Wales is to have a new level one qualification aimed at reflecting command of the most basic skills.
Rhiannedd Pratley, senior development officer at the Basic Skills Unit, said that the launch of the new certificate reflected demand from employers. He said: "They want something that guarantees employers can take a telephone call or make a simple calculation. At the moment there is not anything that does that for them'.
The aim is that it should be available by 2003. Development work, still in the early stages, will be based on work already done in England. But the Welsh qualification will test information and computing skillsas well as literacy and numeracy. Ms Pratley said this reflected the consistency with which recent research had shown that the large group of people whose numeracy and literacy are just below level one also have difficulty in obtaining computing and information skills.
She said the unit now had data on every part of Wales, broken down by local government wards, showing the number of people with skills deficiencies. This showed a large number of people who were just short of level one and could be brought up to it by short programmes, but also a substantial group with extremely low skills who would require long-term help.