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Driving action on UK literacy

Driving action on UK literacy

KPMG has a long and successful history of promoting literacy



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Why literacy for KPMG:

Literacy is a fundamental skill for our firm, our clients and the UK economy. Without a grounding in this key skill, generations of talent will struggle to adapt to a rapidly changing world. As such, it is also a core enabler of social mobility.

KPMG UK has a firm-wide commitment to social mobility, engaging our employees, our supply chain and the wider business community to promote literacy and in turn drive economic productivity and social mobility across the UK.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that 37% of businesses are dissatisfied with young people’s literacy skills and use of English. As the world of work changes due to rapid technological progress, key basic skills, such as literacy, are crucial for individuals to be able to not only skill, but re-skill for the jobs of the future. Without this fundamental ability, people risk being left behind from economic and technological progress.

Why literacy for the UK:

If children were leaving primary school with the necessary literacy skills, we would be laying the foundations for a skilled and diverse future workforce. However, that is not the case at the moment:

  • The vocabulary of children from the poorest backgrounds is 19 months behind their peers from more affluent backgrounds by the time they start school; and 1 in 3 children from poorer backgrounds leave primary school unable to read. Research shows that once they fall behind, they are likely to stay behind.
  • In the most deprived wards, 1 in 3 adults has a reading age of an 11 year old – which makes it harder for them to support their own children’s literacy development.
  • If every child left primary school with the reading skills they need, our economy could be more than £32.1 billion bigger by 2025. 

Our Action on Literacy

KPMG has a long and successful history of promoting literacy. In 2005, the KPMG Foundation launched the Every Child a Reader campaign, which was then rolled out by government in 2008 to support 35,000 children a year. In 2013 we worked with the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and the All-Parliamentary Literacy Group on a major report on youth literacy and employability, and our partnership with NLT continues to drive the literacy agenda in the UK.

As a key convenor of business around this agenda, we’ve been working in partnership to reframe the UK’s literacy policy and to galvanise the business community to take action on literacy and social mobility. KPMG has led the development of the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge with the NLT and the wider National Literacy Forum (18 literacy and child poverty charities). The initiative is the first of its kind to unite the business community behind a common challenge: to boost literacy levels in the UK by businesses taking action within their workforce, within the local community and by contributing to the national campaign. A total of 44 businesses signed up to the Pledge in 2016, increasing to 51 signatories in 2017 and 63 in 2018. Signatories include, Amazon, McDonald’s and Sainsbury’s.

We also work directly with young people to improve their reading, writing, listening and oracy skills - in FY 2017 over 150 KPMG volunteers gave almost 1,000 hours in support of activity specifically aimed at improving literacy in less advantaged communities. KPMG Family for Literacy, a global initiative, has distributed over 3 million books worldwide since its inception in 2008.

© 2020 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative, a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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