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National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults

We all use foundation skills every day for a variety of purposes – personal, social and work. These are not just skills developed once at school and then forgotten. Learners in the VET sector demonstrate foundation skills within every unit of competency they complete. The foundation skills embrace the ACSF (Australian Core Skills Framework) and the CSfW (Core Skills for Work Framework).

Australia is now 7 years along, with the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults. This ten-year framework implemented by COAG, brings a national focus to improving education and employment outcomes for working age Australians with low levels of foundation skills (language, literacy, numeracy and employability skills).

Through this strategy, all Australian governments have committed to a target that, by 2022, two thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at Level 3 or above (refers to the levels in the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey undertaken in 2006 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics).

The challenge for educators is to ensure we have the skills to embed language, literacy and numeracy support into our training and assessment regardless of the industry we are training in. To do this, trainers and assessors need access to professional development opportunities, research and readings, practical support strategies and access to LLN specialists who can provide advice and mentoring in Language, Literacy and Numeracy. All trainers who have completed their TAE upgrade now have completed the unit TAELLN411 – but where to from here?

The Skill Set – TAESS00009 Address Foundation Skills in Vocational Practice - builds on the skills and knowledge provided in the unit TAELLN411 Address Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Skills. With this Skill Set, vocational practitioners will be more able to contribute to the planning and implementation of integrated programs supporting the learner’s vocational and foundation skills.

It is expected that the draft revisions to the FSK training package will be endorsed by AISC late in 2019. One change will be the minimum requirements set for assessors to have completed TAESS00009 or hold a higher level education qualification. This will impact on many trainers who currently use the FSK units in conjunction with their vocational competencies. Moving forward, they will need to meet new minimum requirements.

Many learners undertaking qualifications from the FSK Foundation Skills Training Package come from refugee and recently arrived migrant communities. Other learners require only modelling of good practice in foundation skills relevant to their job pathway. There are High Schools who use the FSK package to provide a learning platform for every student in the school. Other examples have seen the FSK units in digital technology used for mature aged redundant workers who are retraining for new jobs, new technology and new challenges. Educators need to determine the most appropriate delivery approach for their learners. The Skill Set – TAESS00009 “Address Foundation Skills in Vocational Practice” provides an excellent upskilling opportunity for graduates of the TAE40116 to expand on their skills and knowledge through practical hands-on projects and small group workshops. Watch the Blueprint Blog for more details.

by Jenny Field