Literacy Aotearoa Masterton site co-ordinator Carol Wald, and tutor Jacqui Lockyer. PHOTO/ELI HILL

Eli Hill

Reading, writing and numeracy skills can affect people’s confidence, ability to find work, or chances of moving to higher paying jobs.

And with the Festival of Adult Learning being celebrated this week from September 7 to 14, Literacy Aotearoa Masterton site co-ordinator Carol Wald is looking to highlight adult learning in the community.

“On September 16 from 1pm to 3pm, we’re having a learner celebration at REAP House. We’ve put together a video showing learner activities and what adult learning means to the learners.”

The service offers courses in literacy, language, numeracy, digital learning, computers, financial, healthy lifestyle, learner licences, and work readiness.

Most of the courses are aimed at people who haven’t completed NCEA Level 2 in college, Wald said.

“Lots of people think they’re the only one with the problem, but when they come to class, they find they’re not the only one or they realise their problem isn’t as big as they think it is.

“It gives people confidence.”

Workplace literacy is something the service would be targeting further in future, Wald said.

“It used to be that you could leave school without qualifications and get a job in a factory or farm.

“But now a lot of those jobs have disappeared, or to be a farmer you need a certificate.”

People in the workforce with lower levels of literacy are usually paid less.

“What we see is people with lower literacy skills could have really good skills in the workplace but won’t step up to the higher paying jobs.

“They tend to have lower paid jobs because they don’t put themselves forward for advancement.”

The service works with people who have left the school system and are aged 16 and over.

“Our biggest group is people aged 16 to 25, but we do get a big influx of people from 35 to 50, mostly people who have decided they’re going to have a second chance of learning.

“We’ve also had people in their 80s and 90s who mostly come in to learn how to use a computer or smartphone.”

People looking to attend the learner celebration on September 16 at REAP House should RSVP with Wald by calling 022 524 5994.

People are also welcome to drop in during the week and find out about Literacy Aotearoa’s services.