In our final blog post in celebration of International Literacy Week, Jo Homard, ATI Keyworker for Craven College, offered us her valuable insights into the topic.
In her current role, and her previous position as a tutor in disadvantaged Primary Schools, she has seen first hand how difficult life can be with limited literacy skills.
Why do you see literacy as important?
Jo: “Literacy is vital for communication, as it’s the ability to speak, listen, read and write effectively.”
What are the impacts of literacy skills issues that you see?
Jo: “Without these basic skills, a person will struggle in school and subsequently will either not be able to find employment, or will end up in a low paid, zero hours contract job with few prospects.
The consequence of this is that many people with poor literacy skills often develop very low self-esteem and may try and manage this by resorting to drugs and alcohol. Also, on a wider level, good literacy skills are fundamental to social mobility, as it provides an opportunity for people from deprived backgrounds to improve their life chances. ”
In an ideal world, what improvements to literacy training, resources, etc. would you ask for?
Jo: “I believe that primary school teachers need to be trained to identify hidden learning disabilities such as dyslexia, so that support can be put in place early in order to avoid the loss of dignity that poor literacy skills often create.
It would be useful if literacy support workers were affiliated to Job Centres in order to support illiterate claimants with reading job adverts and then later applying for suitable positions, as this is not something the work coaches have time to dedicate to. The Government funded Access to Work scheme needs to be more heavily promoted. This scheme is available to people in paid employment who are having difficulties with literacy related issues, but it is not widely advertised and most people are not aware it exists.”
Any final thoughts on the subject to leave with us?
Jo: “The stigma surrounding poor literacy skills needs to be removed; it’s a very common situation, but people often go to great lengths to keep it hidden from others. This is such an important issue – without strong literacy skills, people will not be able to develop strong self-worth, fulfill their potential, find suitable employment or succeed in the workplace.”
Thanks Jo for your thoughts on International Literacy Day and thank you also to all of the partners who contributed and provided us with content for this week.
It’s clear that there is more action need to be taken to help folks access appropriate support and targeted positive action can really benefit people, the community and the local economy.
- What’s your experience of providing support in a community setting?
- Maybe you know someone in need of help – what would that look like?
- Is there a need for a partnership project to make these positive changes happen?
If you’ve got an idea for a project we might be able to fund this through our current ESF Community Grants programme. Get in touch with Hannah Prole: