EARLY identification, INDIVIDUALIZED targeting and TAILORED intervention for young people at risk of NEET – flexible pathways and an effective methodology for the transition into the labor market

Problem situation

Youth who are not in education, employment or training (NEETS) are considered to be one of the most problematic groups in the context of youth unemployment. According to a Eurostat study, in 2011, 7.5 million young people aged 15–24 and an additional 6.5 million young people aged 25–29 were excluded from the labor market as well as from education in Europe. This corresponded to a significant increase in the NEETs rate: in 2008, the figure stood at 11% of 15–24-year-olds and 17% of 25–29-year-olds; by 2011 these rates had increased to 13% and 20% respectively. There is also a huge variation between Member States, with rates varying from below 7% (Luxembourg and the Netherlands) to above 17% (Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy and Spain), the latter being a consequence of the crisis, but also structural problems in the transformation of economy and societies. A number of good practices of combating exclusion exist in the member states of the EU, but often efforts are isolated and uncoordinated.

It is a shared insight that relevant actors must network and cooperate, but practice often lags behind this insight.

Resources are limited. Therefore an early identification of potential NEETS is crucial in order to act preventively and in a targeted way against youth becoming NEETS, but screening systems are not a matter of course.

Lastly interventions also exist, but they have shown to be to a high degree “one size fits all” measures, not sufficiently tailored to the specific needs of individual youth.

What did the project do?

The project combined the development of an effective methodology to identify young people at risk of being NEET, an innovative intervention drawing on existing good practice piloted in PT, IT and ES to prevent young people with such characteristics from becoming NEET, and an impact analysis to measure the outcomes of these pilots at the regional and national level. While combining these three elements, the project aims to develop an effective front-end strategy to address the NEET issue within the EU, by focusing on prevention rather than remedial action and supporting a “smoother” transition of potential NEETs from the general education and VET system to work or appropriate further education.

Target group

The project activities were focused on two main target groups:

  • Students or trainees from (15 to 24) in the schools or in the training system, ending their compulsory education but being at risk of becoming NEETs
  • Persons not in the school or in the training system (as well as unemployed persons) ranging from 15 to 24 years

Other target groups included: VET providers/schools, employment services/counselors, education and training system policy representatives, enterprises and social partners, local or regional authorities with VET and employment responsibilities, families and community.

Main products

The products developed were:

  • A guideline for EARLY identification of young people at risk of NEET and identification of possible preventive intervention measures taking into account local specifics
  • A Methodology of INDIVIDUALIZED targeting and TAILORED intervention for young people at risk of NEET
  • A Guide "Model for EARLY identification, INDIVIDUALIZED targeting and TAILORED intervention for young people at risk of NEET" which will summarize the previous project outputs, including the testing results and well as the impact analysis results in relation to the target groups
  • An Impact Evaluation Study
  • A Usability Evaluation Report


How was the project useful to the target group?

This project aimed to address the NEET phenomenon using a preventive rather than remedial model by identifying those young people in different European countries at risk of becoming NEET and targeting provision at them to provide pathways to further education and training and contact with the labor market.

The project focused on developing interventions which identified potential NEETs EARLY ON, by identifying typical risk patterns, addressing the INDIVIDUAL needs of such learners and exposing them to suitable work-based environments, and elaboration with them TAILORED and FLEXIBLE pathways to further education, training or work.

The intervention aimed to achieve this by encouraging companies to become active and competent contributors to the integration of NEETs and by combining best practices from Europe in a way that will constitute not a singular intervention, but a systemic pathway for integration.

Programs aimed at preparing young people for the world of work are often not sufficiently responsive to recent changes in the labor market and changing skills needs, therefore the project aimed to overcome this also by involving employers and other social partners in career guidance and in the provision of work experience opportunities.

What was ISOB’s role?

ISOB GmbH was responsible for the Project Quality Assurance and Evaluation.

Project Partners:

Promoter: CECOA Centro de Formação Profissional para o Comércio e Afins, Portugal

Germany:   ISOB Institut für Sozialwissenschaftliche Beratung GmbH Regensburg

Italy:          CVT Fondazione Centro Produttività Veneto

Portugal:    CEPCEP Universidade Catolica Portugesa

                 Junta de Freguesia de Alcântara

Spain:        FMA Fundación Metal Asturias

UK:           Tavistock Institute of Human Relations


Alexander Krauß: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Duration of Project: 01. November 2014 - 31. October 2017


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Funding: The project was funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme Erasmus Plus-Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training.