Strengthening foundation skills in the workplace

Employees and employers in a range of industries and workplaces will share the benefits of stronger work skills and enhanced productivity as a result of new funding provided under the Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) program.

During a visit to Villa Maria, a disability, education and senior services provider in Bundoora, Victoria, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills, Sharon Bird, today announced that 25 new WELL Resources projects would share $3.3 million to help workers improve their foundation skills for the workplace.

“For many people, having a higher level of English language, literacy and numeracy skills will open doors to career advancement and higher wages,” Ms Bird said.

“People in any industry can benefit and that’s reflected in the successful WELL Resources projects, which range from helping aged care workers to meet the language requirements for Diploma of Nursing courses, to working with women who are employed as apprentices or are considering entry to the energy sector trades by boosting their literacy and numeracy skills.

“This is another example of how the Gillard Government is making sure that more Australians are able to access high skill, high-paying jobs today and in the future.”

Ms Bird and the Member for Scullin, Harry Jenkins, used the visit to announce that the partnership of Villa Maria and Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) will receive $130,000 for three WELL training projects to deliver vital workplace training to more than 100 employees.

“Villa Maria is one of the largest providers of disability and senior services in Victoria and employs many staff from a range of backgrounds,” Mr Jenkins said.

“They have been working with NMIT to deliver language, literacy and numeracy training to staff since 2007 - it’s great to see this work continue.”

Ms Bird said an evaluation of the WELL program found it delivered real benefits for businesses through its training projects and is highly regarded by employees.

“Across the country, businesses are seeing impressive outcomes with 79 per cent achieving improved workplace performance, decreased occupational health and safety incidents and reduced wastage,” Ms Bird said.

“Of those business surveyed, 78 per cent rated the program as either effective or highly effective in improving literacy and numeracy and meeting business needs.”

The WELL Program is part of the Australian Government’s $1.68 billion investment over four years in targeted adult foundation skills training.

WELL is part of the Australian Government Skills Connect integrated approach linking eligible Australian enterprises with skills and workforce development programs and services. More information is available at http://www.skills.gov.au/skillsconnect.

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