Youth unemployment policy has tended to focus on two groups: young people with low educational attainment and those with higher education who have failed to find work. However, there is a large group of middle attainers who tend to be overlooked by policy – young people who have completed second-level education but do not follow academic routes into higher education. These are the ‘missing middle’, who may be confronted with a range of challenges when trying to find alternative ways into employment, further education or training. This paper describes the middle attainers and looks at recent trends in policy from different EU countries aimed at engaging this group.
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Engaging the ‘missing middle’: Status quo, trends and good practice