Foundation Skills: sites, questions, and resources

Some months we have a lot to share, but, we need to be pragmatic. The information in this blog comes in multiples of two (2).

We offer two:

  • career-focused government websites
  • answers to two frequently asked questions
  • resources – one to support numeracy skills, and the other to support reading, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

2 Sites with a career focus

There are two sites that provide useful information about Australian career opportunities and what’s involved within specific roles. Each has had a recent revamp.

1 My Skills

The My Skills  site has been updated in line with the current government theme ‘REAL SKILLS FOR REAL CAREERS’.  The site offers insight of roles across 15 industries through videos of workers in action, as well as some demand projections.

This is a good first stop for anyone thinking about a particular career who may not know much about it or what’s involved. 

2  Job Outlook

The Job Outlook site has much to offer. The focus for this site is to reveal current skills involved with roles, and offers projections about job opportunities in this line of work, in Australia. Here, the jobs are not industry clustered but identified A to Z – and the range is wide.

For each role tabs reveal facts, figures and lists which provide an overview of key tasks, current prospects, career pathways, required knowledge, skills and abilities.

You’ll see specific and embedded foundation skills.

The Activities, Demands, Abilities and Interests (in Work Environment) are a bonus – providing greater insight into the role and the work environment (also relates to foundation skills).

This site provides sufficient detail to enable an informed decisions about a career choice, and offers key skills used and required to perform the role. 

2 Answers to two frequently asked questions

Out and about, and on-line,  Chemène and I communicate with a wide range of trainers. Where foundation skills are concerned, we welcome and expect to be asked questions.  This post answers 2 of the most frequently asked questions

1 Are AQF levels and ACSF levels the same?

No. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) provides the broad learning outcomes for each Australian national qualification level and qualification type.

It’s the first place to look if you want to identify the broad skills and knowledge involved with a course of a specific level. For example, see this summary of the difference between the broad skills and knowledge aspects of a Certificate II level course, and a Diploma level course.

The AQF does not mention the specific skills and knowledge within a course, or the specific foundation skills required at that level.

The Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) relates to the Language Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) skills used to demonstrate competency to perform workplace tasks. Each unit of competency may require the application of different language literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills, and at different levels of complexity (from level 1 to 5). For example one unit may involve mostly oral communication and reading skills at ACSF level 3, whereas another may involve writing and digital  foundation skills at ACSF level 4.

The ACSF provides performance descriptions within each core skill across each of the 5 levels. The descriptions help to identify and confirm what learners and graduates are expected to perform or demonstrate at the LLN skill level of complexity.

The key points: 

  1. Foundation skills demand and level of complexity can vary between units of competency in the same course
  2. Refer to the ACSF and the CSfW to check the foundation skills demand and level of complexity required to demonstrate a performance criteria 

2 Does reasonable adjustment mean make the LLN or foundation skills demand easier?

No. Generally reasonable adjustment relates to learners with a disability. The Standards for RTOs 2015 outline the responsibility of providers to adhere to the principles of
access and equity.

‘Access and equity means policies and approaches aimed at ensuring that VET is responsive to the individual needs of clients whose age, gender, cultural or ethnic background, disability, sexuality, language skills, literacy or numeracy level, unemployment, imprisonment or remote location may present a barrier to access, participation and the
achievement of suitable outcomes’ (Glossary, Standards for RTOs 2015)


Most RTOs enable learners to identify if they have a disability during or at the enrolment stage. The RTO and trainer will then follow policies and procedures to find out how the learner may be impacted by the disability and therefore how they may be assisted so that they can access and engage with the course.

Some don’t want to reveal that they have a disability, they prefer to try to see how they go independently. Some learners may not be aware that they have a disability. They may have adjusted their life to existing capabilities, or may not have had the opportunity to be diagnosed. Tuning in to learners’ needs may require implementing more than one assistive approach.

You may need to develop multiple strategies where the needs of different learner cohorts require different approaches to the delivery of training and/or assessment.”


Sometimes reasonable adjustments are made to the learning environment, training delivery, learning resources and/or assessment tasks to meet the learner’s needs. For example this may be with the use of assistive technology to facilitate reading and writing (eg Read and Write Gold), or the engagement of a Reader/Writer for assessments.

The assistance provided to a learner with a disability requires that competency is maintained. The learner/graduate must have the ability to perform particular tasks and responsibilities to the standard of performance expected in the workplace.

The key point is:

  • Adjustments, support, and assistance must maintain the competency standards.

2 Resources to boost foundation skills development

1 Numeracy resource

VALBEC Building Strength with Numbers mustn’t be overlooked if your goal is enable learners to engage with, discuss, and use a range of  numeracy skills related to various workplace contexts. The resources include games, paper-based resources, tips and advice. Develop learners’ confidence with ‘in-the-head’ techniques – a necessity for many workplaces.

1 Problem-solving and critical thinking resource

The terms problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills are often mentioned in information about the ‘enterprise’ or ‘smart skills’ employers seek in their workers. Our experience is that learners need a way forward with how to develop these skills. Some learners are comfortable and confident to identify the facts within a text but less certain about how to interpret, link, make projections, or think about it from a different perspective.

From the Global Digital Citizenship Foundation, the Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Critical Thinking  Infographic  is a useful resource containing 48 questions to stimulate discussion and deeper thinking. Locate this in your tool box so it’s easy to find!

The LLN and VET Meeting Place exists for you to:

  • ask questions
  • comment on information
  • and recommend strategies and sites for us to share

… about foundation skills.

What’s on your mind now?!




One thought on “Foundation Skills: sites, questions, and resources

  1. basdenleco November 27, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    Fascinating article with a plethora of pertinenat and releavnt information especially for a workplace trainer assessor. Excellent post. Thank You

    Liked by 1 person

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