Basic Skills In UK are Low

Basic Skills In UK are Low
10th Oct 2013

The basic skills of the youngest generation of workers in England and Northern Ireland are substantially behind their counterparts in many others developed nations. Reports The Recruiter

This is according to a major new study, the first ever Skills Outlook from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), looking at skills across the population of the world’s 24 most developed economies. The survey only considers adults in England and Northern Ireland, with the UK (England/Northern Ireland) ranking 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries. This is despite the fact that England and Northern Ireland come in the top three for literacy among 55-65-year-olds.

Asked about the reasons for the non-involvement of the whole of the UK, a spokesperson for the OECD tells “We invited all countries to take part and it was entirely up to them whether they did. There was a cost involved (face-to-face interviews involving an outside company) and that may be why Wales and Scotland decided not to take part.” Like, the UK, the US also ranks highly in this age group despite being among the lowest-ranked at the youngest age group. The report notes that “this is not necessarily because performance has declined in England/Northern Ireland (UK) or the US, but because it has risen so much faster in so many other countries across successive generations”. ‘Skilled for Life? Key Findings from the Survey of Adult Skills’, a 32-page summary of the 466-page full report, is available online. This contains four key points for policy in the area of putting skills to use:

•Collect timely information about demand for and supply of skills

•Create flexible labour market arrangements

•Provide quality career guidance

•Ensure that qualifications are coherent and easy to interpret

“Too many people are being left behind today,” comments OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría. “With effective education and life-long learning everyone can develop their full potential. The benefits are clear, not only for individuals, but also for societies and for the economy.” 

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