From education to employment

Literacy and Numeracy Abilities Are Top Concerns Of UK Businesses

This month’s Tomlinson report has sparked a reaction from several business associations who act as the voice of many of the UK’s businesses. Many of these organizations welcomed the reforms proposed by the report, but were also left with a concern as to how effective these reforms would be in addressing the poor literacy and numeracy skills seen from many college and university graduates.

John Cridland, Deputy Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry said “Tomlinson sets out a clear vision of where he wants to get, but business will be wanting to see how the government plans to get there.” This thought was also echoed by Nick Goulding, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business who said that he would wait to be convinced about promises to improve standards of literacy and numeracy.

The lukewarm reaction from business comes from concerns that many UK businesses are forced to shoulder the burden of retraining its staff in basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as employability skills such as team working, communication and problem solving. “The development of core learning skills is of paramount importance to small firms, who often complain that young people are ill-equipped for work,” added Norman Mackel, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.

It appears that the main point of consensus coming from these organizations is the desire for change, but a guarantee that this change will be an effective and comprehensive one. It remains to be seen whether the change proposed by the Tomlinson report will prove effective for business and will reduce unnecessary re-training costs.

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