Despite the increasing costs of early school leaving and failures to integrate into the adult workforce, it is still unknown what the determinants to unhealthy school-to-work transitions are.
The NEET-group (not in education, employment or training) currently consisting of 14 million youth aged 15-29 only in Europe, is at particular risk for long-term morbidity and labour force exclusion. With the recent financial crisis and steadily aging population, it is of increasing importance to guide a healthy school-to-work transition. Lacking robust knowledge on early determinants of being and becoming NEET makes it impossible to implement evidence-based prevention efforts. While the importance of both competencies and health is highlighted in existing research, several questions remain relating to entangling causal relation, and identifying potential solutions at the individual and systemic level. The existing studies are fragmented and limited by methodological shortcomings.
To move beyond this current impasse, the present multi-method proposal responds by two work packages.
WP1) A large population-based study with national registry of the entire Norwegian population using state-of-the-art methodology, such as sibling control and natural experiments to create quasi-experimental conditions. The WP focuses on health and competencies as predictors of NEET, and looks at individual (e.g. early work experience) and systemic (e.g. municipality spending and absence rules) solutions to prevent youth becoming long term NEETs.
WP2) A long-term qualitative and quantitative follow-up of a Supported Employment/Education intervention directed at vulnerable youth in high school. Thus, the findings provides valuable knowledge on the protective determinants of being NEET, as well a potential barriers and promoters to prevent being NEET.
Wendy Nilsen, research professor