Productivity Commission Report supports Government's investment in foundation skills

The Productivity Commission reports that investing in foundation skills – improving the language, literacy and numeracy skills of the working age population – will achieve employment and productivity gains.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Skills, Sharon Bird MP, acknowledged the Productivity Commission’s report, Impact of COAG Reforms: Business Regulation and VET.

Ms Bird said the report gave a detailed analysis of the likely economic impact of the Government skills and training reform between now and 2020, including the benefits of improving foundation skills.

“The report shows that better language, literacy and numeracy skills mean better employment outcomes for individuals. A move from Level 1 to Level 3 on the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey scale increases the likelihood of labour force participation by about 15 percentage points for women and 5 percentage points for men,” Ms Bird said.

“As Senator Evans said today, unskilled jobs are becoming a thing of the past, and people need higher skills and qualifications to be able to compete in the 21st century workplace.

“For many adult Australians, developing their foundation skills will be a critical first step on the path to achieving these higher skills and qualifications, to enter or re-enter the workforce, or to make the transition to a higher skill job.

"Since 2010, the Australian Government has allocated additional funding of nearly $300 million over four years to programs that improve the foundation skills of the Australian workforce. This includes significant extra investment in the Workplace English Language and Literacy program, and doubling the number of places for job-seekers in the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program.

“The Productivity Commission’s report also lists two significant foundation skills projects - the development of the National Foundation Skills Strategy and the development of a foundation skills training package, both of which were driven by the Gillard Government.”