FOLLOWING THE PUBLICATION of a new survey, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) has called on the Government to prioritise the training needs of unemployed people with literacy and numeracy difficulties.
It is well documented that those individuals are most at risk to become long-term unemployed but a new ESRI study has highlighted that they are not likely to be in any sort of government-sponsored training under the National Employment Action Plan (NEAP).
Inez Baily of the NALA said, “It is well established in research that people with weak literacy skills are more likely to be unemployed. Therefore it should follow that this issue is an important consideration in labour market policy and, in particular, activation policy.”
However, this has not always been the case and we are concerned that unemployed adults with literacy needs and those with low educational attainment are not being adequately prioritised for labour market activation. This research puts forward an argument for this to be changed.
The data from the Department of Social Protection/ESRI Profiling Project revealed that when those with literacy and/or numeracy problems do receive formal training, they benefit by much more than average. They are 29 per cent more likely to leave the Live Register, compared with 11 per cent for the full unemployment population.
The authors of the report insist that their findings show that those people with literacy and numeracy issues can be effectively activated within the mainstream NEAP system. They say that the difficulties, in themselves, do not “substantially restrict an individual’s ability to benefit from both mainstream general and medium skills training programmes”.
Welcoming the new report, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton today said it is “crucial that nobody be allowed drift without support into long term unemployment”.
She added that her department wants to engage with every unemployed person and a new personalised system is at the core of the Government’s work.