NEET means Not in Education, Employment or Training.

It’s a term used to describe young people who have dropped out of education before the age of 18 without having an Apprenticeship, Traineeship or similar.

Typically, it describes those who have stopped going to school or college mid-year and with few or no qualifications.



There are many reasons why a young person may have left – or be planning to leave – school or college, but if you are under 18, the law is quite clear about what you should be doing* because the Government wants to give all young people the opportunity to develop the skills they need for adult life and to achieve their full potential.

You can leave full-time education on the last Friday in June of Year 11 – as long as you will have turned 16 before the end of the summer holidays. Before then, you need to be full-time in a classroom.

And after that last Friday in June, you have to be doing one of the following – until your 18th birthday. Then you are free to choose for yourself.

So, until you are 18, the law says that your choice is:

And after that last Friday in June in Year 11, your other options are:

* It is slightly different outside England. If relevant to you, read more here.



If you leave full-time education before the age of 18, the local council will want to know where you are and what you’re doing. If you’re not pursuing one of the above options, they can help point you towards the support you need to get started.

As well as the Colleges and Apprenticeship training companies, there are specialist youth organisations that can usually help you with work-readiness skills such as time-keeping, job searching, CVs, Applications and Interview techniques – often providing individual mentoring support as well.

Some will also be able to help you to get your Functional Skills in Maths and English if needed.

Below are examples of organisations that support local young people. Why not take a look and see if you can find something that feels right for you?

2nd Chance Group
Creative Youth Network
HWV – The Gatehouse (A2A)
Learning Partnership West (LPW)
Make it Mentoring
Military Preparation College (Bristol)
National Careers Service
The Learning Curve
The Park, Knowle
The Prince’s Trust
Southern Brooks
Southmead Youth Centre
Team North Somerset
WECIL (Disability)
West of England Careers
West of England Works
Youth Education Service (YES), Bristol
Youth Education Service (YES), North Somerset

And why not explore Careersnearhere.com as there are local adverts on the noticeboards in the relevant career sectors:

  • Inspiration noticeboards – e.g. inspirational workshops and events
  • Experience noticeboards – e.g. volunteering or work experience
  • Apprenticeships noticeboards – e.g. relevant local traineeships

They’re usually on this page as well – Employability & Reducing Barriers



There’s lots more information on the .Gov website. Take a look under headings such as the minimum ages children can work and know when you can leave school.

And on Careersnearhere.com, we’ve got helpful summaries at the bottom of every page. Read more:

It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started!


Read more in our searchable Blog articles


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