Investing in workplace literacy provides return on investment


accessed from Free Images under Creative Commons License 29/09/15cash-flow 1237944

Investing in workplace literacy pays

Although employers are aware of the impacts of literacy on workplace outcomes, this may not be enough to start investing in building employees’ workplace foundation skills. There is always a cost involved. Will the commitment be worth it?

Successful workplace literacy programs require all key personnel to be on-board to promote the program with positive messages to employees. Employers and employees (including managers and trainers) like to be certain of a win-win outcome. How can commitment and investment be justified?

More recently, justification to engage employers and employees in foundation skill activities centered on

Missing from the available information, was quantifiable ‘evidence’ or Return on Investment examples from the Australian workplace context.

NEW Report from the Australian Industry Group

The result from the Australian Industry Group’s Building Employer commitment to Workplace Language  Literacy and Numeracy Programs project indicate a significant return on investment for employers participating in these workplace programs


The AIGroup report, Investing in Workforce Literacy Pays, features 4 different workplaces. Each investigated the benefits to their financial outcomes of implementing a targeted foundation skills development program. Does the investment positively impact cash flow?

The difficulty in isolating the specific effects as foundation skill development is acknowledged. Programs often involve the integration of more than one skill and strategy and the interplay of a range of factors such as delivery method, timing, and incentives to achieve outcomes.

The four examples determined their own ‘measure of success’. The numeracy calculations offer a range of customised approaches and bottom-line outcomes.

  1. Intercast and Forge: invested in managers, trainers and employees; broadening skills of the managers and trainers to support foundation skill development, and workplace health and safety skills for the CALD empoyees. The savings per week were evident with employees requiring less supervision.
  2. Hawkesbury Gardens Aged Care Facility: invested in improved completion of workplace documents, teamwork and collegiate communication. Savings were based on reduced time required by care workers to complete paper work as well as reduced supervision
  3. TAS Water: invested in individualised ICT skill development with specific software. Significant reduction in time spent in completing the task, and correcting errors was noted
  4. Lend Lease (Barangaroo project) invested in developing capacity to complete successfully the compulsory workcover assessment (achieving 90% first attempt pass rate), therefore saving costs on re-sits and more training.

Each case and model is worthy of consideration, if quantifying the outcome of investing in workplace literacy programs is important to your organisation, or the employer you plan to speak with.

Tips to building your learners foundation skills

If you are involved with building foundation skills within adult education and training, you may be interested in the forthcoming webinar series we will offer, also accessed via the events section on this site. Build it in: tips to build your learner’s foundation skills within adult education and training

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