The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) is nearing completion of a workplace Language, Literacy and Numeracy support project for NSW apprentices and trainees. The project is called ‘Laying Foundations for Apprenticeship Project’ and is supported by funding from the NSW Department of Industry.
Ai Group has long been concerned over the need for greater workplace LLN support and in 2016 conducted a project with Commonwealth Government support that trialled LLN support for existing workers in three member companies. Experience with this project led Ai Group to consider that workplace LLN support may also assist apprentices and trainees who were experiencing LLN difficulties at work as distinct from LLN difficulties with their formal trade or traineeship qualification. LLN workplace assistance was seen as a means of improving apprentice/ trainee retention and completion rates as well as improving workplace productivity.
In May 2017 Ai Group approached the NSW Department of Industry with a proposal to test the above assumptions. The proposal was approved and the project commenced in June 2017 with a special grant from the Department. Ai Group’s role in the project was to identify apprentices and trainees that require additional workplace LLN support and then to contract with a LLN trainer to provide the LLN assistance. Employers did not have to be Ai Group members to participate. The project concluded for new applications in December 2018 and all training under the project will conclude by 31 March 2019.
The project is premised on the assumption that LLN needs in a workplace can be different to the LLN requirements in an apprentice’s or trainee’s qualification. The workplace LLN requirements may not only differ in the level and range of LLN skills required but will often also differ significantly in terms of the environment for performance of the LLN skill.
Approximately sixty apprentices and trainees have received LLN training under the project. Employers have ranged from very large organisations to small employers with one or two apprentices. Contracted LLN trainers were required to perform an initial assessment of apprentices and trainees against the ACSF and then propose a program of training and fees for this training including a final assessment against the ACSF.
The reaction by employers and the apprentices and trainees has been very positive with one large employer saying the training had made the difference in retaining a range of indigenous and remote area apprentices and trainees in employment.
Further information on the project can be obtained from Richard Jenkins the consultant assisting Ai Group in the management of the project or Anne Younger, General Manager, Education and Training at Ai Group.
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