Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 11th September 2013.

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Photo of Oliver Colvile Oliver Colvile Conservative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what strategy the Government has to improve adult literacy in (a) deprived areas and (b) Devonport to ensure that people in such areas are better prepared for employment.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills

It is the Government's priority to ensure that all adults throughout England have the basic skills they need to find and sustain employment. In “Skills for Sustainable Growth” (2010) the Government set out that it will fully fund learning for adults to improve their English (and maths skills). In “Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills” (April 2013) we affirmed that we will maintain entitlements to fully funded English (and maths) provision that supports progression to the standard of a good GCSE (A*-C) for all adult learners.

To ensure that individuals are developing the right level of literacy skills needed for employment, we are embedding effective literacy provision within our major skills interventions. Our recently developed Traineeships programme for young people puts English and maths at its core, alongside work preparation and work experience. We have also increased the expectations for English within apprenticeships. From 2014/15 all intermediate apprentices will be required to work towards achieving a level 2 in English, ensuring that all apprentices have literacy skills and qualifications that are widely recognised and valued by employers and others.

As a further commitment to this agenda, the Government are taking steps to improve standards within the further education system. From the academic year 2013/14; grants of £9000 will be offered to graduates teaching English to encourage them to teach in further education colleges. These bursaries will help us recruit the brightest and best teachers so we can improve standards and provide people with the basic skills they need for a rewarding career.

Through community learning, we also support courses aimed at improving literacy for families and individuals who are most disadvantaged and furthest from learning.

Final data for the 2011/12 academic year shows that there were 2,080 adult (19+) learners participating on a Skills for Life English course in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport parliamentary constituency, up by 13.9% on 2010/11.

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