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Meet two 2020 Festival of Learning learner award ambassadors Hannah Wilkins and Karen Brooks. Hear our panellists discuss the challenge of supporting nine million adults in the UK who are held back by low basic skills. Why should we focus on adult basic skills and can doing this really enhance the employment and skills policy response to the pandemic?
Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted inequalities in health, quality of work and labour market opportunities for individuals, families and communities. Basic skills levels are key in this. People have relied on literacy, numeracy, language and basic digital skills to access essential services online, stay connected, seek health advice or work from home. But those who don’t have the opportunity, the means or the skills to do this have been disadvantaged.
Around nine million adults in the UK are held back by low basic skills. Better basic skills are vital to our national response to coronavirus, supporting a skills-led recovery and building back better to create a more inclusive and fairer society.
This year’s conference highlighted how a focus on adult basic skills can enhance the employment and skills policy response to the pandemic. As providers experiment with new ways of engaging learners and offering provision online, the conference will consider what the ‘new normal’ means for adult learners, in terms of quality and access to provision.
We explored what we know, and don’t know, about what works in adult basic skills, to help identify what more needs to be done.