English, Maths & Digital

In the UK around 1 in 6 adults still struggle with reading and writing, and around 1 in 4 adults still find maths difficult.

Currently 90% of jobs need at least basic computer skills, but international research shows that around one half of adults in England and Northern Ireland lack the basic skills to effectively use computers.

English, maths, digital and other related skills are crucial for people to succeed in work, helping people find work and earn more. They also contribute to their wider lives, including increasing the likelihood of people being active in their community, and economic growth.

However, the number of adults taking English and maths courses each year has fallen significantly in recent years. At current rates, it would take decades to address the challenge of poor basic skills.

Our work is focused on how to widen access to these skills, as well as improving the range and quality of provision. We need to design new approaches that engage people and trial new approaches to delivering basic skills. We argue this requires more investment to create more opportunities to learn, and recognising these skills are inter-related and made more accessible by being contextualised and integrated.

Mapping Local Essential Skills Needs

Essential skills like literacy and numeracy are increasingly crucial for life and work, for business success, and for economic growth. Raising levels of essential skills will be key to support people back into work to tackle the ongoing recruitment crisis, and to enable the local economy to grow in order to mitigate the effects of the cost of living crisis and raise living standards.

Skills for Life Alliance

Convened by Learning and Work Institute and Holex, the Skills for Life Alliance consists of leading researchers, delivery organisations and sector specialists. It is exploring what affects participation in basic skills learning and will use these findings to help drive adult literacy, numeracy and digital skills up the agenda in England.

Multiply Effective Practice Network

The Government has recently announced Multiply, a new 3-year £560m national programme focussed on adult numeracy. Mayoral Combined Authorities and local authorities have received a share of this funding to commission and deliver Multiply activity. L&W is launching The Multiply Effective Practice Network (MEPN). The network provides a forum for all Multiply commissioners, providers and wider stakeholders with a strategic interest and expertise in adult numeracy to share experiences and learn from other areas as the Multiply programme evolves, in real time.

AE Learning

The European Adult Education Professionals learning platform