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EGFSN Statement on the publication of PIACC 2012

Date: 08 October 2013 

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs today noted the results of a new major international survey which found that Ireland is making progress in fostering adult literacy. PIACC 2012, an OECD study performed by the CSO for Ireland, found that fewer adults are scoring at lower levels for literacy skills than the previous study undertaken in 1990s. Ireland is one of only five countries in the study to have improved literacy skills. However, overall Irish adults were found to be below average in literacy, ranking 17th out of 24 participating countries.

The survey also found a weaker performance in terms of numeracy with Ireland's performance below average.

"Our improving literacy skills are to be warmly welcomed however Ireland needs to build on these improvements and further concentrate on our weaker numeracy skills which are so vital for employablity. Ensuring people with the right skills at every level, including basic skills like literacy, digital literacy and numeracy, are available to enterprise, is critical for economic development and job creation,” said Una Halligan, Chairperson, Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) today on the launch of the OECD PIAAC Report.

“The EGFSN has highlighted the importance of ensuring that we up-skill individuals with low levels of education as skills requirements for entry level positions are rising. Those employees with lower level skills are particularly vulnerable to unemployment. Individuals who do not have the basic literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills will struggle with adapting to changing work practices and new technologies and will find it difficult to develop transferable skills,” commented Una Halligan.

This issue was highlighted in its recent report, Future skills requirements of the manufacturing sector to 2020. There are 206,000 people employed in the highly diverse manufacturing sector. Sixteen per-cent of the total sector (33,000) have lower secondary education or less (similar to the national average of 15%) while the Food & Beverage Sector has 21% of its employees with low levels of educational attainment.

“I would encourage people to consider the free career progression opportunities for employees that are available through the VEC Skills for Work Initiative, the wider VEC basic skills provision and online literacy and numeracy improvement courses available on,” said Halligan.



Publication:OECD PIACC 2012 International Report 

Publication: CSO PIACC 2012 National Report