Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo) and South Asia (Sri Lanka, Afghanistan) into social housing areas in the North Kensington and Fulham areas. These people will very often lack basic education and many will also not speak English. Yet, in terms of policy and vocational educational provision that we are involved in they are treated as the same. Obviously this causes further tension in an already difficult and troubled communities such as violence and racism, especially as the social housing provision is predominantly within these communities.
One of the main messages to come out of the Learning and Skills bill and the Local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is the need to address the skills gap. These are the skills people will need for employment. It would then be true to say that the present government with its current wave of reforms is not working widely enough to address all the issues of the ‘socially excluded’. An attempt to link different solutions to problems for effective policy formation is recognised by the present government, 2’the ‘joined-up’ nature of social problems is one of the key factors underlying the concept of social exclusion’.
DfEE Obviously all of these factors are not the same and some are more important then others. An immediate priority will be to invest in developing deprived neighbourhoods. The NIACE web page on social exclusion makes the point that, 3’socially excluded groups will exhibit other characteristics in addition to poverty. They will be groups whose ethnicity, culture and identity carry the least amount of recognition, influence and power in society’. Equality of opportunity is not an alternative to reducing inequality of outcome: reducing poverty today is essential to create fairer opportunities for the next generation.
Social exclusion arises not only in the labour market, but effects many aspects of everyday life. For example, people are excluded by the means tested benefit system and the pricing policies of privatised utilities. Adult Literacy Great Britain possessed lower levels of literacy than many other EU countries between 1994 and 1996. Only twenty three per cent of adults in Great Britain were only able to reach Level One literacy levels (the standard expected of an 11 year old). This is compared with nine per cent in Germany.
One in five adults are functionally illiterate, and the concerns the economy suffers from are major skills shortages in the following areas: Basic Skills (Numeracy and Literacy) Transferable – Key Skills Information Communication Technology skills Critical Intermediate Level skills The socially excluded are at a high risk of not attaining employment. This is a serious problem if it is not dealt with some of the outcomes will be that the crime rate and prison population will increase, racial tensions will grow and the cycle of impoverishment will continue throughout future generations.
Government Policy The governments vision over the next five to ten years is to get young people to emerge from school with a sound basic education, committed to continuous learning and equipped with the personal skills they need to succeed as individuals and citizens and to get people of all ages engaged in learning. They are trying to address their ongoing concerns that the UK continues to lag behind its major international competitors, both in terms of its productivity and skills levels.
NDTC is involved in the training of the ‘socially excluded’ population with both youth and adult learners. We run courses in all areas of ICT such as CLAIT which teaches students basic Microsoft Office skills; Word, Excel, Access. Also Desktop Publishing (DTP), advanced graphics and web design skills. We also have classes in Basic and Key Skills, and numeracy and literacy. NDTC is addressing the technological gap in the workforce where women are concerned by delivering both a Level One and Level Two computer repair and maintenance course for women.
Social Inclusion Socially excluded learners need more support then the average student. Due to the multi-faceted problems which accompany these learners we need to be more flexible in the way we plan and deliver our courses taking the learners individual circumstances into consideration. These are students who have learning difficulties, concentration problems, they are lone parents who do not have any support with their children when the unexpected occurs, and they have both emotional and financial troubles at home which take priority over learning.