NIACE Learner Ambassador makes the case for better literacy skills across Europe

17 September 2015

Making the case for better literacy skills to remain a priority across Europe, NIACE Learner Ambassador Sam Riley, addressed the European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, in Brussels this week.


Sam was one of many contributors attending ELINET’s Literacy Week closing event, including prominent politicians and experts stressing the importance of investing in literacy. An exhibition featuring pictures and personal letters of children, adolescents and adults who struggled with reading and writing, represented the one in five European 15-year-olds and the almost one in five European adults lacking the literacy skills required to successfully function in modern society.


Starting basic English and maths courses in 2005 helped Sam break a 25 year cycle of drug-use and time in prison. This gave him the confidence to take up more learning and training, leading to him now teaching non-contact boxing at local youth centres. He said, “I can hold my head up high now and walk amongst society. Learning has really changed my life…it’s saved my life.”


Sam’s remarkable achievements were recognised with an Adult Learners’ Week award in 2013.