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About us > News > Basic Skills Employer Pledge reception
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal
Basic Skills Employer Pledge reception

On Monday 21st June employers from across Wales who are helping in the drive to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of their employees met with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at a joint event organised by the Basic Skills Agency and CBI Wales. At the event, employers from across the business community shared their experience of implementing the Basic Skills Agency’s Employers Pledge Award and their efforts to drive up workplace basic skills. The event took place at Holland House Hotel in Cardiff.

The Basic Skills Agency’s Employers Pledge Award aims to encourage employers to make an active commitment to improving the reading, writing and maths skills of their workforce. It is part of the National Basic Skills Strategy for Wales, which is being overseen by the Basic Skills Agency on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government. So far over 50 employers from public and private sectors have signed the Employers Pledge, ranging from a small company with just 6 employees to the largest local authority in Wales (1).

Research shows that around 28% of adults in Wales have poor literacy skills and around 32% have poor numeracy skills. About half of these adults are already in the workforce and it is estimated that this skills deficit costs the Welsh economy almost £600million a year.

Rhiannedd Pratley, Executive Director for Wales at the Basic Skills Agency said,

“If we are to ensure that Wales has the best literacy and numeracy rates in the world, then it is vital that we work with employers to help adults who have missed out on the opportunity to develop the skills they will need at work and in life in general.

“Employers who are committed to improving the literacy and numeracy skills of their workforce find that they reap the rewards not only in terms of helping their employees to grow within the company, but also in improved staff morale. That’s why we would encourage all employers across Wales to sign up to the Employers Pledge Award.”

David Rosser, Director of CBI Wales said,

“This issue is too important for employers to ignore. There are very few jobs in business where poor literacy and numeracy skills are not a hindrance, and those jobs are disappearing fast.

“Employers are willing to play their part in addressing this issue, and in helping their workforce, but need professional support. And the Welsh Assembly must ensure that school leavers entering the workforce do not add to the problem. Literacy and numeracy are skills that should be developed in school.”


Notes to Editors

1. To enter the Pledge scheme, a company’s Managing Director (or equivalent) has to sign a Pledge on behalf of their company to ‘help employees with poor basic skills to improve these basic skills’. The company then has to submit and implement an action plan, which must be approved by the Basic Skills Agency. Once a company has implemented its action plan for six months it will receive a Pledge Award. The Award is given for three years. More information about the Employers Pledge, including case studies of employers who have already signed up is available from the press office.

2. The National Basic Skills Strategy for Wales was launched in April 2001. The Welsh Assembly Government has pledged £27 million for the Strategy. The Basic Skills Agency has been asked to oversee the implementation of the National Strategy on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.

3. The CBI is the UK's foremost business organisation representing businesses of all size and across all sectors. In Wales, CBI members employ around 50% of the private sector workforce. The CBI works with government in Brussels, Westminster and Cardiff Bay to ensure that the needs of the business community are understood and acted upon.

4. The Basic Skills Agency is the national development agency for literacy and numeracy in England and Wales. We are funded primarily by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Welsh Assembly Government. Our mission is to contribute to raising standards of basic skills in England and Wales. Our aims are to develop approaches that most effectively improve standards of basic skills and disseminate good practice. Our Patron is HRH The Princess Royal, the Chairman is Garry Hawkes CBE, and the Director of the Basic Skills Agency is Alan Wells OBE.

5. We define basic skills as ‘the ability to read, write, and speak in English or Welsh and use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society in general’.

6. For further information please contact Helen Vaughan-Jones at the Basic Skills Agency on 020 7440 6512 or out of hours on 07776 132 226 or email

Article published on: 22 June 2004
Employer Pledge reception
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