The North East is outperforming every region, other than London, in terms of reaching and exceeding its adult literacy and numeracy targets
The news follows a successful campaign in the region, which saw a wide range of public bodies come together under the Get On North East banner, as the North East Skills for Life Task Force.
The region achieved 104% of its share of the national target, set in 2001, of 38,194 adults improving their literacy and numeracy by 2004. Through a taskforce-led approach to increasing both the supply of and demand for qualifications in literacy, numeracy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), there are currently 113,100 adults in the North East participating in learning to improve their reading, writing and use of numbers.
Along with the four Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in the North East, the North East Skills for Life Taskforce includes the Northern TUC, CBI, One NorthEast, DfES, Jobcentre Plus, Business in the Community and many other organisations. The Taskforce set up two sub-groups. While one group concentrated on increasing the quantity and quality of training available, the other undertook a media campaign to increase awareness of the issue and break down some of the stigma involved with having low Skills for Life.
Now that the 2004 targets have been surpassed, the LSC is working with the Regional Skills Partnership, Skills North East, toward the Skills for Life target for 2007. This sets a North East target of a further 44,034 people to improve their Skills for Life by 2007.
As was recognised when the Taskforce was initially formed, the North East Skills for Life Task Force remit needs to be reviewed on an on-going basis. Working with the Regional Skills Partnership, Skills North East, it’s recognised that Skills for Life runs through every one of Skills North East’s objectives. Skills North East will form a number of Task Group’s including one for Skills for Life. Once their remit has been agreed the Task Group can then consider what, if any, sub groups are required to do, to meet the Skills for Life Target for 2007 and fulfil Skills North East’s objectives.
Pam Eccles, Chair of the North East Skills for Life Taskforce and Executive Director of the LSC Tees Valley, said: ‘These results are very pleasing indeed, but it is only part of the challenge that has been completed. The partnership work that has been exhibited by all on the Taskforce is a benchmark for effective collaboration.
‘The North East is very well placed to continue its excellent work in Skills for Life and by working with Skills North East we can achieve even more in the future.’
Barney McGill, TUC Learning Services Co-ordinator and Joint Chair of the Stimulating Demand Group, added: ‘The Get On North East initiative has proven a success in raising the awareness of the need for better Skills for Life, as well as helping people to realise that there is no shame in needing to improve your literacy or numeracy. I hope that, through the Regional Skills Partnership, Skills North East, the good work that has been carried out under the Get On North East banner can be continued and these results built upon.’