Young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) face high risks of social exclusion. At the same time there is little systematic information about the composition of the NEET group and particular social policies that could support them in their transitions towards work or education. This article argues that policy makers and service providers need to put serious efforts in knowing who the (potential) NEETs are and what kind of support they need. Wrongly targeted interventions may result in groups of NEETs disappearing from ‘the radar’ and hamper successful school-to-work transitions. The gap between school and work is likely to become wider in volatile labour markets where flexibility is a dominant feature. This poses new challenges to older age group who have just entered the labour market. These challenges will be aggravated in the context of austerity measures in the social welfare system. The article gives detailed information about the Dutch NEET group and related policies. It demonstrates that whereas NEET rates in the Netherlands are low, Dutch policies are not always accurate. Policies especially focus on the school-age group, leaving young people who struggle to make successful first steps into the labour market, relatively unattended.
- NEETs, youth unemployment, social policy, transitional labour market