At a time when the nature of work, the security it offers as well as its capacity to support traditional career and social paths is uncertain, it is reassuring the Economic and Social Research Institute has reported there has been a fall in the number of people leaving education early over the last decade.
There can hardly be a more vulnerable cohort than those who have, for whatever reason, quit learning prematurely.
The report confirms the obvious saying that early leavers “face becoming more marginalised and presenting with greater levels of need”.
In reality, it is hard to think of another decision taken at such an early stage in life that can have such a long-lasting, negative impact so any scheme that might avert that possibility must have real social value.
The ESRI found that one of those — Youthreach — helped early leavers to engage with other forms of education or get a job. It also diverted some people from substance abuse or crime.
Those are the positive findings but the report also underlined they cyclical, trans-generational nature of disadvantage by recording a disproportionate number of young people from homes where unemployment is the norm or from a Traveller background did not finish their basic education.
Confronting this issue, often more a cultural one than one of capacity, this is neither cheap or easy but turning a blind eye is unwise and a bad investment decision that will inevitably create a dehumanising legacy.