Armed Forces praised for literacy and numeracy training

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A report out this week shows that the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force have put numeracy and literacy skills at the heart of their development programme for new recruits.

Recruits who join the Armed Forces needing to improve their literacy and numeracy skills are signed up for intensive training programmes which, the report shows, improve their long term career prospects.

The report also shows that recruits were engaged and motivated by the job-related training and high expectations of success in the Services, including those who had poor experiences of learning at school.

Key findings from the Armed Forces Basic Skills Longitudinal Study included:

• the Services delivered a high record of numeracy and literacy qualifications among new entrants through intensive training. • it highlights the success of using minimum literacy and numeracy standards as a requirement for promotion to specific ranks.
• there is wide variation in the scale of literacy and numeracy needs between the Services which has influenced their separate policies and scale of investment.

• the Armed Forces demonstrate how a large employer can play a vital socio-economic role by making their personnel more employable within the Services and in subsequent civilian life. • sound speaking and listening skills were regarded as most important and essential for an individual’s operational effectiveness at all ranks.
• all three Services are strongly committed to helping those personnel with literacy and numeracy needs.

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.

Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes, said:

Higher standards of basic English and maths skills give individuals a stronger sense of purpose and pride and lead to a more efficient workforce.

The Armed Forces are playing a vital social and economic role in ensuring that their personnel have the skills to perform their operational roles more effectively and are more employable when they leave the Forces.

I hope the Services’ dedication to boost skills among new recruits serves as an inspiration to other employers.

The study - which was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Ministry of Defence - was carried out over three years between 2008 and 2011.