Literacy and numeracy problems put jobs out of reach

adults may be putting their chances of finding a job at risk due to poor
reading, writing and numeracy skills, research finds.

to the Department for Education and Skills’ ‘Get On’ campaign, 28 per cent of
adults could not read a train timetable well enough to work out what train they
needed to catch to be on time for a potential job interview.

more worrying was the fact that one in 10 adults could not spell the word
‘apply’ in the sentence ‘I want to apply for this job’, and 12 per cent could
not spell the word ‘writing’ in the sentence ‘I am writing to you about the

Lewis, Minister for Young People and Adult Skills, said of the findings:
"Many people who struggle with reading, writing or numeracy think they can
get by with no-one noticing, but these statistics show how much these problems
can affect their lives.

addition, poor basic skills cost UK businesses nearly £5bn a year, and the UK
economy as a whole £10bn per year.”

‘Get On’ campaign aims to raise awareness of adult basic skills issues and
encourage people with numeracy and literacy problems to sign up for

key part of the Government’s Skills for Life strategy, launched in March 2001,
the campaign aims to raise skills levels in 750,000 adults by 2004, with a
target of 1.5 million adults by 2007. 

By Ben Willmott

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