Essential & life skills

What skills and capabilities do people need for life and work in the 21st century?


How can we encourage more adults to improve their essential skills?

Literacy, numeracy, digital, financial capability, health literacy and citizenship are central to people’s job and career prospects and ability to be active and engaged in their communities.

The Coronavirus pandemic highlights that people who don’t have good essential skills are likely to face difficulties in finding and sustaining jobs.  Without digital skills they are at risk of exclusion from essential public services and social interactions which now take place online, including everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, catching up with friends and family, and accessing non-emergency healthcare such as GP appointments.

Far too many people do not have the skills they need. More than nine million adults across the UK have low literacy or numeracy. The 2010 adult skills survey, the latest data for Wales, found that 12% of working-age people, some 216,000, had literacy skills below level 1. Around 50% of adults, some 918,000, had numeracy skills below level 1.  Digital Communities Wales suggests that 10% of adults in Wales are not online, missing out on opportunities to save money, find work, learn skills and access important services.

Our work is focused on building more knowledge of the current needs of adults in literacy, numeracy and digital skills. Identifying the benefits of building essential skills, understanding how to engage adults in learning and exploring the most effective ways of delivering essential skills learning.

Find out more about our work on Essential and life skills

Want to know more?

For further information about our essential and life skills work or to talk to us about how you can get involved, contact: Kay Smith, Head of Campaigns, Development and Policy
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