The proportion of NEETS – that’s youngsters not working, training or studying - is rising faster here than anywhere else in the UK. So is it a short-term trend or – as some claim – a long-term structural issue rooted in generations of unemployment, a widespread lack of motivation and social disengagement?
Howard Williamson has been researching the issue of NEETs in Wales since the 1980s when, as a youth worker, he became concerned about young people dropping out of the system.
Paul Marshallsea established the Dowlais Engine House youth club after finding his 14-year-old son taking drugs over a decade ago. He believes unemployment and social boredom is at the heart of the NEET problem.
There is a whole range of initiatives designed to ease the NEET burden in Wales, including a pupil mentoring scheme run by Business in the Community, a scheme for long-term unemployed young people run by Grow Enterprise Wales, the Young Wales training scheme and Careers Wales, which is helping Laura look for work.
WALES THIS WEEK – Am I Bothered? is onITV1 tonight (Tuesday) after News At Ten