FAQs: Workplace Literacy and Numeracy

Literacy - doesn't that mean reading and writing? My staff all know how to read.

Literacy in this context means all the skills employees need to communicate effectively at work, whether this is giving instructions to a co-worker, filling out a near miss form correctly, or understanding the important messages at a health and safety briefing. It also includes working with technology, problem solving tools and critical thinking.

How much does a programme like this cost?

The government funds this work because of the connection between improved literacy and numeracy and workplace productivity. Specialist providers such as Upskills project manage the entire programme on an employer's behalf.

What type of content is covered?

Each programme is tailored to meet the individual workplace's needs. There's no off the shelf textbook, rather the goals for the programme are decided at the outset and trainers work with company forms, documentation and processes to cover communication based content that is useful and relevant.

How can it help with health and safety?

By making sure that staff are familiar and confident with health and safety related vocabulary and signage; by helping staff understand the rationale behind health and safety forms and procedures; and by helping staff to feel more confident communicating assertively about health and safety.

How do we know if we need this type of training at our company?

Gaps in literacy and / or numeracy can show up in surprising ways. Waste levels can be higher than they should be due to skill gaps in numeracy, for instance. Another example is getting limited feedback from staff at meetings when you know your team has good ideas or solutions to bring forward. Misunderstanding verbal or written instructions, (internal) customer frustrations and incomplete form filling are a few more examples of how this issue can impact on a business.