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NEET Trial Services Evaluation


The Youth Service NEET (not in education, employment or training) Trial Services evaluation report was prepared for the Ministry of Social Development by Malatest International.

The evaluation of the NEET trial builds on the New Zealand Treasury Working Paper: Evaluation of the Impact of the Youth Service: NEET programme, Dixon & Crichton (2016).

The Ministry selected three providers to deliver trial services over 12 months: Kāpiti Youth Support (KYS), Vibe and the ‘In-house’ Wellington Work and Income Youth Service provider.

The evaluation aimed to gather information on two key questions during the trial:

  1. can the Youth Service provider attract and retain higher risk NEET young people by working differently?
  2. do outcomes for higher risk NEET young people improve through more intensive support by the provider? 

Data for the evaluation was collected through semi-structured interviews and group workshops with young people, whānau and caregivers identified by the providers. It also included groups discussions with provider staff, and analysis of youth coach activity diaries, client youth plan records, and provider monthly reports.

Eligibility for Youth Service NEET trial service

The trial providers assessed the level of need of young people accessing the trial services using the Ministry’s risk calculator.

Only high or very high-risk young people were eligible to take part of the trial. Although, some young people were accepted at lower risk ratings if providers identified them as high or very high-risk (some risk ratings were increased after youth coaches provided more evidence to the Ministry).

Key findings

Key findings and elements that contributed to improved engagement with education and employment include:

  1. Lower caseloads allowing youth coaches more time to work with each young person, whānau and the community. 
  2. Discretionary funding to invest in activities or purchases to engage with young people. 
  3. Group work with multiple young people increased engagement and also provided the young person to develop their interpersonal skills in a safe environment. 
  4. More time for engagement with the young person and their whānau.    

Young people in the trial have also had positive outcomes from being involved. Improved wellbeing and motivation underpinned many of the other outcomes. 

These included:

  1. Educational enrolment and achievement
  2. Employment
  3. Improvements in broader wellbeing including improved interpersonal relationships, increased independence and life skills, improved goals/expectations and improved health outcomes such as reduction in alcohol and drug use.

The NEET trial gave the three providers the opportunity to test new approaches to working intensively with NEET young people at high risk. The objective was to enable young people to transition successfully to adulthood. 

The trial supported providers to address challenges in working with high-risk young people through different approaches to implementation, lower caseloads, 

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