The number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the last three months of 2011 increased on figures for 2010.

Latest data, released today by the Department for Education (DfE), shows the proportion of 16-18 year-olds classified as being NEET increased by one per cent to 9.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011 (178,000), compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 (162,000).

Meanwhile, the proportion of 19-24-year-old NEETs decreased by 0.1 per cent in the same time period – but the figure rose from 777,000 to 780,000.

Finally, the proportion for 16-24-year-old NEETs increased by 0.3 per cent –  from 939,000 to 958,000.

The government has pledged to reduce the statistics with a range of new measures.

A spokesperson said: “The number of young people who are not in education, employment or training has been too high for too long – we are determined to bring the numbers down.

“We are investing almost £1 billion extra over the next three years in supporting 16-24 year olds into education, training and work.

“Earlier this week, we launched a pioneering new scheme, targeting funding through our most experienced charities and businesses to help disengaged 16-17 year olds back into learning or employment.

“We are making sure that young people have the skills they need to get ready for work – creating the biggest apprenticeships programme our country has ever seen and overhauling vocational education, so all employers can be confident about the rigour of our qualifications.

“We are driving up standards right across the school system so that all young people, whatever their background, have the chance to succeed.

“Through the Pupil Premium, worth £2.5 billion by 2015, we are targeting funding at disadvantaged pupils, so that schools have the money they need to make a difference.”

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