Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Report on the inquiry into young NEETs

Employment committee chairperson Dolores Kelly told the assembly that youth unemployment costs £250 million per year, on 18 January 2011.

Ms Kelly was referring to the report on the inquiry into young people (16-24) who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) and said it was one of the most significant committee inquiries taken in this mandate.

She explained that the inquiry was set up to discover who those NEETs are, how they have got into this situation and how they can be helped. She said that young people who are NEETs can have a knock-on effect on crime, suicide and the health service.

The DUP's Robin Newton said that Northern Ireland had the highest level of economic inactivity anywhere in the UK. He highlighted school leavers with few qualifications, those living in a household of long-term poverty or having a disability as the main issues leading to young people becoming NEETs.

Basil McCrea of the UUP said his concern was finding the money to tackle the issue, and that not everyone needed help as this group included those taking university gap years.

The SDLP's Pat Ramsey said rural issues such as transport, broadband and childcare were some of the issues raised by young people themselves.

Employment Minister Danny Kenney said officials had already begun work with other departments and stakeholder groups for a strategy which would align with the recommendations of the report.

Support for the motion also came from Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party and it was passed on an oral vote.

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