How New Zealand is Improving Literacy and Numeracy
Adult literacy and numeracy in New Zealand has been identified as a problem by the nation’s government and employers. A large portion of New Zealand‘s industries involve an element of manufacturing, a talent pool which typically comes from lower social-economic communities.
Among these communities, low literacy and numeracy scores can be observed. To address these concerns, the Ministry of Education continues to increase its investment in funded literacy and numeracy training for adult learners in employment, as well as employers looking to upskill their workforce.
What are New Zealanders’ literacy and numeracy skills like currently?
According to the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, the adult population of New Zealand has large subpopulations with low numeracy and problem-solving skills. In fact, internationally benchmarked research shows that more than a million New Zealand adults fail to meet the level of numeracy and literacy skills necessary for a thriving knowledge-based economy.
English language and numeracy skills are crucial for building a skilled and productive workforce, with New Zealand‘s low levels of literacy and numeracy skills thought to be contributing to the country’s relatively low productivity. Higher literacy and numeracy skills allow workers to communicate better with coworkers and customers, handle tasks more efficiently and make valuable contributions to the business and the overall economy. Finally, strong literacy and numeracy skills are also correlated with improved personal wellbeing.
To address these weak points, the New Zealand government is working to provide adult literacy and numeracy training in workplaces, with funding and resources being available to employers looking to upskill their workforces.
Resources and funding available to employers
More and more resources are being made available to New Zealand employers looking to train their workforce.
One such resource is the Skills Organisation, which exists to provide support to both employers and trainees across literacy, numeracy or other areas of learning. Skills offers online literacy and numeracy assessments to identify any potential learning needs, tailored learning support and online resources. From real estate to trades, further study options are available across several different industries.
The Skills Highway is another fantastic resource, established to help employers conduct literacy and numeracy training to improve business performance. Some Skills Highway initiatives include:
Employers can also go over this list provided by the Skills Highway of workplace literacy and numeracy providers which receive funding through the Tertiary Education Committee-led and employer-led strands of the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund in 2020.
Adult learners looking to carry out their own training will find Ako Aotearoa to be a valuable resource. Its Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Cultural Capability Professional Learning and Development courses aim to enhance the skills of those involved in foundation education, with digital badges or microcredentials being available upon completion.
Adult learners who do not have English as their first language can get help from English Language Partners New Zealand, which offer free English courses, home-based tutors and English learning resources.
Finally, those looking for a professional development pathway to becoming a tutor or vocational education trainer themselves can take a free New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education. This certificate recognises expertise in adult education and training, with a range of education frameworks including Māori and Pasifika contexts being included for true cultural competency.
With a number of literacy and numeracy pathways for both individuals and employers to take advantage of, we can expect to see an improvement in New Zealand’s literacy and numeracy scores, as well as improvement to personal wellbeing and economic productivity.
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