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Employers want more beneficiaries offered work

Monday, January 24th, 2005

Employers want more beneficiaries offered work

Employers strongly support the testing of everyone on a benefit for literacy and numeracy, says the chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern), Alasdair Thompson. His comments were in advance of Dr Brash's Orewa speech today.

Many welfare beneficiaries are likely to be better off socially as well as financially if they could contribute by obtaining paid work, Mr Thompson said.

"Employers are concerned many adults on welfare benefits are not getting the chance to get useful employment," Mr Thompson said.

"We want more people on benefits offered the opportunity of a job.

"But some beneficiaries are not offered a job because their level of literacy/numeracy is not up to it, which is a reason why adult learning needs to become more attractive.

"More people on benefits would get work if employers were confident they could read and understand basic workplace instructions such as safety warnings, and do basic arithmetic.

"We acknowledge the extra $27 million Government announced this week to get more beneficiaries into paid work, but for this to be achieved employers want the emphasis placed on our literacy deficit.

"The literacy issue also applies more widely than just to beneficiaries; many school leavers should be tested. No student should leave school until they have reached a reasonable literacy/numeracy standard."

ENDS

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