* Some of the staff from Calon Lan who took part in the Essential Skills scheme.
To tackle the problem, the government has come up with a scheme, supported by the European Social Fund, to offer all employers the opportunity to access fully funded training to raise these essential skills levels.
Known as Essential Skills in the Workplace, the scheme was outlined to members at the recent meeting of Llangollen Town Council.
Haf Wyn Hughes, workplace skills officer for North East Wales, who addressed councillors, explained that the definition of essential skills is the ability to read, write or speak in English or Welsh, and to use numbers, at a level necessary to function and progress in both work and society.
With the ever increasing use of technology in both the workplace and at home the ability to use this technology is also seen as an essential skill.
It is estimated that poor essential skills cost the UK economy £10 billion per year and the Welsh economy £300 -£500 million each year.
She told councillors that the training scheme enables employees to progress from entry level through to level 2 in Communication (literacy), Application of Number (numeracy) and Information Communication Technology (IT).
It can also offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and qualifications for supporting learners with their Essential Skills training.
One of the local organisations to benefit from the essential skills training is Calon Lan Community Care, of Conwy, an independent health and social care and support service in clients’ own home.
The training was provided by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai
Staff taking part were required to complete log sheets recording all the tasks carried out as part of their role.
It was identified that some members of staff would benefit from further training to improve their writing skills in order to complete the log sheets effectively. Training was specially arranged to fit in with the staff members busy schedule. Staff completed tasks relating to report writing, which they found to be very beneficial. Eleven members of staff have completed the training, whilst six have recently started the programme. One of the carers, Ann Jones, commented that the training has been very helpful and that she feels that her English grammar skills have improved as a result of the course.
She has seen a difference in the way she fills in the log sheets at service users’ homes.
All of those who have taken part in the project have or will be starting to study for their NVQ in Social Care.
A Calon Lan spokesperson said: "The training has proved to be a great way to help boost confidence in the individuals who have taken part. It lets the individual feel valued by the company, as we have invested our time to develop their skills.
"Staff who feel they are invested in and developed by a company, stay loyal to the company, and this is great for staff retention/low staff turnover."
* To find out more re about Essential Skills in the Workplace, contact Haf Hughes by phoning 01745 770278, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org