For many years, government policy has associated young people `being NEET' (Not in Education, Employment or Training) with educational underachievement, worklessness, generational poverty, poor health, antisocial behaviour, and reduced life expectancies. Researchers and policymakers continue to debate whether young people become NEET as a result of their own choices (i.e. their personal agency), or as a result of external factors (i.e. social, political and economic structures). Most recognise that the truth is somewhere between the two, but a clear understanding of how each interacts in causing young people to become NEET has so far been elusive, making the development of effective policy and practice problematic. Agency, Structure and the NEET Policy Problem makes headway against this problem through an original approach that draws on social cognitive theory and the lived experiences of young people themselves.
Investigating the lives of NEET young people between the ages of 17-21 in London, this book elucidates the interactions between agency and structure that lead to them becoming NEET, and in doing so, offers a new perspective on the phenomenon. It offers a valuable critique of existing policy, providing both breadth and detail on the factors affecting the trajectories of young people in their transitions to continued education, training, or employment. It offers a way forward for all who are interested in developing, supporting and implementing a revitalised approach to NEET policy and practice, and a framework around which a coherent multidisciplinary approach to addressing NEET could be developed.
Ian Thurlby-Campbell works professionally in the design and delivery of outsourced public services. He received his EdD in International Education Leadership and Management from the University of Lincoln, UK. Leslie Bell is Emeritus Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Lincoln, UK.
1. How to Treat NEET: The NEET Policy Problem 2. NEET's `Black Box': Why Developing Effective NEET Policy is Difficult 3. Finding a Better Lens: A Fresh Approach to Analysing NEET 4. Opening the `Black Box': A Methodology for Empirical Investigation 5. Structure, Agency and Lived Experiences within NEET's `Black Box' 6. Secret Agency: The Four Core Features of Personal Agency within the NEET `Black Box' 7. Inside the `Black Box': An Empirical Model, and the Implications for Policy, Praxis and Research 8. The `Black Box' and Beyond: Conclusions and a Way Forward References Index