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Influences on post-16 participation

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Published: May 2013

Aim

In response to the changes in post-16 education and training, we explored the factors influencing post-16 participation decisions for young people who chose to study part-time, and those who were not in education, training or employment (NEET).

Findings

The study found that post-16 participation decision making was complex and a range of factors influenced these decisions:

  • negative school experiences deterred young people from continuing in post-16 education;
  • the quality of advice and guidance influenced decision making,
  • career aspirations facilitated post-16 decisions,
  • family and friends were influential,
  • the economic climate influenced the decisions young people made,
  • and financial considerations influenced decisions for some.

Young people who chose to study part-time, did so for the  following reasons:

  • to make the workload manageable,
  • to enable them to combine work and study,
  • to accommodate personal circumstances including caring responsibilities and health concerns,
  • to reduce the financial burden by working alongside studying.

Young people who had experienced being NEET had several suggestions for interventions to help them participate post-16 including more labour market experience pre-16; earlier advice and guidance to facilitate decision making; sufficient financial support to remove financial barriers to participation and increased apprenticeship and employment opportunities.

Methodology

We conducted eighteen focus groups between September and November 2012:

  • eight focus groups were carried out with young people (aged 16-18) studying part-time in Further Education (FE) colleges;
  • and ten focus groups were carried out with young people currently, previously, or at risk of being NEET, in ten geographically spread local authorities.

Read the report