Northern Ireland Assembly
Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy
Northern Ireland Assembly Report NIA 60/10/11/R, Eighth Report of Session 2010-2011 - Report Together with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee Relating to the Report and the Minutes of Evidence
- Northern Ireland Assembly: Committee for Public Accounts
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The proportion of unqualified people of working age in Northern Ireland is the highest in the UK. More than a fifth have no qualifications and many showed low levels of literacy and numeracy which could harm overall economic competitiveness, 'Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NIA 60/10/11R)' reports.
Over nine years to 2010-11, Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) spent some £70 million on 'Essential Skills', its adult literacy and numeracy education programme. By July 2010, just over 83,000 people had enrolled on courses, of whom some 51,000 had gained an Essential Skills qualification. More recently, greater numbers of people have been enrolling on the programme, however, those with the lowest skill levels are yet to be brought into the system.
At the current rate of progress it could take the DEL decades to overcome Northern Ireland's literacy and numeracy deficit. While indications are that the percentage of the workforce without qualifications has been falling, it remains significant - for example, at June 2010, the figure was 22%. The DEL told the Committee that employers said they have skilled but not necessarily qualified workers. It hopes, therefore, to create a system whereby it can assess a person's skills and accredit them.
DEL currently funds some 20,000 people each year to participate in Essential Skills training. However, given the huge number of the working age population with poor literacy and numeracy skills, this level of provision appears inadequate.
|Format||Paperback||Published||24 Mar 2011|
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