UfI chairman calls for crusade on basic skills

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "UfI chairman calls for crusade on basic skills", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 32 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ict.2000.03732bab.012



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

UfI chairman calls for crusade on basic skills

UfI chairman calls for crusade on basic skills

Keywords: Skills, Literacy, Training

The chairman of the UK government's University for Industry (UfI) initiative, Lord Ron Dearing, has called for a crusade to reduce the number of people in the UK without basic skills, calling current levels nothing short of a national scandal. The UK is currently second to bottom in Europe in the literacy league , with 23 per cent of adults with low literacy versus 7 per cent in Sweden and 12 per cent in Germany. Only Poland comes below the UK.

Lord Dearing was addressing delegates of the "Better Basic Skills" conference, held in London in November 1999 to discuss responses to the Moser Report, A Fresh Start. He told the conference that the UK has a major social and moral obligation to reduce the number of underachievers. He said: "We shall only succeed in addressing this . . . if we respond to it with all the vigour of a crusade". He welcomed the Government's response, describing it as "energetic".

He explained: "Our first contribution must be towards reducing barriers. One thousand UfI learning centres in places people go is part of the answer . . . there will be learning centres in football grounds and other major sporting venues, shopping centres and even in pubs, railway stations and in a fairground, as well as in the more conventional centres of learning."

The role of major employers - business and the public sector - was also vital. It could help draw in those who have had a "bruised experience of learning and may be deeply concerned not to expose their lack of basic skills lest it undermine their chances of holding their jobs", said Lord Dearing.

He confirmed that Basic Skills learning is one of UfI's key target areas. UfI is committed to overcoming barriers to learning, keeping people in learning and ensuring learning fits their needs. This will involve actively marketing learning "in the same way as the best exponents in the private sector", including a major advertising budget in excess of £10 million over two years.

UfI will be in full national operation by Autumn 2000. Its development plan is available on the Internet at http://www.UfIltd.co.uk/UfI. Printed copies can be ordered from: UfI, PO Box 380, Nottingham NG7 3JS, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 141 300 4924. Its public enquiry line is +44 (0) 114 224 2999.

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