Addressing the LNN skills problems of VET students: Developing potential learner skills through general awareness-raising unit of TAELLN401A packageIntroductionThe basis of this project is the 2010 report Skills Australia where 40 percent of the total workforce do not have sufficient literacy to meet workplace requirements. In particular, the workforce lacks the necessary skills on language, literacy, and numeracy or LLN. For this reason, the government emphasizes the need for VET schools to address these important needs by adjusting their current practices and development of effective strategies to improve students’ LLN skills.
This project is small initiative developed to assess the effectiveness of general awareness-raising unit (TAELLN401A) designed to enable practitioners answer specific questions that can enhance the quality their training and assessment practices. Moreover, it gives practitioners the chance for self-examine their existing delivery and assessment methods in accordance with government imposed LLN skills development standards. The following sections discuss the issues surrounding LLN skills acquisition and implementation of techniques taken from government recommended LLN skills training package. These include identification of students LLN skills level, the corresponding approach to elevate their level, and enhanced classroom practices contributing to rapid and better understanding of LLN.
The analysis and discussion section contains the details of the project’s implementation including observations and outcome. Literature Review – Acquiring LNN SkillsLNN and UnemploymentThe relationship between language, literacy, and numeracy is an established and recognized fact as a number of studies shows that students with language difficulties often experience difficulty acquiring literacy and numerical skills (Clegg & Ginsborg, 2006). In the United Kingdom for instance, up to 7 million adults have literacy and numeracy problems that include unemployed and employed low-skilled people and younger adults with age 16 to 19 years.
In addition to providing courses to meet the demand for LNN, the UK government strategy include improving the quality of teaching and learning in literacy, numeracy, and English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) by building a national learning, teaching, and assessment structure (Reder & Bynner, 2009). Similarly, the influence of employment is correlated with the influence of education because a particular level of education is needed for occupations requiring language, literacy, and numerical skills.
The problem however is that majority of those seeking or already employed do not read and write much in English. Studies suggest that those who received training in reading, writing, or speaking English have higher level of skills compared to non-attendees (Williams, 2003). A study conducted in Australia in 1996 (Aspects of Literacy Survey) revealed the strong positive relationship between level of educational attainment and rate of employment (Chiswick & Miller, 2007). However, education for LNN like any other initiatives experienced some difficulty such as the great variability in expertise and confidence on how to embed LNN alongside vocational skill development (Smith, 2007).
Addressing LLN Skills Problems through VET reformsThe 2002-2004 study in Australia conducted by Chappell et al in Hinkel (2011), shows the impact of low English language levels on workforce participation which may be taken as the starting point for enhancing students LNN skills within VET alongside requirements imposed by the Australian Quality Training Framework for VET. These include identifying and supporting clients who require language, literacy, and numeracy skills, and trainer’s use of multiple forms of information and reality-based tasks for diagnostic.