An Post is a steadfast supporter of NALA the National Adult Literacy Agency and has been right at the heart of NALA’s adult return to learning campaign for the past five years. This focus on adult reading, writing and numeracy skills is a good fit for the Company which offers a wide range of everyday services to customers from all walks of life.
The real impact of literacy difficulties among the 1.7 million Irish adults who use An Post weekly is that 25%, over 68,000 post office customers may have an issue with reading, writing or numbers – making An Post best placed to offer support.
The An Post sponsored ads focus on the positives of returning to learning, promoting the NALA confidential free phone and free text numbers. The message works, with over 1,000 helpline callers in January 2012 and more than 25% of these callers using text to get in touch with NALA. The takethefirststep.ie website is another popular way for people to get started, find courses and discover the success of others who have returned to learning.
An Post is a trusted and recognised brand in every Irish household. Pairing up with NALA to reach people who want to return to learning, brings literacy into homes – taking the stigma out of talking with family and friends.
Fran O’Neill from Ballyjamesduff, Cavan returned to education two years ago. “I left school early and didn’t have any formal qualifications. I thought about going back to education for a long time but didn’t know where to start or at what level I should begin at. I guess I lacked confidence in myself. But after contacting NALA I started on a level 2 course and since then I haven’t looked back. One course led to another and now I am in the middle of completing a full award at level 4 that includes: Communications, Maths, Computers and Woodcraft amongst others. I am already thinking about doing a level 5 course next, with a view to going on to university afterwards.
Never would I have dreamt of aspiring to such heights, but returning to education has opened up so many possibilities for me. I would encourage anyone who doesn’t believe they could do it, to give it a go. There’s absolutely nothing to lose, and so much to gain. It’s definitely one of the best decisions I ever made. I think the hardest part is picking up the phone for the first time.”
Helen Byrne is 25 years of age and says that contacting the freephone number has definitely changed her outlook on life.
“When I saw the ad, the one with the mother and child, I thought this is a great idea and now I know it is because there are thousands of people out there just like me who need help. The classes are great. What happens in the class stays in the class. We’re all friends now and meet up and text each other regularly. I never liked texting because I was embarrassed about my spellings but I feel more confident now.
In fact I thought I was the only one who couldn’t spell. Now I realise there are many like me. Even my boss noted the improvement in my spellings. She also said that my confidence has improved. I never had any confidence until I rang NALA.I’m getting a new lap-top in time for September. I’ll finally be able to join Facebook and find out what on earth my friends are talking about! I can’t thank An Post, NALA and my learning centre enough. Please pass a huge ‘thank you’ on to all your colleagues.”
The five year awareness campaign by An Post is a confidence booster to thousands of Irish adults who want to get the most from life: Be it better access to financial and other services, doing homework with the kids, paying a bill, booking a holiday or sending a card. With over 45,000 people attending free literacy classes around the country it’s an opportunity worth delivering on for An Post.
Inez Bailey, Director, National Adult Literacy Agency describes the impact of their five year relationship with the country’s postal service: “An Post’s advertising campaign has been hugely influential in encouraging thousands of people with literacy difficulties to ‘take the first step’ into adult education and get a second chance. Making the first phone call is sometimes the greatest hurdle but once people get started, they never look back.”