A QUARTER of Huddersfield's adults have the English and maths skills of an 11-year-old.
And their lack of skills is causing them to "write themselves off" when it comes to jobs, it is claimed.
Education experts revealed the shock national statistic at a Galpharm Stadium event yesterday.
200 people attended the regional development agency's Celebration Of Success lunch.
The basic skills tutor traineeship programme, funded by Yorkshire Forward, has led to 53 new teachers being employed in the region's colleges specifically to tackle the issue.
Mrs Margaret Cobb, learning programme manager at the Learning and Skills Council in Bradford, said: "We know 7m people nationally have issues with literacy and numeracy.
"Across West Yorkshire, about 25% of adults have skills at about the level of an 11-year-old when really they should be the equivalent of a 16-year-old."
A small proportion of the 25% are said to be residents for whom English is a second language. Adult education centres offer basic skills classes and thanks to publicity and changing attitudes there is no longer such a social stigma attached to attending them.
Ms Stephanie Bower, capacity-building project leader at the LSC, said: "We're training these new tutors to help improve people's skills across the region.
"Many are new to teaching and are from all walks of life."
Mrs Cobb said implications of English and maths problems could be far-reaching.
She said: "When people don't have those basic skills, they cover it up. They don't go for vocational qualifications or take opportunities for career development.
"They write themselves off."
Those who moved around schools or left before doing O-levels are among those to have found themselves with particular issues, she said.
TV quizmaster Richard Whiteley was master of ceremonies. Guests included top civil servant Susan Pember, director of the Government's Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit.