The Government confirmed on the 6th December 2004 that it has encouraged millions of adults to return to learning
‘Since 2001, 2.4 million adults across England have taken up 4.8 million courses in literacy, language and numeracy skills. Over 750,000 of these learners have gone on to achieve nationally recognised qualifications – a commitment set out by the Government in its Skills for Life Strategy.
To mark the achievement, adult learners from across the country were invited to join the Minister for Skills and Vocational Education, Ivan Lewis, to release 750 balloons from Parliament Square. The learners were congratulated in a video message on their achievements by the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said:
“Hitting the target is only the start of the journey. For individual learners I know that gaining qualifications is not always easy. Many learners have had to overcome exceptional personal barriers and difficulties. But what I hope, above all, is for the learners who have achieved these qualifications that their experience, determination and drive has given them the foundation of skills, and the desire, to go on from here and gain further skills and qualifications – so that they can fulfil their true potential.”
Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council, responsible for ensuring the delivery of literacy, language and numeracy courses across the country, said:
“Skills are the backbone of a successful economy and a measure of a nation’s ability to survive in an increasingly competitive, global marketplace. As the Government’s primary partner in the implementation of the Skills for Life strategy, the LSC has played a key role in exceeding this target. It is a very significant achievement indeed for all concerned.
“For the individuals who have acquired these new skills, they should be very proud of their achievements. I know that, in many instances, their lives will have changed for the better. Good literacy, language and numeracy skills provide the foundations we all need in order to make the most of life and work opportunities.”
Ivan Lewis commented:
“This is a significant milestone – not only have we met our target on time, but with over two million people taking courses to improve their skills, the benefit to both individuals and society as a whole is significant.
“However, there are still too many people who are being held back in their everyday lives because of their poor literacy, language or numeracy skills. We have now increased our aspirations to help two and a quarter million adults to improve their skills by 2010.
“The message to adults across the country is that there has never been a better time to gain a qualification, with thousands of free courses available across the country. All you need to do is call 0800 100 900 to find out about how you can get rid of your gremlins and ‘get on’ in life and work.”
Among the learners attending the London events was Sally Hindley, from Southend Adult Community College, who left school at 16 without any qualifications. She had always struggled at school and spent years unable to fill in forms, or to help her children with their homework. As a full-time mother she wanted to be able to support her children, and so, after ten years of difficulties with reading and writing, went back to college. She has now gained her first literacy qualification, and is looking forward to starting a pre-GCSE course in English.
Sally Hindley said:
“Having had problems for so long I was really nervous about going back to college, but everyone’s been so supportive. I really enjoy my courses now. The thought of books used to be terrifying, but now I am beginning to read for pleasure, and would love to end up becoming a librarian, where I can put my new skills to practice. It’s not just me who has noticed the difference – my friends say my texts are now far more easy to understand, and my children encourage me too. Going on a basic skills course has opened so many new doors and I would definitely recommend anyone who needs to brush up on their literacy or numeracy skills to take advantage of the free courses on offer.”
The Get On Campaign, launched in 2001, encourages adults to return to learning to improve their literacy, language and numeracy skills. The campaign, featuring the now famous Gremlin character, has encouraged millions of adults like Sally to improve their skills. Following its success, the Gremlin has become a central feature of the campaign, with the latest phase, launched in August, encouraging people in the workplace to brush up on their literacy, numeracy and language skills and gain nationally recognised qualifications. The campaign returns to TV and radio at the end of December.’