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Employers to be encouraged to focus on basic skills

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Money from the Learning and Skills Council will target England’s seven million adults who cannot read and write at the level expected of 11-year-olds. Of the £15.5 million, £9 million is for general capacity building, £5 million is specifically for employer engagement, £1 million is for national projects and 1/2 million will fund pilot projects.

The fund will go toward meeting the LSC’s target to help 750,000 adults improve literacy, language and numeracy skills by 2004.

John Harwood, Chief Executive of the LSC, said:
"The need to improve the nation’s basic skills is becoming more urgent as time goes by and new technology increases the need for our workforce to be able to read, write and use numbers. This money will go straight into communities to tackle the problem.

"The cost of poor literacy and numeracy to people’s personal lives is incalculable. Without these basic skills, people earn an average of £50,000 less over their working lives. They, and their children, risk being cut off from the advantages of a world increasingly linked through information technology."

The money will help local LSCs make the objectives of their recently developed Basic Skills Delivery Plans a reality. As the local plans developed this year, it had become evident that further resources were needed to improve the ability of basic skills providers to meet local targets.

Each local LSC will decide how to spend their portion of the fund, which has been distributed according to each area’s current population and trends.

Programmes developed using the fund will promote the idea to employers of improving the basic skills of their staff and will help providers meet the extra demand.

The LSC expects to invest over £300 million in 2002/03 in basic skills learning for adults.


How can training and HR managers engage more with the improvement of basic skills? Post your comments below.

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