Employer Involvement in Schools: A rapid review of UK and international evidence

Rebekah Wilson, Bethan Burge, Kath Smith-Crallen

03 August 2012

Research summary

This review forms one of a suite of four literature reviews that have been completed under the From Education to Employment theme. These reviews collectively identify strategies for assisting young people at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) to make effective transitions into learning or employment post 16. In 2011 one in five (22.3 per cent) young people aged 16-24 were unemployed (a total of 1.04 million). A slightly lower, but still large, proportion (19.2 per cent) of young people aged 16-24 were NEET. All four reviews build upon a large body of research on the reasons why young people are NEET, and on recent NFER research, which presented a 'segmentation' analysis identifying three discrete sub-categories of NEET young people aged 16-17.

This report explores what the best available recent research tells us about the ways in which employers engage with schools, the features and principles of successful employer involvement and the impact of employers' involvement on young people's progression. The From Education to Employment theme within The NFER Research Programme has a particular interest in young people who are 'open to learning' or 'undecided' NEETS, as there is the potential to make a substantial difference to these groups, if they can be effectively identified and supported.

Key Findings

  • 'Open to learning' NEETs - young people most likely to re-engage in education or training in the short term and with higher levels of attainment and better attitudes towards school than other NEET young people.
  • 'Sustained' NEETs - young people characterised by their negative experience of school, higher levels of truancy and exclusion, and lower academic attainment than other NEET young people. They are most likely to remain NEET in the medium term.
  • 'Undecided' NEETs - young people similar in some respects, such as their attainment levels, to those who are 'open to learning' NEET, but dissatisfied with available opportunities and their inability to access what they want to do.

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