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Not earning or learning – understanding Otago youth in need

Not earning or learning – understanding Otago youth in need – Media release

19 July 2017

In the 2015 calendar year, 87,650 New Zealanders aged 15–24 years spent more time not in employment, education, or training (NEET) than they did in either education or employment, according to research conducted jointly between Stats NZ, Methodist Mission Southern, and the Ministry for Women.

Otago youth not in employment, education, or training (NEET), released today by Stats NZ, draws on data from Stats NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) and focuses on the Otago region where Methodist Mission Southern provides services to young people in need.

The research found that 2,800 young people in Otago experienced being NEET as their main activity over 2015, and that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of those young people lived in Dunedin city.

Using the IDI, the researchers were able to look more closely at areas within Dunedin that tended to have higher proportions of NEET young people such as Caversham, which had a NEET rate of 17.4 percent, and Brockville, which had a rate of 16.8 percent, compared with the overall Otago NEET rate of 8.4 percent.

“Understanding more precisely where these young people live enables us to better connect them with services that meet their needs,” Jimmy McLauchlan, business development leader, Methodist Mission Southern said.

“Being able to look across the different aspects of their lives helps us understand their circumstances, which can be complex; and to develop tailored services to create positive change in their lives. None of this is possible without integrated data.”

The research found that Otago 15–24-year-olds whose main activity was NEET in 2015 were more likely than those who were in education or employment to have:
• experienced suspension, stand-down, or truancy intervention at some stage while at secondary school
• used services or treatments for drug or alcohol abuse and/or other mental health conditions at some stage in their lives
• experienced two or more changes of address in 2015.

Nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) of 15–19-year-old mothers in Otago were NEET as a main activity in 2015. Over 2000 15–19-year-old mothers were NEET nationwide.

“Using IDI helped us consider factors related to resilience such as having a driver licence or having ever worked,” Deb Potter, principal analyst at Ministry for Women said.

“This helps us look at policy options to help support young mothers choosing to re-enter education or the workforce.”

This research was an example of successful partnership between Stats NZ, Ministry for Women, and a service provider able to make use of the results.

“Working in collaboration with NGOs, and a policy agency, has helped our team pull together the data our partners need to change these young people’s lives for the better,” Andrea Blackburn, senior manager, Integrated Data Stats NZ said.

“IDI data allows us to identify young people who have had sustained periods of being NEET, provide detailed information at regional and local area levels, and to look at many different characteristics of NEET youth to help inform the services which make a difference.”


Otago youth not in employment, education, or training (NEET): Collaborative research between Stats NZ and Methodist Mission Southern using integrated data
Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI)
Methodist Mission Southern


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