It’s a horrible acronym. If you’ve not heard of it before, it stands for not in education, employment or training, and applies predominately to young people aged between 16-18 or older now that education, or a pathway consisting of ‘opportunities ‘ is meant to exist for young people at that age, to prevent being NEET. A reason it’s a horrible term is that it places the emphasis on what a young person is deficient of and also pits them at fault/responsible for the situation. In a way, it’s easier to blame a young person if the state has run out of options. Especially if those options are subject to cut backs. In Scotland they use ‘more choices, more chances’ instead of NEET, which is better.
However, I wonder if there are more accurate ways of using the NEET acronym to describe the situation young people can face, growing up in society today and in eras previously.
1. Never Ever Expected To succeed. Ok artistic licences. NEET can become NEETS as a collectives fairly easily. Often with data, with knowledge of background and poverty stats, a young persons chances are inhibited by whether it is expected that they will succeed in them.
2. Neglected, Excluded Every Time. From decision making in society. Young people out of the care system hidden from view. Young people excluded from being autonomous about their treatment.
3. Not Empowered Encouraged or Tried. They have been given little in the way of space or place to be encouraged, to try and do and use their gifts and talents. Only fitting to existing structures. They usually have more and desire to contribute more.
4 . News Expects Eventual Trouble. spot the young person in the news, spot the plight they are in or a narrative of them of fear, and blame for the ills of society. Shame there’s no M in Neet as I can’t use Millenial. Moral panics written about young people by adult news media is at least consistent.
5. Need of Empathy, Equality and Time. In a society of rushing and cut backs. What we all need is to create society where children and young people are listened to empathised with, listened to, given an equal opportunity (not derived by address/poverty/duagnosis) to flourish. And all this takes time. But its an idealistic dream for the future.
6.New experts on ever-changing Technology. A positive one to end with. But young peoples expertise on technology is barely affirmed. They are the early adopters of it . But its often accompanied by moral panic.
Maybe young people are NEET after all. But Neet in a way that reflects the situation they find themselves. Often with limited fault of their own. Navigating through a world set before them trying to make sense of all. With a judgement not far away.