Friday, 26 October 2018

Numeracy and Literacy 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

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