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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006, 10:31 GMT
Meet the Neets
Youths
The Neet is of great concern to the government
We have all heard of OAPs, and we've had the WASP and the YUPPY. But here's the Politics Show's guide to the latest acronym for a social phenomenon.

What is a NEET?

NEET stands for Not in Employment, Education or Training

Who are they?

Neets are young adults, typically between the ages of 16 and 24. The

government uses them as a very rough proxy for young adults facing

disadvantage - they often need extra help with housing, substance abuse, additional support for their children, more physical and mental health service support.

Why is the government bothered about them?

Government research suggests that each new NEET dropping out of education at 16 will cost taxpayers an average of 97,000 during their lifetime. The worst can cost more than 300,000 apiece.

How on earth do they cost so much?

These figures include benefits, lost tax revenue, the extra cost of health and medical services, and the costs of their criminal activity. The wider costs to society - the impact of their behaviour and poor health - may be even higher.

How many are there?

Just over 1.2 million, up from just under a million in 1998. That is one in six people between the ages of 16 and 24.

Meet an ex-neet

Lea Kennedy, 26, from Plymouth, left school at 16 with some GCSE's and moved out of home around the same time.

Lea Kennedy
The Prince's Trust helped turn Lea Kennedy's life around

She struggled to find a job and somewhere to live and life became difficult, struggling with no money. Lea then fell pregnant and found it even more difficult to find work.

Once her child reached two years old she got a part-time Saturday job and then eventually began working full-time.

However, further personal problems meant she lost her job, and after that became homeless, too.

This low was a turning point in her life and Lea joined the Prince's Trust's 12-week personal development programme - Team.

Team improved Lea's confidence and she got some order back in her life. It also enabled her to achieve six nationally recognised qualifications including a City and Guilds Team Award and a Key Skills Level 1 in Problem Solving.

She has now secured full-time employment at a local restaurant and volunteers to help on other Team programmes, and feels she has a bright future and a role to play in society.

Join Jon Sopel and guests for the Politics Show next Sunday 10 December 2006 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

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