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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:30 by NZTecAdmin

Literacy and numeracy skills provide the essential base for building a competitive, highly skilled and productive workforce. Employers, unions and education providers have increasingly recognised that improving literacy and numeracy skills presents a critical challenge for the current workforce.

The decision to build the sector’s capability to strengthen literacy and numeracy into the provision of education and training in other areas rests on understandings about how adults learn considered alongside an analysis of the settings that provide optimum learning opportunities

Embedding literacy and numeracy in provision such as vocational training is considered to be the most effective and efficient way to provide direct, purposeful instruction in contexts (settings) that allow both the initial opportunity to acquire new literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills, and plenty of scope for practising them.

The key policy documents that describe the Government’s strategy to increase the literacy, language and numeracy skills of the workforce in New Zealand are:

  1. Tertiary Education Strategy 2007–12 incorporating the Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities 2008–10, which identifies increased opportunities for literacy, language and numeracy in the workforce as a national priority for tertiary education.
  2. New Zealand Skills Strategy Action Plan 2008, which has as the third of its five goals “influence the supply of skills through a more responsive education and training system”. This is supported by two actions:
    • Increase literacy, language and numeracy learning opportunities, and the quality and relevance of those learning opportunities.
    • Raise workforce and employer awareness of the benefits of literacy, language and numeracy skills
  3. Literacy, Language and Numeracy Action Plan 2008–2012, which outlines the government’s responses to the challenges set in the New Zealand Skills Strategy Action Plan 2008. Over the next four years, an additional $168 million is available for the development and implementation of a range of initiatives that aim to progressively increase the number of adults who have the literacy and numeracy skills required to meet the changing demands of modern society and workplaces.

The Literacy, Language and Numeracy Action Plan 2008–2012 gives priority to raising the literacy and numeracy skills of those already in the workforce and those near work. This is likely to lead to the quickest return in terms of improvements in competitiveness, and is one way to ease continuing skill shortages. A workforce focus will mean that the literacy and numeracy skills taught are pertinent to both employers and individuals.
Research confirms that improving workforce literacy, language and numeracy skills works best if the learning is in a context that is relevant to the learner, for example, existing workplace training. The Literacy, Language and Numeracy Action Plan 2008–2012 proposes a significant increase in the amount of explicit literacy and numeracy teaching that is embedded into vocational training.



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