Integrating literacy into further education and training


NALA encourages and supports organisations and service providers across a variety of contexts to use literacy-aware procedures and practices.  In the context of further education and training (FET), we work to help ensure that FET courses are inclusive of, and effective for, adults who may have language, literacy or numeracy needs.  

Research and practice show that:

  • literacy issues in themselves need not be a barrier to participation and success on FET courses; and
  • integrating language, literacy and numeracy development with the teaching and learning of course content benefits learners, teachers and providers. 

For learners and teachers on vocational courses at any level, 'integrating literacy' means using methods that help to

  • overcome literacy barriers to learning the course content; 
  • develop  the specific language, literacy and numeracy essential to the course and the vocational area; and
  • build confidence and skill in literacy and learning. 




Click here for Integrating Literacy: Guidelines for further education and training centres (NALA 2013)

NALA has also produced guidelines and support materials tailored to particular education, training and development programmes, developed in partnership with the relevant organisation. These include facilitator guidelines and learner materials for the Copping On programme (Youthreach), the Quit Smoking programme (Health Service Executive), and guidelines for workplace trainers (Skillnets). In 2012, NALA and the then Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) produced an agreed paper on the integration of language, literacy and numeracy in VEC further education programmes.  





Research projects on integrating literacy 


Living Literacy      This research explored the procedures used to implement a whole-centre approach to literacy and numeracy in the context of a Youth Training and Development Centre.  The report includes a description of the development and use of integrated initial assessment tools as part of the project.  

Literacy-friendly further education and training       This research explored language and literacy issues and opportunities in the context of an FE College and particularly in Level 5 vocational courses. The report includes recommendations and guidelines emerging from the research, for providers, colleges and teachers. 


Professional Development 


Maynooth University  

The 100-hour Certificate Course in Integrating Literacy (Level 7) is intended for managers, teachers and all staff in further education and training programmes.  It aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to build literacy and numeracy support into their practice. For course information please click here

Literacy Development Centre, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT)

The 35-hour module  Integrating Literacy in Adult and Further Education (Level 6) is an elective in Year 2 of the Higher Certificate in Arts in Adult and Further Education.  The module is also available to adult, community and further education organisations, by arrangement with WIT. For further information please email Eilis Roche,  



NALA provide introductory workshops on integrating literacy and numeracy support and development into FET courses. The particular focus of the workshop is agreed with the organisation requesting the training. Typically, the workshops aim to facilitate participants to:

  • develop a shared understanding of 'integrating literacy' in further education and training;
  • identify core elements of a whole-college or whole-centre approach to literacy and numeracy;
  • share experience and good practice in supporting learners with the literacy and numeracy demands of their course;  
  • consider guidelines for integrating literacy and numeracy with subject teaching and learning;
  • identify possible elements of a 'one small change' plan for integrating literacy. 

For further information email Bláthnaid,; or phone 01-412 7912.