Why we need literacy development in the workplace?
Unmet literacy needs costs everyone: our society, economy and environment, financially and democratically. Recent data from the Central Statistics Office shows us that currently there are 445,800 people (aged 25-64) who have less than a QQI Level 4 qualification. These include 233,300 (52%) people who are in work along with 24,900 (6%) unemployed and 187,600 (42%) not engaged in the labour force.
Low literacy costs, strong literacy pays
The cost of low skills to the global economy is estimated at USD $1.2 trillion. A cost benefit analysis of adult literacy in Ireland (NALA, 2009) concluded that by investing in literacy there is a positive and rapid return on investment across the board, for participants, the companies they work for and for the exchequer. The report found that “expenditure on adult literacy training generates high economic returns.” It estimated that the annual income gain per person per level increase on the National Qualifications Framework was €3,810. The gain to the exchequer, in terms of reduced social welfare transfers and increased tax payments, was €1,531 per annum.
Many adults in work with unmet literacy and numeracy needs are vulnerable in their job role, don’t go for promotion and remain in low skilled work; however they would like to improve and gain confidence in these skills and potentially work towards a qualification. Changing skills needs in the workplace require employees to “build upon basic skills – such as literacy and numeracy – and to master ICT, innovation and learning how to learn in order to maintain their employability.” (Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, 2008)