Forces literacy training 'sets an example'
07 June 2012
The intensive training provided to personnel who join the forces with poor literacy and numeracy skills sets an example other large employers should follow, according to a new report.
The Armed Forces Longitudinal Study, a three-year survey ordered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Ministry of Defence, revealed that even personnel who had poor experiences of learning at school became engaged in literacy training after joining the forces as there were high expectations of success placed on them.
Operational effectiveness at all ranks was most reliant on sound speaking and listening skills, the report said.
Literacy needs upon joining the forces were found to be greatest in the army, where 50 per cent of recruits joined with literacy below the "Level 1" standard. The report said that the larger number of foreign recruits in the army, as well as the lower number of technical trades, were responsible for the figures.
The number of personnel joining the Royal Navy or Royal Air Force below the level 1 standard was between 1 and 3 per cent.
While failures of management information systems were blamed for the inconsistent delivery and tracking of personnel's literacy and numeracy education, the training was held as "a model of national significance" which other employers could learn from.
"The armed forces all too often must recruit men and women with low levels of literacy and numeracy, and the services demonstrate how a large employer can successfully fulfil this vital professional and socioeconomic function," the report said.
"The evidence confirms the merit of continuing (selectively) to recruit entrants with low level skills, whilst expecting those of very junior rank to make use of increasingly technical equipment and assume new and more demanding responsibilities in fast-changing operational environments.
"The ability to assimilate the associated training quickly and effectively; to work with flexibility and to exercise the necessary management and decision-making skills (at times, under significant pressure) directly contributes to the services' operational capability."
Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Minister Andrew Robathan said: "This report highlights the great learning opportunities available to those in the armed forces, including the chance to improve literacy and numeracy skills. The forces also give personnel the chance to continue their education throughout their career, which often results in new qualifications, skills and interests.
"Not only are our recruits trained for operations but the skills they can learn in the three Services will mean they are well-equipped for life outside the forces too."
HAVE YOUR SAY
08 June 2012
Its a pity that defence resources (POUNDS SHILLINGS & PENCE) have to do what the national education system has failed to do!!!
Agree with opportunities to improve but having to correct basic education is horrendous!!
Norman - UK
11 June 2012
It's not just a pity, Norman, it's a disgrace.
Dave - Bristol
12 June 2012
CBI says that one third of UK firms have to do remedial literacy/numeracy training for their recruits. It's not an issue unique to the Army.
AlMiles - Bristol, UK