The percentage of young Spaniards between 15 and 29 not in education, employment, or training (NEETs) has decreased. According to OECD’s Education at a glance 2016, there has been a reduction from the peak 25.7%, reached in 2012, to 19.4% in 2015. Although figures indicate a clear improvement, the number of NEETs in Spain is the fourth highest among OECD countries and well above the average rate of 14.5%. This shows that there is still much work to do to increase the number of young people entering the labour market or taking up training.

According to evidence from the report Commented indicators on the status of the Spanish education system 2016, the reduction can be explained by many young people remaining in or returning to education as they cannot find jobs. The report includes statistical data, experts’ views and suggestions for improvement, such as the need to improve performance in both compulsory and upper secondary education.

OECD´s Education at a glance 2016 also highlights that education and training not only helps people advance socially, but also enter the labour market. The report shows that there is a direct relationship between educational attainment and employability. The 2014 data for Spain show that the employment rate of adults is proportional to the level of education, amounting to 40% and 57% respectively for those who completed primary and lower secondary education, 68% for those who have completed upper secondary, and 78% for bachelor graduates.  

The report shows that unemployment for 25 to 34 year-old upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary VET graduates is lower (22.9%) than for those who completed general programmes (23.8%). A similar pattern is observed across other OECD countries.

However, VET is not equally strong in all countries: in Spain, the share of 15 to 19 year‑olds enrolled in VET is lower (13%) than the OECD average (25%). The difference is also marked in apprenticeship: 7% on average in OECD countries as opposed to 0.2% in the recently implemented dual VET in Spain. Data from the Ministry of Education show that 68% of students enrolled in advanced VET in 2013/14 were 21 or over, older than the common age for this level (19 to 20 years).

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