That’s NEET! How Medway Youth Trust & SPSS are changing lives

Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy ~

Business Analytics is not just about increasing revenue and decreasing profit, it’s also about making the world a better place.  Today, I’m writing about the “business” of giving our most valuable resources a better start to life.

Medway Youth Trust are a charitable organisation based in Medway, UK, dedicated to helping the youth of today transition into their adult lives.  With 6.2% of 16-19 years old in Medway not in education, employment or training (NEET), they face a high risk of unemployment throughout life and reliance on government assistance.

Medway Youth Trust invested in IBM SPSS technology to address a number of concerns, primarily to help identify children at highest risk of becoming NEET in order to provide early intervention and change the course of their future.  With a combination of demographical data, coupled with unstructured text in the form of notes taking during interviews, Medway Youth Trust were able to acurately predict what a youth would do after leaving school and focus resources on those most at risk of being unemployed.

Additional insight was found in the form of uncovering key factors that influence whether a youth will become a NEET.  For example, if the youth was a teen parent it significantly influenced their unemployment risk.  Similarly, female students whose surname changed in Year 10.  These factors were taken into consideration when evaluating new programs and where to invest time and resources for greatest impact.

Without intervention, young people who are NEET are estimated to cost £13 billion cost in the form of government assistance, as well as opportunity costs of £22 billion by retirement age.(1)  These insights are not only helping to change the lives of the youths identified, but also the community as a whole.

Through advice and support for other youth charities, as well as incorporating insight from social media, Medway Youth Trust with the help of IBM SPSS are continuing to change the face of youth services and make a real difference in lives of children around the world.

~

For more information on Medway Youth Trust or to volunteer go to www.medwayyouthtrust.org.  The full case study can be found here.

(1) ‘Against the Odds’, Audit Commission, July 2010.