43.5% respectively), and males were more likely to continue to Year 12 in college (56.5% male, 50.4% female) 
  • The percentage of those entering work-based training in ‘employed’ status in 2017 is up to 1.7% from 1.3% - the highest figure over the six-year period 

Year 12 – sample size of 13,857 pupils

  • 90.8% male year 12 students stayed in full time education
  • 93.4% female year 12 students stayed in full time education 
  • The percentage of those entering work based training– employed status in 2017 (0.8%) increased slightly from 2016 (0.7%) and is exactly the same as it was in 2012. 

Year 13 – sample size of 11, 736 pupils

  • The percentage of the total Year 13 cohort going on to Higher Education (university) has increased from 62.4% in 2016 to 63.4% in 2017
  • Of this number, 75.6% males continued to university, and 82.9% females 
  • Compared with 2016, there has been a decrease in number Year 13s taking gap years (1.3% in 2016, 0.6% in 2017) 

Figures for the three-year group cohort

  • Continuing in full time education continues to be the most popular choice of destination for pupils across the three year groups 
  • The percentage of school leavers entering the labour market across all three years rose from 8.2% in 2016 to 8.6% in 2017
  • Entering the labour market (either training in the workplace or employment) was a more popular choice with males than females across all 3 cohorts in 2017


Method: The destinations survey captures the status of young people on a given date, 31st October each year, offering a snapshot of their destinations across three year groups. In 2017, the breakdown across the year groups was the following:

Year: 11: 30,811 pupils

Year 12: 13,857 pupils 

Year 13: 11,736 pupils 


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Pupil Destinations from Schools in Wales 2018

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