A million adults who received free training under the government’s Skills for Life programme have now gained their first national qualification in Maths or English.
The Skills for Life strategy was launched in 2001 to tackle poor literacy, language and numeracy skills among adults in England. It featured a high-profile advertising campaign asking people to ‘tackle your Gremlins’.
The Skills for Life National Needs and Impact Survey of Literacy, Numeracy and IT Skills, published in October 2003, estimated that 5.2 million adults in England, aged 16-65, had literacy levels below NVQ Level 1, and 14.9 million had numeracy skills below this level.
Minister for education, Ruth Kelly, said that before the programme began there had been little awareness of the basic skills issue.
Speaking to the national Skills for Life conference in York, she said: “There was a stigma around admitting problems in literacy and numeracy and many people – employees, jobseekers, ex-offenders – were often left to fend for themselves.