Robert Nurden of The Network writes on the current state of play in workplace Skills for Life and the challenges and opportunities it faces in the future
‘For years the issue of adult literacy and numeracy has been one of the thorniest in all education. It has been more of a taboo subject than almost any other. After all, grown-ups should be able to read, write and do simple mathematics. Those with difficulties have devised complex strategies to deal with it. And those who recognise these skill shortages in others have often been reluctant to act.
But in recent years there has, thankfully, been a more open attitude. Reading and writing campaigns by various national organisations have brought the issue into the public arena. Connections have been made between poor LLN skills and below-par performance in the workplace. Added to which has gone an appreciation that today’s workplace is changing so rapidly that what amounts to being literate one year is not necessarily so the next.
There is, then, a far wider appreciation of the issue. But has that been accompanied by appropriate practical action? Have all the schemes and measures – from central government to the smallest private training organisation – brought about the much-trumpeted changes? Does the performance measure up to the fine sentiments? Just what, in other words, is the state of play in literacy and numeracy and in Skills for Life generally?’
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