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DfES continues to push basic skills agenda


The DfES is drawing attention to the problems encountered by jobseekers with poor literacy and numeracy.

The 'Get On' campaign found that 28% of adults - as many as ten and a half million people in England alone - could not read a train timetable well enough to work out what train they needed to catch to be on time for a potential job interview. Even more worryingly, one in ten adults could not spell the word "apply" in the sentence "I want to apply for this job" correctly, and 12% could not spell the word "writing" in the sentence "I am writing to you about the vacancy".

Ivan Lewis, Minister for Young People and Adult Skills, said of the findings: "Many people who struggle with reading, writing or numeracy think that they can get by with no-one noticing, but these statistics show how much these problems can affect their lives. Up to 3.5 million UK workers have reading, writing and maths difficulties, which can pose real problems for people wanting to progress up the career ladder. In addition, poor basic skills cost UK businesses nearly £5 billion per year, and the UK economy as a whole £10 billion per year."

The 'Get On' campaign aims to raise awareness of adult basic skills issues and encourage people with numeracy and literacy problems to sign up for training which can help them. The campaign aims to raise skills levels in 750,000 adults by 2004 and of 1.5 million adults in total by 2007. From April 2001 to June 2002, 249,000 adults demonstrated their improved skills by achieving a national award, and over one million basic skills courses were started by learners keen to 'Get On'."

Is the government's concentration on Basic Skills right? Do you address basic skills needs in your organisation? Tell us about it. Post your comments below.


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