More than a quarter of a million young people in Canada between ages 15 and 29 are neither in employment or in education, and are therefore sometimes referred to as “NEET” youth. While some of these youth may be actively looking for employment or transitioning from school to work, as a group, they face substantial barriers to employment. Many of these barriers are due to intersecting systemic challenges the youth may experience in their physical and social environments, such as poor housing or health. There are increasing calls to move beyond the deficit-based term NEET to describe these youth, and towards using “Opportunity youth.”
This latter term suggests that without investment and supports for these young people, their potential may not be fully realized, becoming missed opportunities for themselves and for society. By improving outcomes for this population, businesses and communities have the potential to improve the quality of talent available to employers, and interrupt a multi-generational cycle of poverty for youth and their families.
Published: September 2021
Capability: Policy Research
Policy Area: Adult Learning - Literacy and Essential Skills, Employment - Employment Supports and Services, Youth Development and Inclusion
Type: Working paper