Literacy Changes Lives: NALA Conference

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

International Literacy Day fell on 8th September this year. To mark the day, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) held a conference called ‘Literacy Changes Lives’ and we were lucky enough to attend.

The morning started with some powerful testimonies from adult learners who spoke about their own personal experiences of illiteracy, and the impact that returning to education has had on them.  We heard about lives spent avoiding reading and writing, turning down jobs and other opportunities. Movingly, one man said that of all the benefits he’s experienced since learning to read, being able to help his child with their homework is the most important one.

From a business perspective we heard from Keelings and the support and guidance they put in place to help employees with low literacy rates. There is a really positive attitude of wanting everyone to succeed and the business really put their time and energy behind that, to the benefit of both the employees and the business itself.

Jason Vit from the National Literacy Trust in the UK spoke about their experiences of setting up literacy hubs in the UK and taking a wider approach to tackling literacy rates. His reporting on the links between poverty rates and cycles of illiteracy really resonated with us and the work we do with DEIS schools here.

There were some shocking and worrying statistics shared:

  • 1 in 6 adults find everyday text hard to understand (bus timetables, medical instructions)
  • 1 in 4 adults struggle with everyday maths, such as working out a bill
  • Ireland is ranked 17th place in literacy and 18th place in numeracy out of 24 countries

With our Time to Read and Time to Count programmes, we really hope to help end these cycles of illiteracy and disadvantage. We want to give every child in school the support they need to be able to read and write, to navigate the world around them and take on all opportunities that come their way. If your company would like to become involved with either of our primary school programmes, please contact sdeegan@bitc.ie

Thanks to NALA for hosting such an important and inspiring conference.

Click here to read their Literacy Changes Lives 2019 pre-budget submission.

Business in the Community Ireland

We are looking for businesses across Ireland to get involved with our Time to Read literacy programme.

Get in touch for more information: E: sdeegan@bitc.ie | Ph: 01 874 3807