Researching NEET youth in Ontario
December 2017 – September 2018
Many Ontario youth are not in employment, education, or training (NEET), with little research existing on their needs, perspectives and challenges, or on the associated costs. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services engaged Blueprint to design and undertake a ‘Made in Ontario’ research project on NEET youth to help inform the development of policy and programs to serve this population.
Our project addressed five research questions:
- Who are Ontario’s NEET youth?
- What is the fiscal impact of NEET youth in Ontario?
- What are the needs and experiences of NEET youth?
- What factors contribute to being NEET?
- What are the implications for decision-makers?
To address these questions, we used multiple lines of inquiry, including analysis of Statistics Canada surveys and government administrative data, fielding a survey of over 900 NEET youth, and running focus groups with youth-serving agencies. We partnered with United Way Greater Toronto to engage community agencies in the focus groups and administer the youth survey.
Our research demonstrated that while the majority of NEET youth are motivated and ready to work, many need better access to opportunities and supports in order to pursue their goals. Our research concluded that investing in evidence-informed policies and programs that help NEET youth meet their goals will unlock their untapped social and economic potential, reduce the fiscal burden of downstream costs associated with the consequences of being NEET, and ultimately contribute to building a more skilled, sustainable, and productive workforce.