Developing vocational skills with embedded literacy and numeracy in second-chance adult learners

Neal, Terry
Seelig, Caroline
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Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is concerned with the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the world of work. TVET is becoming a priority as more people achieve basic education, and then need to achieve employment skills to be able to work and live in their communities, and adapt to rapid economic, social and technological changes. However, literacy and numeracy assessment indicates that 40 per cent of those employed in New Zealand lack the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to participate in a knowledge society. There is, therefore, a need for programmes that build vocational and literacy and numeracy skills. Research shows that literacy and numeracy activities related to employment are more effective than generic literacy and numeracy training, if they are tailored to vocational contexts. // The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand successfully develops foundation skills in second-chance adult learners in New Zealand communities and prisons. The programme builds confidence, focus, commitment and a positive outlook; develops communication, problem solving, interview and budgeting skills; and helps learners to identify their strengths, learning needs and career and training goals. At the same time, the programme embeds literacy and numeracy. Keys to its success are engaging print materials with images and appropriate vocabulary, and one-to-one mentoring by trained staff from specialist partner organisations. // In 2013, the Open Polytechnic added a new programme to follow its foundation skills programme to assist learners to build skills towards selected vocational courses, while still building literacy and numeracy skills. Through the programme, learners understand their own strengths and interests and then select one of five vocational areas to study in more depth. // This case study outlines the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand team’s experience in developing this programme. The challenges that have been overcome include how to meet the needs of second-chance learners while working within the constraints of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, and designing and developing learning materials to support low literacy learners. It will also describe the learner support model to offer a blend of self-paced distance learning and individual coaching. The case study also shows that the model can be cost effective by using existing physical infrastructure in communities and prisons, and thus being able to invest in individual support. The authors will share stories form learners studying on the programme and conclude with recommendations for others offering distance programmes to build and literacy and numeracy vocational skills, especially for adult learners in communities and prisons. // Paper ID: 160

Skills Development,Adult Education,Technical/Vocational Education and Training (TVET),Employable Skills
New Zealand