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Literacy news

New OECD report highlights skills gap in the UK

27 May 2015

A report published today shows that the UK has the biggest skills gap between young people aged 16-29 who are not in education, employment or training (Neet), and those in work.

The analysis of 22 countries by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found a 12.6% gap in literacy in England and Northern Ireland, double the OECD average of 6.5%.

The 2015 OECD Skills Outlook on Youth, Skills and Employability also shows a 9.6% difference between the problem solving skills of UK Neets and young people in work.

The findings demonstrate the importance of ensuring all young people leave education with sufficient skills to succeed in the workplace. Our Words for Work programme supports teenage students to improve their literacy and employability skills. Working alongside business volunteers, the programme develops communication skills, raises career aspirations and links the classroom to the workplace.

The OECD report emphasises that the whole of society has a part to play in closing the literacy gap, which supports recommendations of the National Literacy Forum's Vision for Literacy 2025. Government, schools, businesses and parents all have a role to play in helping every young person to leave school with literacy skills needed to fulfil their potential and access employment.

The value of developing literacy skills from an early age is also highlighted in the report, with evidence showing that intervention programmes, particularly early childhood programmes, have been consistently successful in improving emotional and social skills. Our Early Words Together programme recognises the importance of laying the foundations for the development of good communication and language skills to help tackle intergenerational problems of low literacy.

Find out more about Words for Work and Early Words Together.
Read the Vision for Literacy 2025

Tags: Early Words Together, Schools & teaching, Words for Work, Young People

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