Campaign uses real-life stories to encourage people to return to education

Half a million people find reading, writing and simple maths difficult. A new campaign will show them how to do something about it.

Ciara Farrell

Reporter:

Ciara Farrell

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Campaign uses real-life stories to encourage people to return to education

A public information campaign to help people who have difficulty with reading, writing, maths or technology starts today.
The radio and video advertising campaign called 'Take the First Step' will tell the stories of several people who have struggled with literacy and numeracy throughout their lives — until they did something about it. Each person’s story focuses on what they have gained from facing up to their problems and returning to education.

The organisers hope it will encourage others to contact the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) for information on courses. You can watch the campaign here.


The most recent OECD Survey of Adult Skills[i]showed that 550,000 Irish adults are at or below level 1 on a five-level literacy scale. Even more Irish adults — 750,000 — are at or below level 1 for numeracy.


All of these people may find it difficult to:

- fill in an application form
- add up a bill
- search the web for information
- find their way through roads, hospitals or airports where you need to read signs
- help children with homework
- understand the instructions on medicines

The survey showed that people with the lowest skill levels risk being trapped in a situation in which they rarely benefit from adult education, and their skills remain weak or deteriorate over time.
They are also more likely to report poor health and to believe that they have little impact on political processes.
“Often people who return to education say the hardest part was making the first call or taking the first step into an Adult Education Centre. 

“We want to get them to make that first call. We want to encourage them to take the first step to get the help they need. We want people to know they are not alone and there are lots of options to suit their needs,” said Inez Bailey, NALA CEO.
The Take the first step campaign is managed by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and SOLAS, the State Further Education and Training Authority, with support from Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI). Adult Literacy is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.