Catch22 Chief Executive Joyce Moseley talks of her concerns for vulnerable young people in the recession and the need for a new approach to services for those in the transition to adulthood
'We know that the current public spending cuts are impacting heavily on vulnerable young people with recent statistics showing that over one million young adults aged 16 to 24 are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET).  With youth unemployment running at over 20 per cent, the highest since 1992, the future looks bleak for many young adults.
'More than ever for many young people the journey to adulthood can feel like dropping off a series of steep cliffs. This is especially the case for the more than half a million young people aged 16 to 25 who have no immediate family or wider community to help them.
'A limited support network is devastating for many young people and can result in poor housing, limited education opportunities, fewer job prospects and a greater chance of offending. The links between these factors are well established.
'Young People in Focus (2009) reports that young adults who are not in education, employment or training are estimated to be 20 times more likely to commit a crime. We know this extends to young adulthood. Statistics indicate that 29 per cent of men and eight per cent of women who had not been in education, employment or training by the age of 16 to 18 were involved in crime between the ages of 17 and 30 - three times the rate for all young adults. 
'Young adults are already over represented in the criminal justice system, accounting for 10% of the population but a third of those sentenced to prison, a third of probations case load, and a third of the economic and social costs of crime. We are likely to see a rise in this over representation if there is not a radical rethink of the policies aimed at this age group.
'At Catch22 we outlined in our Ready or Not report the need to see better coordination and organisation of existing service provision for young people in their transition to adulthood. We are not seeking any specific new services, but a different focus is needed.
The new focus needs to ensure services are designed for people aged 16 to 25 in a way that explicitly recognises their stage in life and therefore provides an appropriate response. The late teens to early twenties are a vital period of transition for young adults and need to be treated as such. Young people who lack a family and community network to support them emotionally and financially need a much better deal.'
T2A Conference 1 March 2011
The Transition 2 Adulthood Alliance has been campaigning on these ideas in recent years and held a conference to focus minds on the distinct needs of young adults. Speakers included the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools and Families, Tim Loughton MP; the social geographer, Professor Danny Dorling; Criminologist, Professor Susan McVie; and Catch22 Chief Executive Joyce Moseley and was chaired by Channel 4 News Broadcaster, Jon Snow.
 1,026,000 young people aged 16-24 who are NEET (latest figures available which are for 3rd quarter of 2010) data published 17 February 2011, http://data.gov.uk/dataset/neet-statistics-quarterly-brief-quarter-3-2010.
 Young People in Focus (2009), Young Adults Today, p.60
 Confederation of British Industry (CBI). (2008). Towards a NEET solution: Tackling Underachievement, as reported in Young People in Focus (2009), Young Adults Today, p.60.
 T2A Young Adult Manifesto (2009) p. 11.
Top of page