Report identifies benefits of literacy training for jobless


UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE with literacy and numeracy problems who receive targeted training are almost three times more likely to move out of unemployment within a year than other unemployed people receiving the same training, research published this morning indicates.

The ESRI report, Literacy, Numeracy and Activation among the Unemployed, which was commissioned by the National Adult Literacy Association (Nala), will be published by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton.

It finds that although this group is furthest away from the labour market, there are no targeted responses to the group.

This is wrong not only from a social justice perspective but also from an economic efficiency one, according to Nala director Inez Bailey.

Up to now there has been no research on the experiences of unemployed people with literacy and/or numeracy problems. Today’s report amalgamates data from 2006 to 2008 from the Department of Social Family Affairs, the live register and FÁS.

Though the social context has changed dramatically, “we do not expect the profiles of claimants with literacy and/or numeracy problems to have changed dramatically”, say the authors.

Overall, 7 per cent of those who registered a new unemployment claim in the period indicated having a literacy and/or numeracy problem, with the rate far higher among males (8.9 per cent) than females (4.2 per cent).

The highest rates (8.9 per cent) were among the 18-24 age group and lowest (4.6 per cent) among those aged 55 and over.

Newly registered unemployed men with literacy and/or numeracy problems were 7.6 per cent less likely to have moved off the Live Register after 12 months than the general claimant population, and females were 7.3 per cent less likely.