Friday, 26 October 2018

Numeracy and Liteacy at Work

This month I attended the #Employment SolutionsConference on the Gold Coast.
It was great to meet a range of different people working to support people with different needs to access employment.

I presented a paper on Day 1; Easy English:  A critical addition to workplaces.

Although a small audience it generated much discussion.

I included in my paper some recent research from the Australian Industry Group Survey Report Skilling:A National Imperative; Workforce Development Needs 2018.

In this report it identified 72% of organisations are moderately or highly affected by poor literacy and numeracy. This in turn contributes to a range of negative and poor outcomes from:
- poor completion of workplace documents/reports;
- material wastage/material errors/noncompliance;
- time wasting;
- recruitment difficulties;
- staff lack confidence/unwilling to take on new work;
- financial miscalculations;
- teamwork problems/communication problems;
- potential for workplace injuries or unsafe work practices.

Today in the Sydney Morning Herald an article by Anna Patty reported 

             ' The Australian Industry Group survey of 298 companies with a total of   
              111,209 employees across manufacturing, construction, mining and service   
               industries found 99 per cent reported that low levels of literacy and numeracy
               were affecting the business.'

Unfortunately this is not surprising when the general prose literacy of the adult Australian population suggests 44% of adults 16-65yrs old do not have the literacy to manage a range of day to day reading tasks. ABS#2448, 2013.

The value of providing written material in Easy English could not be more obvious. Yes, it would be great to teach workers the literacy skills they need for work, but that is the long term strategy.

Today, that person needs to work. He needs to know the
- process to be safe at work and reduce workplace injures; 
- how to communicate and write a brief of notes about that days tasks (or read it from the manager); 
- work out how much of a certain substance or product is needed, and calculate how many portions are required, even estimate how long a task will take;
- do his task efficiently, and be prepared to take on new or different tasks;
- work effectively with other team members.

These are a couple of examples of Easy English.
Training and self development; Safeguards project;
The next 2 day Easy English training is in Adelaide in November. Register now and join the growing number of organisations who write information so it is meaningful and functional for all workers.

Talk to me about a project to develop your information so that more people can read, understand and know what to do.


Cathy Basterfield
0466 579 855

Monday, 27 August 2018

Easy English with Women with Disabilities Victoria.

HI all,

Women with Disabilities Victoria have developed their Safeguards project. As part of the implementation they have included versions for different accessibly needs.

Access Easy English developed the Easy English version of the book.

This work was developed in response to their research Voices against Violence which is also available in Easy English 

This also ties in with the work we did with the South Eastern Integrated Family Violence Centre in providing information in Easy English
- for the many women who need it.  My Safety Plan - in a 'z 'card (the size of a credit card)
- men who receive Intervention Orders. Men Think Safe Act Safe 

Talk to me about developing your project information so that more people can read, understand and know what to do.


Cathy Basterfield
0466 579 855
Facebook: Access Easy English

Friday, 20 October 2017

Papers from PLAIN International 2017

Day 2 Key notes included a presentation from the newly created German Easy to Read Concept. "Leichte Sprache". They have published a large text on 'how to write in German Easy to Read'.

A few papers discussed working with people with lower literacy skills.

Belgium - Van Der Waarde - Plain Language in health: Can understandable information improve the use of medicines by patients? This was developed from the graphic designer perspective, with lots of insights into how to get images to work for the content.

Germany - Weigard/Zschorlicj - Head lice: Nothing to be ashamed of. Evidence based health information for hard to reach target groups. Important message: websites do not work for this target group!!!

Ireland -  Lane/Droog - Men's Cancer Prevention and Health Literacy. Discussed how information needs to be presented differently for men - use of easy to read language; humour, positive messages and infographics. Interestingly they have their images on the Right side of pages. Love to chat more....

Australia - Basterfield – Workshop – Improve Communication- Improve Customer Relationships. For those that came a great discussion on how the strategies for interactive communication  are as relevant and as important as our written messages. Working with participants who have English as a 2nd. 3rd or 4th language was great fun, as we tried to identify simple everyday words for complex ones!.  
Australia – Basterfield – Who is my Customer. A thought provoking paper, which people afterwards commented they had no idea or hadn’t realised the vulnerable people I write Easy English for, is (i) out there and (ii) as prevalent as it is.

A couple of papers I missed , but want to catch up with...
Sweden - Jaensson Introducing a new grant to new target groups. Unfortunately I didn’t get to this paper as I was chairing another session. Looking forward to the PPT and a follow up with Annasara;

Germany – Frohlich – Capito – Easy to read . Practical experiences.
Based on digital experiences. Development of the ‘├žapito’ method and quality standards.

Cathy Basterfield
Access Easy English
0466 579 855 
Facebook:    /accesseasyenglish

"Thank you for making this information harder to read" From PLAIN International 2017

Held in Graz, Austria at the largest university in their city.

Lots of people from many different countries attended. There a few more papers and discussion about meeting the needs of people who do have more limited literacy, which was great to see. PPT's from the conference will be available soon. I will put the link here when they are available.

Highlights -  there were many.

In the Opening Address Neil James, the outgoing President welcomed everyone with the 4 'S' of Plain Language.
- Service
- Satisfaction
- Safety
- Savings.
covered things such as
 - information from a company is easier to understand;
- it takes less time to write and act on the information;
- saves money;
- better relationships with customers.

- A great slide with comments about "when was the last time a customer said......."
       'thank you for making this information more complicated than  it needed to be';
       'but this was too easy to understand';
       'I feel smarter when you make it harder to read';
       I would like to spend more time doing this (read document)!'

Complex information is not clear. It is more open to misinterpretation. Think about an insurance statement....

More recent data has shown when using Plain Language:-
25%-40% reduction in a documents length;
50% reduction in writing time
40%-60% reduction in reviewing time;
50% reduction in number of drafts;
50% increase in reader satisfaction.

Now put these in the context of Easy English..... 

Cathy Basterfield
Access Easy English
0466 579 855 
Facebook:    /accesseasyenglish