Sinead Moriarty Irish author Dr Inez Bailey CEO NALA and Charlie Bird at the launch of Take The First Step 2018

National Adult Literacy Programme

Take the First Step


Individuals with literacy difficulties are at the greatest risk of unemployment, have difficulties supporting their children’s education, have poorer health and lower life expectancy.  We were tasked with promoting a public information campaign – Take the First Step – which called on those who have difficulty reading, writing, maths or technology to contact NALA to get the help they need.  

It was key to highlight that the opportunity was free, open to all, with participants able to choose what, where and when they want to learn.  


Dr Inez Bailey CEO NALA and Brian Cody Killkenny hurling manger at the Launch of Take the First Step 2017


The Take The First Step campaign included national radio advertising, video and digital advertising on social media, and posters and public relations activity. The campaign featured four students sharing their positive stories about returning to education. A national media campaign told stories of how different life can be without numeracy, literacy or functional literacy difficulties. We enlisted the help of well-known and recognisable ambassadors – jockey and early school leaver, Johnny Murtagh; novelist and former literacy tutor, Patricia Scanlon and Fair City actor Bryan Murray (who was involved in a storyline around literacy on Fair City).


Telling real-life stories worked to de-stigmatise adult learning.  40,000+ watched the videos, while the campaign reached 1.3 million with Sean O’Rourke, RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ’s Countrywide, TV3’s Saturday AM, and Today with Maura & Daithí.  Research showed 34% of adults recalled the campaign, rising to 50% for those with literacy or numeracy difficulties. 450 adults called to use the service.

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