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Are we failing young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs)? A systematic review and meta-analysis of re-engagement interventions

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lauren Mawn, Professor Clare BambraORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: Youth comprise 40% of the world's unemployed, a status associated with adverse wellbeing and social, health,and economic costs. This systematic review and meta-analysisreview synthesises the literature on the effectiveness of interventions targeting young people not in employment, education or training (NEET).Methods: Randomised and quasi randomised trials with a concurrent or counterfactual control group and baseline equivalence are included. Cochrane collaboration tools areused to assess quality and a narrative synthesis was undertaken. The primary outcome is employment; secondary outcomes were health, earnings, welfare receipt, andeducation.Results: Eighteen trials are included (9 experimental and 9quasi experimental), sample sizes range from 32 to 54,923. Interventions include: social skills, vocational, or educational classroom-based training, counseling or one-to-one support, internships, placements, on-the-job or occupational training, financial incentives, case management, and individual support. Meta-analysis of three high-quality trialsdemonstrates a 4% (CI: 0.0 – 0.7) difference between intervention and control groups on employment. Evidence for other outcomes lacks consistency, however more intensive programs increase employment and wages over the longer term. Conclusions: There is some evidence that intensive multi-component interventions effectively decrease unemployment amongst NEETs. The quality of current evidence is limited, leaving policy makers under-served when designing and implementing new programmes, and a vulnerable population neglected. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42014007535

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mawn L, Oliver EJ, Ahkter N, Bambra C, Torgerson C, Bridle C, Stain HJ

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Systematic Reviews

Year: 2017

Volume: 6

Online publication date: 25/01/2017

Acceptance date: 07/12/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2046-4053

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s13643-016-0394-2