Two day Conference

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The two day mix of ‘expert’ key note speakers and practice based concurrent sessions offered delegates a variety of styles and formats for interaction and learning. In every session delegates were encouraged to consider how to apply their learning back in their professional practice and speakers provided tools to assist with practical application.

Topics for the 2015 conference included:

  • Foundation skills strengthening – creative approaches to addressing the foundation skills needs of existing workers
  • Employer perspectives on workforce development and foundation skills strengthening
  • Researching foundation skills policy and practice
  • Models for developing practitioner skills and knowledge
  • Professional opportunities and challenges of practitioners

The speakers for the conference included:

  • The Hon. Sharon Bird MP
  • Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist of Australia
  • Diana Coben, Professor, National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, New Zealand
  • Nicola McCartney, Associate Director, National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, New Zealand
  • Ben Macklin, Director, Public-Private Partnerships, Department of Communications
  • Michelle Circelli, Senior Research Officer, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER
  • Anthony Kittel, CEO & Managing Director, REDARC Electronics
  • Philippa McLean, Director, Escalier McLean Consulting
  • Bob Paton,Executive Officer, Manufacturing Skills Australia

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Conference Opening & Welcome to Conference

Bob Paton, Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturing Skills Australia

Cameron Baker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturing Skills Australia

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Including the launch of the MSA Environmental Scan 2015, Manufacturing: advancing the conversation

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Bob Paton is Bob Patonthe CEO of Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA). This is one Australia’s 11 national Industry Skills Councils, recognised and funded by the Australian Government. The organisation’s roles include the ongoing development and maintenance of national vocational qualifications for the manufacturing industry, gathering and providing industry intelligence and assisting companies with their workforce development.

Bob was appointed at the end of 2004 after more than 8 years as National Executive Officer of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Industry Training Advisory Body.
Prior to that Bob spent 20 years working for TAFE NSW as a teacher and then in various administration roles associated with state-wide and national manufacturing and engineering curriculum development and implementation. Bob also spent several years as a Director on the Board of the Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
Bob holds qualifications in automotive engineering, teaching, business, accounting and human resources management.

Cameron Baker

Cameron Baker is the Deputy CEO of Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA). MSA is one of Australia’s 11 national Industry Skills Councils, recognised and funded by the Australian Government. The organisation’s roles include the ongoing development and maintenance of national vocational qualifications for the manufacturing industry, gathering and providing industry intelligence and assisting companies with their workforce development needs.
Cameron was appointed to MSA at the end of 2013 with more than 16 years’ experience in Vocational Education and Training (VET). Cameron’s previous roles include: General Manager – Skills and Engagement at the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC), Commercial Director – Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and various educationally focused appointments over 10 years of service with the Department of Defence.
Cameron holds qualifications in teaching, public policy development, quality audit, business and human resources management.

Workplace literacy and  numeracy sustainability

Nicola McCartney, Associate Director, National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, New Zealand

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What changes need to happen within workplaces to maximise effective literacy and numeracy practices and systems? What can workplace literacy and numeracy sustainability look like? How can it be measured?

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NicolaNicola McCartney is responsible for the embedded literacy and numeracy professional development program in the foundation level tertiary sector. A whole organisation approach to embedding literacy and numeracy in education organisations and workplaces is her current focus and informs her work in sustainable and systemic practices. Her workplace interests include organisational change and workplace culture. She holds a Master of Philosophy in workplace literacy and numeracy programs.

The power of foundation skills – Redarc’s experience and employers’ perspectives

Anthony Kittel, CEO and Managing Director, Redarc Electronics

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From Redarc’s remarkable journey integrating foundation skills into the organisation’s workforce development strategy, Anthony shared employers’ perspectives on foundation skills. Are employers interested in the message?  Have employers identified particular foundation skills problems or solutions? What do employers need from providers and from the VET system?

Anthony Kittel

Anthony Kittel is the CEO and Managing Director of REDARC Electronics. REDARC is a Lonsdale, South Australia based, electronics manufacturer currently employing 100 people. REDARC is the 2014 Telstra Australian Business of the Year.
REDARC was established in 1979 and manufactures a range of Power Conversion Products including Battery Management Systems, Power Supplies, DC/DC Voltage Converters and Inverters. REDARC Electronics is a poster child for manufacturing in Australia. REDARC has been a member of the BRW Fast 100 on four consecutive occasions in 2001 – 2004 inclusive. In 2002 it was named as the SA Government CIBM Small Manufacturing Business of the Year. In 2004REDARC was listed in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific. In 2005, REDARC won the South Australian Panasonic Australia Business category of the 2005 Telstra Australian Governments’ Small Business Awards. In 2009 REDARC were awarded the Technology Application of the Year in the National Endeavour Manufacturing awards and later that year were also successful in winning the coveted TIA Gold Cup for excellence in engineering and commercialisation. REDARC again won the Gold Cup in 2011. REDARC was a winner of the 2012 Electronics News Future Awards – Best Automotive & Transport Application for the new 25 Amp in vehicle DC/DC Battery Charger complete with MPPT Solar regulator. In 2013, REDARC was awarded a member of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 for the fourth time and also a member of the SA Fast movers index. REDARC’s five-year-old factory in the Adelaide suburb of Lonsdale churns out electronics for cars, trucks and four-wheel drives. REDARC completed a major plant expansion in mid 2012 including construction of clean room facilities, high roof warehousing and installation of Environmental and EMC testing and electronics surface mount automation machinery. Over the next five years it is planned to increase sales revenues to $50m.

Individual perspective

Brian Charity, Tasmanian Entrepreneur

Brian Charity is a successful Tasmanian entrepreneur despite not being able to read or write. He shared his personal story about the impact of low literacy skills in his life and how he survived in the world of business.

Brian Charity

 

 

 

Foundation (skills) of Innovation

Michael Hartman, CEO, ForestWorks

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In 2012 ForestWorks received WELL Strategic Project funding to build awareness of the LLN skills gaps that exist in the forest and forest products industry and their ongoing effect on business productivity and development. Further the goal is to build strategies to address these skills as an integral part to what is called innovation skills’ or skills for greater businesses. These skills also include leadership skills, teamwork skills, creative and critical thinking, problem solving, personal skills and skills to implement organisational policies, workplace health and safety policies and environmentally sustainable work practices. As part of the project, ForestWorks have developed an online hub, packed with examples of typical LLN skill gaps that exist in workplaces, how those skill issues affected the workplace and the solutions that workplaces put in place to build the LLN skills required for effective work. The hub includes sample activities and resources that can be used in various settings. Come along and take a look at how it works and what’s included!

Michael Hartman

Michael Hartman is the CEO of ForestWorks which aims to assist the industry to be successful through people development. He has been involved in work-based adult education, learning and vocational education for 30 years and holds a Diploma of Management (Community Services), Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, Certificate in Corporate Governance and trade                                                      qualifications.

Addressing Foundation Skills in Training and Assessment Strategies

Therese Hickey, Consultant, Therese Hickey Consulting

Ever taken a route to a destination that on reflection was not the right way to go? This workshop explored the importance of establishing and addressing the required foundation skills when documenting a Training and Assessment Strategy as well as providing tips and methods to improve training and assessment strategies and practices to effectively address foundation skills.
The Training and Assessment Strategy is a requirement under the revised Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, it provides the ‘roadmap’ an RTO uses to direct learners to their chosen vocation. Therese advocates for improved outcomes for learners through a more robust and thoughtful Training and Assessment Strategy thus providing a better route rather than sending your learners on a frustrated and inappropriate path to their chosen destination.

Therese Hickey

Therese Hickey is an independent vocational education and training (VET) consultant. Her experience stems across various roles including quality and compliance manager, consultant, auditor and National Quality Council project officer. Therese has a keen interest in reinvigorating how the VET sector and industry approaches workforce capability and skill development. Therese debunks the regulations, policy and research to empower participants with the tools and knowledge to cultivate and maintain a strong approach to meeting the VET quality framework.

Foundation Skills, Learner Needs and Compliance

 John Molenaar, Manufacturing Learning Victoria

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The introduction of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 provides for a re-focus on determining the support needs of individual learners and provision of access to the educational and support services necessary for the individual learner to meet the requirements of the qualification/course in which they are enrolled, as specified in training package or VET accredited course. This has implications for identifying whether a learner is suitable for enrolment in a qualification/course, the course most suitable for a learner, and once a learner is enrolled, the support needs required to assist a learner to complete the qualification/course. The Standards and training products provide a greater emphasis on identifying a learner’s LLN skills prior to enrolment in a qualification/course and the support provided to a learner in completing a qualification/course. This workshop explored the challenges that practitioners face in determining learner skills and the support needs required, and the provision of the most appropriate educational and support services, in compliance with the Standards.

John Molenaar

With a background in education, including primary teaching, secondary teaching, TAFE teaching, university lecturing (VET method) and adult and community education involvement, John Molenaar has experienced, and provided leadership in, a diversity of educational styles and approaches, and currently works as a quality consultant and auditor. 
John as worked with a diversity of training providers, public and private, to develop learning programs most appropriate for their clients’ skills needs and the conduct of internal compliance audits.
Over the past twenty years John has supported the implementation of the WELL Program and continues support training organisations to implement foundation skills programs.
More recently John has focused his attention with organisations on ‘setting up students for success rather than failure’ and identifying strategies to identify learner skills, learner skills needs ensure that students are enrolled in courses most appropriate to ensure success. Foundation skills identification and development have been a key focus.

Investing in Workplace LLN

Michael Taylor, National Policy and Projects Manager, Australian Industry Group

This presentation reported on outcomes from the Australian Industry Group’s research project on return on investment in workplace LLN programs. There was a focus on the positive results and the business case to employers to invest in LLN.

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor is the National Policy and Projects Manager in education and training at the Australian Industry Group. Responsibilities include managing a number of national projects and developing organisational policy in a wide range of education and                                          training areas.

 

A Different Approach to LLN in the Workplace: Yes or No?

Jennifer Dunbabin, Services Coordinator – 26TEN at LINC Tasmania

Sue-Ellen Evans, Workforce Adviser (DWIN), National Disability Services

Lee Veitch, Aged Care Services Tasmania

What do you do when a WELL Program style project doesn’t meet an employer’s needs? What would happen if a peak body was given the opportunity to work with a sector to find out what they would prefer, and would accommodate, without the confines of a WELL Program grant? Aged and Community Services Tasmania (ACST) led such an exploration in Tasmania. Through a 26TEN Grant (part of the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan) it offered its members a comprehensive LLN service, tailored to meet each organisation’s needs and capacities. The project began in 2011 and is in its wind up phase now. It evolved as the sector evolved, and has been part of a wider and very strong workforce development suite of programs. There was three presenters: Lee Veitch, Project Manager for ACST, Jennifer Dunbabin, who managed the grants, and Sue-Ellen Evans, who was WELL Broker at Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council for part of the project. There was significant time for discussion as the presenters felt this project gave a window on what the aged care sector can accommodate – but what do practitioners think? Is this really an LLN project or more mainstream workforce development? The underpinning enquiry is ‘how can LLN be delivered in workplaces such that businesses willingly fund the training?

Jennifer Dunbabbin

Jennifer Dunbabin is Services Coordinator – 26TEN at LINC Tasmania. She has just moved to LINC. Previously she worked in the VET sector for 14 years, specialising in workforce development, e-learning and most recently adult literacy. She manages the 26TEN Grants program which funds LLN projects in the community and workplace and also is responsible for aspects of adult literacy workforce development in Tasmania.

 

Sue-Ellen.Evans

Sue-Ellen Evans has been involved in delivering foundation skills programs for over 30 years in a large range of roles. Starting the foundation skills journey as an Adult Literacy officer Sue-Ellen has taught on both community and workplace foundation skills projects including WELL, SEE and AMEP. Working as a WELL Broker for aged care was a new challenge and led to a keen interest in aged care and community services industries. Sue-Ellen spent a year working as a business partner for the Aged Care Workforce Innovation Network( AWIN) and is now working as a Workforce Adviser for the Disability Workforce Innovation Network.(DWIN)

Lee Veitch

Lee has over 20 years’ experience working in workforce planning and development, management, organisational design/development and quality assurance.  Lee has worked extensively across the community services and VET sectors and has a sound knowledge of both Industry areas.  She currently works with Aged & Community Services Tasmania as their Workforce & Innovation Manger and is also owner/partner of two consultancy organisations, Enable CTS & Aveta. Lee’s previous roles include: working with the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council as a Business Partner in the Aged Care Workforce Innovation Network; working in government with Skills Tasmania (State Training Authority) and the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority (auditing RTOs); General Manger of a state-wide training organisation; working with long term unemployed in labour market programs and finance and office management.  Lee is currently Chair of the Board for Montagu Community Living.  Montagu provides supported accommodation to people living with a disability. Lee’s experience provided her with a rounded, relevant and practical knowledge of workforce planning and development, management, organisational and business development, organisational design, governance, community services sector and the VET sector.

From Classroom to Workplace

Fotina Babalis, Manager, Industry and Community Engagement, Melbourne Polytechnic

 Terry Rodgers, WELL Trainer and Project Officer,  Melbourne Polytechnic

This workshop targeted all teachers who incorporate language, literacy and numeracy skills into their classroom and/or workplace teaching. A priority area of the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults is to build ‘the capacity of the education and training workforces’ in order to improve the delivery of foundation skills training. The workshop introduced the WELL Program resource ‘From Classroom to Workplace’ which addresses the skill shortage in finding and retaining workplace LLN practitioners. One of the major obstacles LLN workplace practitioners face is making a successful move from classroom to workplace training. The workshop examined the difficulties faced when transitioning LLN classroom teachers to LLN workplace practice. Many LLN classroom teachers have little or no connection with workplace delivery. Those that decide to make the transition find very few similarities with classroom teaching and often struggle with delivering training in an industry setting. The workshop guided participants through the resource to provide them with an understanding of the skills gap which exists between classroom teaching and workplace delivery and examine specific ways of making the transition smoother for those that wish to undertake the journey from the classroom to the workplace.

Fotina Babalis

Fotina Babalis is the Further Education Workplace Learning Manager at Melbourne Polytechnic; and the Contract Manager for the industry teaching program which is funded under the Commonwealth funded WELL Program. These programs are delivered in a variety of industry settings including aged care facilities, manufacturing, food processing,  local councils, construction, printing, warehousing and transport.

 

Terry Rodgers

Terry Rodgers has delivered a number of WELL Programs funded training projects in a range of industries for both NMIT and private RTOs over the last eleven years. He has also delivered WELL Program funded training to workers in automotive, textiles, clothing and footwear, aged care, childcare, manufacturing and construction industry sectors.

Smackdown in the Kimberley

David Broun, Instructional Designer, Desert Boot Design

In this workshop presentation we heard from Dave about his foundation skills journey in remote communities in the Kimberley. Dave discussed the use of digital media as a tool in the development of foundation skills, the importance of a two-way approach in literacy and numeracy training and the development of an online multimedia resource that features Aboriginal people as partners and educators. He showcased the video work developed during his time in the Kimberley with people he can’t really call students because he learnt more than they did. This workshop gave people insight and strategies for foundation skills training in Indigenous communities. It provided tips and ideas for ways to engage a reluctant LLN audience. Dave presented Boat Notes, a free online literacy and numeracy resource designed for students and trainers in maritime education programs in northern Australia. It featured videos, activities and resources developed with the Bardi Jawi Rangers from One Arm Point. Boat Notes is the culmination of Dave’s work in the Kimberley and represents a unique partnership in workplace education with Aboriginal people. We joined him for giant slingshots, fire, crocs and a taste of dugong soup.

David.Broun

 Dave Broun has worked in a variety of education and community development roles in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. After working as a primary school teacher in 2004 he moved to the Department for Child Protection in the positions of Education Officer, Senior Field Officer and Strong Families Coordinator. The last four years has seen Dave in two different roles funded by the WELL program. Initially as an access lecturer at the Kimberley Training Institute and more recently as an instructional designer developing foundation skills resources for Aboriginal people                                                       studying maritime qualifications in Northern Australia.

Championing foundation skills

Michael Taylor, National Policy and Project Manager – Education and Training, Australian Industry Group

Graeme Finlayson, Manager, Training and Development Services Division, OAK Training and Development, Workplace Champion 

Victoria Jacques, General Manager, Residential and Retirement Services,  Villa Maria, Workplace Champion

This panel session was presented by Foundation Skills Workplace Champions and chaired by Michael Taylor, Ai Group. Based on their experience implementing successful workforce development initiatives, the panel of Foundation Skills Workplace Champions discussed the challenges and benefits of integrating foundation skills into workforce capacity building programs. Panel members will also highlight future opportunities for workforce skilling and encourage questions and discussion from participants.

Michael TaylorMichael Taylor is the National Policy and Projects Manager in education and training at the Australian Industry Group. Responsibilities include managing a number of national projects and developing organisational policy in a wide range of education and                                           training areas.

Graeme Finlayson

Graeme Finlayson has worked with OAK Tasmania since 2006 and currently manages the organisation’s Training and Development Services Division, which also operates as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). In this role, Graeme has led the development and implementation of initiatives to address training and development challenges for OAK Tasmania’s diverse workforce, as well as for external clients.
Graeme is committed to strengthening foundation skills in the workplace by helping OAK employees build and expand the tools they need for lifelong learning. By working closely with other Divisional Managers to identify the training and development needs of individuals within each business unit, Graeme and his team are helping to create a workplace culture that recognises the benefit of building foundation skills.
Outside of the organisation Graeme’s relationships with stakeholders and professional networks in industry and government provide him with the opportunity to collaborate and share practice with others in the disability services industry.
About OAK Tasmania – OAK Tasmania is an independent, not-for-profit provider of services and support to people with a disability and their carers. OAK has provided a range of services in southern Tasmania since 1953. In 2013-14 OAK directly employed 229 people across four business divisions. A significant number of these employees are people with a disability working in supported employment at one of the four Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) operated by OAK. Enriching the lives of people with a disability is central to the work of OAK Tasmania and to provide robust and inclusive models of learning, the organisation has its own registered training organisation. OAK Training and Development Services helps employees and external clients overcome barriers to participation in training by using innovative universal design and specialised knowledge of assistive technology, both software and hardware. The rollout of foundation skills development opportunities for OAK’s employees in supported workplaces ensures these individuals are adequately trained and prepared for future transitions. OAK Tasmania also recognises the importance of foundation skills for disability support workers and has used internal training to build digital literacy and communication skills to help workers with their role in developing individual plans for clients. OAK Tasmania is participating in the trial of the National Disability Insurance.

Victoria Jacques

Victoria Jacques has extensive experience in aged and palliative care. In her current role as General Manager of Residential and Retirement Services for Villa Maria, Victoria manages four aged care homes and one retirement facility. In previous roles Victoria has worked as Director of Nursing and has been responsible for setting up outpatient palliative clinics. Victoria has a Masters in Adult Vocational Education and is driven to provide appropriate skills development opportunities for her diverse and multicultural workforce. In 2012, Victoria implemented a workplace language and literacy program in a newly developed aged care home with 150 newly recruited staff. Trainers worked alongside the new staff to develop their language and digital literacy skills to use computer-based care documentation software. In the aged care sector, Victoria finds that foundation skills beyond language and literacy are challenging for workforce development. Differing cultural values and beliefs that people have about the elderly have also been the focus of skill development initiatives that Victoria has led at Villa Maria. Currently Victoria is developing a dementia mapping program for staff to assist them with behavioural issues of the residents.

Literacy and Numeracy Assessment – The Development and Implementation of the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT)

David Tout, Senior Research Fellow and Manager, Vocational, Adult and Workplace Education, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

Philippa McLean, Director, Escalier McLean Consulting

What is FSAT, the new Foundation Skills Assessment Tool comprising online and offline assessment, commissioned by the Australian Government and designed to assess an individual’s foundation skill levels?  Why was FSAT developed and what will it support us to do? Will FSAT be useful or will it be an imposition? We heard about the FSAT story, and what it could mean for you and your work.

David Tout

David Tout is an experienced numeracy educator who is particularly interested in making mathematics relevant, interesting and fun for all students especially those students who are disengaged from mathematics. He has worked in a range of programs in schools, TAFE Institutes, community providers, university, AMES and industry. Dave has written a number of teaching, curriculum, assessment and professional development materials and resources, and has presented on a wide range of topics at numerous local, regional, national and international conferences and events. Dave joined ACER in 2008 and has worked on a number of assessment projects at ACER including the development of online literacy and numeracy assessment tools for both disengaged young people and for adults. Dave was one of the authors of the ACSF and since 1998 has been involved in international numeracy assessments including ALLS, PIAAC and PISA.

Philippa McLean

Philippa McLean has extensive and successful experience in the VET sector and is highly regarded as a language, literacy and numeracy expert. She was a member of the consortium that developed the original ACSF in 2008 and in 2012 was the project manager for the revision of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) for DEEWR which resulted in the publication of ACSF 2012 and the development of the ACSF Pre Level 1 Supplement. The ACSF is ground breaking work as a significant national resource which provides the validated framework of national benchmarks for the identification and description of core skill performance (for adult language, literacy and numeracy) for the Australian population and is the key component of foundation skills.
As a direct result of her work on the ACSF, Philippa has been regularly engaged to deliver professional development and project work for adult language, literacy and numeracy teachers and VET trainers at a state-wide and national level. In particular she has had extensive experience delivering workshops on the understanding and application of the ACSF across Australia in industry, government and community settings, and for a range of public and private Registered Training Organisations. Philippa has also worked on national projects developing exemplar assessment tools and delivery resources, delivers accredited and non accredited training in language, literacy and numeracy and provides specialist advice and training in the areas of language, literacy and numeracy validation and moderation.
In her previous role as the Principal of Philippa McLean Consulting she worked with Escalier Consulting on a range of Commonwealth and State government program evaluation projects in the area of apprenticeships and school to work transition and assisted the University of New England (at the request of DIISRTE) as the specialist adviser on a literacy campaign in the Wilcannia community, a project supported by the Lowitja Institute, DEEWR, FAHCSIA and the NSW Aboriginal Housing Service.

The New Zealand Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool: A Perspective from the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults (NZ) and Careerforce (NZ)

Prof Diana Coben, Director, National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, Faculty of Education, The University of Waikato, New Zealand

 Cushla Wilson, Learning Engagement Advisor, Careerforce, New Zealand

The New Zealand Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT): What is it? What can it tell you (as employer, tutor, manager, etc.) and what can it not tell you? Professor Diana Coben introduced conference delegates to LNAAT and offered some thoughts from the perspective of the New Zealand National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults. Cushla Wilson offered a perspective from Careerforce.  Careerforce is the industry training organisation (equivalent to an Industry Skills Council) for the New Zealand Health and Community Care sector.  This presentation explored new requirements for measuring and monitoring adult literacy in trainees enrolled in industry qualification programs delivered in New Zealand workplaces. As of January 2014 it has been a funding requirement for all workplaces delivering Level 1 and 2 qualification courses to use the LNAAT.   This is an online adaptive tool that assesses for generic adult literacy and numeracy skills.  Assessment items are linked to the New Zealand Adult Learning Progressions; a matrix of skills /knowledge over 4 literacy and 3 numeracy strands, each covering 6 competency steps (levels). We review the year; the awareness-raising, the response (sometimes resistance) from workplaces, the workload it generates, the data collected and the picture it presents.  This has not been a walk-in-the-park for Careerforce and our sector but we are seeing some surprising results. January 2015 started with a full review of the government funding for workplace literacy and a refresh of the literacy and numeracy implementation strategy.  We explored the government’s expectation for this major investment in adult literacy, especially in the ongoing use and development of LNAAT.  We also looked at funding trends in recent years and a growing focus on workplaces building internal capability to reduce reliance on external literacy providers.

Diana Coben

Professor Diana Coben, PhD, is an adult educator who is Director of the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults at the University of Waikato, New Zealand and Emeritus Professor of Adult Numeracy at King’s College London, UK. She was also a founder-member of the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) in England and was Founding Chair of the international research forum: Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM) www.alm-online.net. 
Diana researches and undertakes consultancy, teaches and publishes internationally, specialising in adult numeracy education, policy and politics of adult education from an international comparative perspective and the professional development of adult educators.
She is especially interested in numeracy in safety-critical work contexts and a strong advocate of use-inspired interdisciplinary research, exemplified in her work on numeracy for nursing, e.g., www.nursingnumeracy.info/.

Cushla Wilson

Cushla Wilson is the Learning Engagement Adviser for Careerforce, the Industry Training Organisation for the health and community care sector.  Her role includes delivering train-the-trainer workshops for workplace educators, supporting their skill development in embedding literacy and numeracy into their vocational training.  Prior to this role Cushla worked in training workplace peer mentors and was an adult literacy tutor working in the food manufacturing, plastics moulding and cleaning industries.

Shadow Ministerial Address

The Hon. Sharon Bird MP

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See the media release

Sharon BirdSharon Bird MP was elected as the Federal Member for Cunningham (New South Wales) in October 2004, November 2007, August 2010 and September 2013.
Sharon was appointed Shadow Minister for Vocational Education on the 18 October 2013.
Sharon served as Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communications and Minister for Road Safety from 1 July 2013.
Ms Bird also served as Minister for Higher Education and Skills from 25 March 2013 and as Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills from 5 March 2012 until her appointment as Minister. 
Ms Bird Chaired the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications from 2010 until 2012. She was also a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties and the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure from 2010 until 2012.
Ms Bird served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training from 2004 until 2010 and Chaired this Committee from 2008 until 2010. 
She has also served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations (2008 – 2010); the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services (2004 – 2007) and served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration in 2007 as Deputy Chair.
Ms Bird was born on 15 November 1962 in Wollongong, New South Wales.
Ms Bird served as a Councillor on Shellharbour Council from 1991 to 1995. Her occupations prior to entering Parliament are as follows:
• BA (Syd), Dip Ed (Wollongong)
• High School Teacher (1985-1989)
• TAFE Teacher (1989 – 1995)
• Electorate Officer to Colin Hollis MP, Member for Throsby (1995-1997)
• Senior Project Officer, Department of Juvenile Justice (1997 – 2004)

Keynote

Prof. Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist of Australia

Ensuring a skilled workforce through high quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and training in VET.

Ian Chubb

Professor Ian William Chubb, AC, MSc, DPhil (Oxford), Hon DSc (Flinders), Hon DLitt (CDU), Hon DUniv (ANU), Hon LL.D (Monash)
Professor Chubb commenced his role as Australia’s Chief Scientist on 23 May 2011.
Previous roles:
2001-2011 Vice-Chancellor, The Australian National University
1995-2000 Vice-Chancellor, Flinders University of South Australia
1993-1995 Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Monash University
1990-1995 Chair of the Commonwealth’s Higher Education Council
1986-1990 Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Wollongong.
Professor Chubb was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for “service to higher education including research and development policy in the pursuit of advancing the national interest socially, economically, culturally and environmentally and to the facilitation of a knowledge-based global economy”.

Financial literacy: A skill for life

Judith Waller, Consumer Educator, Financial Literacy, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

See the presentation

This presentation explored the fundamental life skill of financial literacy: why it is important, what building financial capability means, and what tools are available to assist you to design and deliver financial literacy training in the workplace.
Judith explained that financial decisions are complex and contextual – the decisions you make about money are influenced not just by your knowledge and skill, but also your attitudes, motivation, experiences and patterns of behaviour.
Accordingly, improving financial literacy is a long-term behavioural change initiative. Led by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the National Financial Literacy Strategy is a practical framework for action to guide all those with a role to play in improving Australians’ financial literacy.
Judith showcased some of ASIC’s initiatives under the Strategy, such as ASIC’s MoneySmart website. She highlighted relevant tools and resources, particularly ASIC’s Be MoneySmart, a new online training resource for VET students (including apprentices and trainees) and senior high school students, to develop money management skills which support their future careers in small business or as contractors.

Judith Waller

 Judith Waller is an experienced writer, trainer and life coach and has been with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) since 2006, working in the area of consumer policy and education. As a core member of ASIC’s Financial Literacy team, Judith regularly represents ASIC at national forums and presents on a variety of financial literacy subjects. Judith has developed a wide range of content for ASIC’s MoneySmart website, including on money management topics such as budgeting, saving and spending, borrowing and credit, and investing basics, and print publications such as Managing your money and Investing between the flags. She recently worked on the review and development of the National Financial Literacy Strategy 2014-17 and is part of the team coordinating implementation of the Strategy. Judith is a Qualified Trainer and Assessor and a Certified Professional Coach.

Ministerial Address

Senator The Hon. Scott Ryan, Liberal Senator for Victoria, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training

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Scott Ryan

 Senator The Hon. Scott Ryan, Liberal Senator for Victoria, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training  was born in Brisbane in 1973 and raised in Essendon. He is married to Helen, they have a son and live in Melbourne.

He was elected to the Senate at the 2007 Federal Election as the youngest Liberal senator ever elected from Victoria. He was re-elected at the 2013 Federal Election that saw the election of the Abbott Government. Scott was appointed to the First Abbott Ministry as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education. Prior to this appointment, Scott was Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Fair Competition between 2010-2013 and has also served as Chair of the Senate Standing References Committee on Finance & Public Administration. Immediately before entering the Senate in 2008, Scott worked as a consultant in the health and insurance sectors as well as serving as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne. Scott is a member of the Essendon FC, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies and the Samuel Griffith Society.

Digital Literacy – Creating Technology, not Consuming Technology

Ben Macklin, Director, Department of Communications, Public Private Partnerships, Department of Communications

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See the video he showed at the conference:

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Digital literacy programs are moving beyond just providing skills to individuals and businesses to raise their digital capabilities and confidence. New approaches are encouraging individuals and business to be creators of technology, not just consumers of technology.

Ben Macklin

Ben Macklin is currently the Director of the Public-Private Partnerships Section within the Digital Productivity Division of the Department of Communications. He is responsible for managing a number of digital literacy programs including the Digital Business Kits program, the Internet Basics and Digital Business websites and is familiar with the previously run Digital Enterprise and Digital Hubs programs. 
He was previously the manager of the Technology Advisory Unit for the Department of Communications and before joining the Department in 2008 was a Senior Analyst for a New York market research firm, eMarketer. He has had over 10 years experience research and writing about the internet sector as well considerable personal experience creating websites and utilising digital tools and technologies. He has a Masters in Legal Studies and a Masters in Applied Ethics.

Industry Perspective

Tony Landi, Training Manager, John Holland Rail

An overview of John Holland’s programs developed to enhance the workforce:

  • Technology and safety initiatives
  • Training development
  • Skills matrices and base skills
  • Career development

Tony Landi

Tony Landi has 25 years’ experience in the construction and logistics industry. He joined John Holland in September 2001 as a Project Safety Manager based in Queensland then moved down to Victoria in 2002 and joined the rail team as the Integrated Systems Coordinator which included assisting management with implementation and maintenance of QA, OH&S, Rail Safety and Environmental Management Systems in project operations. Tony currently holds the position of Training Manager for John Holland Rail. The focus of this role is to provide a strategic and operational focus to the Rail Business and National Rail Training team, while at the same time providing day to day management support, direction and hands on training delivery to the Regional Training Team. To effectively manage a high level of complexity around key internal and external stakeholders, regulatory requirements, operational delivery and strategic direction.

Strengthening the N in LLN – Why Addressing Numeracy Skills is Crucial

Dave Tout, Manager, Vocational, Adult and Workplace Education Services, Australian Council for Educational Research

This presentation highlighted a number of critical issues related to maths and numeracy in work and the implications for education and workplaces. What are the challenges we face in improving the ability of workers and learners to understand, use and apply maths in their lives, and how might we better address this in our teaching and training practices? Based on knowledge and research about youth and adults’ skills in numeracy, about maths and numeracy at work and about the teaching and learning of maths and numeracy, this presentation argued why it is essential to explicitly address the numeracy competence of both young people and adults and why strengthening the N in LLN should be given much higher priority. The session also illustrated and discussed a number of different issues that need to be addressed regarding teaching numeracy, and suitable activities for VET and workplace trainers to integrate into their teaching.

David Tout

David Tout is an experienced numeracy educator who is particularly interested in making mathematics relevant, interesting and fun for all students especially those students who are disengaged from mathematics. He has worked in a range of programs in schools, TAFE Institutes, community providers, university, AMES and industry. Dave has written a number of teaching, curriculum, assessment and professional development materials and resources, and has presented on a wide range of topics at numerous local, regional, national and international conferences and events. Dave joined ACER in 2008 and has worked on a number of assessment projects at ACER including the development of online literacy and numeracy assessment tools for both disengaged young people and for adults. Dave was one of the authors of the ACSF and since 1998 has been involved in international numeracy assessments including ALLS, PIAAC and PISA.

Sharing Knowledge Through the Foundation Skills Community of Practice

Anita Roberts, Project Coordinator, National Foundation Skills Strategy Project

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The Foundation Skills Community of Practice is an initiative of the National Foundation Skills Strategy Project to support the priorities of the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults. The Community of Practice brings together a diverse group of individuals from across the country to share and build knowledge about foundation skills. Community of Practice members and their colleagues presented information on the individual and collaborative actions they are taking to raise awareness of the national Strategy and build workforce capacity to address foundation skills. The workshop session included an opportunity for practitioners to explore ideas for extending the reach of the Community of Practice and building sustainable networks for knowledge sharing.

Anita Roberts

Anita Roberts has worked in the vocational education and training system at the national level since 1995. She worked closely with Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) on the development of the FSK Foundation Skills Training Package and is currently working with TAFE SA as project co-ordinator for a collaborative national project to implement the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults.

Using the ACSF in a Finer Grained Way: the Tasmanian Experience

Jennifer Dunbabin, Services Coordinator – 26TEN at LINC Tasmania 

Philippa McLean, Director, Escalier McLean Consulting

A grants program is part of the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan. The Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) is used to measure learner achievement. The program has been in operation for four years. As reports were submitted and from feedback from practitioners, it appeared that while progress was being made, it was not to the degree that would register as moving up a level of an indicator of a core skill. It appeared that for short LLN projects this measure was setting the bar too high. Skills Tasmania commissioned Escalier McLean to investigate the feasibility of using the ACSF in a finer grained way to capture progress that wasn’t registering with the current measure. The report identified five other measures that might be used alone or in combination. As Stage 2 of this investigation, in 2014 practitioners explored the feasibility of these measures applying them to projects they were running. In this workshop, presented by Philippa McLean and Jennifer Dunbabin, we outlined the research, and shared the outcomes of the 2014 Stage 2 projects. There was considerable time for discussion: the presenters consider this workshop to be a forum to test the feasibility of using the ACSF in this way, and for those who see the possibilities, to canvass how they envisage it could work. This was an interactive (throughout) and lively workshop.

Jennifer Dunbabbin

Jennifer Dunbabin is Services Coordinator – 26TEN at LINC Tasmania. She has just moved to LINC. Previously she worked in the VET sector for 14 years, specialising in workforce development, e-learning and most recently adult literacy. She manages the 26TEN Grants program which funds LLN projects in the community and workplace and also is responsible for aspects of adult literacy workforce development in                                          Tasmania.

Philippa McLean

Philippa McLean has extensive and successful experience in the VET sector and is highly regarded as a language, literacy and numeracy expert. She was a member of the consortium that developed the original ACSF in 2008 and in 2012 was the project manager for the revision of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) for DEEWR which resulted in the publication of ACSF 2012 and the development of the ACSF Pre Level 1 Supplement. The ACSF is ground breaking work as a significant national resource which provides the validated framework of national benchmarks for the identification and description of core skill performance (for adult language, literacy and numeracy) for the Australian population and is the key component of foundation skills.
As a direct result of her work on the ACSF, Philippa has been regularly engaged to deliver professional development and project work for adult language, literacy and numeracy teachers and VET trainers at a state-wide and national level. In particular she has had extensive experience delivering workshops on the understanding and application of the ACSF across Australia in industry, government and community settings, and for a range of public and private Registered Training Organisations. Philippa has also worked on national projects developing exemplar assessment tools and delivery resources, delivers accredited and non accredited training in language, literacy and numeracy and provides specialist advice and training in the areas of language, literacy and numeracy validation and moderation.
In her previous role as the Principal of Philippa McLean Consulting she worked with Escalier Consulting on a range of Commonwealth and State government program evaluation projects in the area of apprenticeships and school to work transition and assisted the University of New England (at the request of DIISRTE) as the specialist adviser on a literacy campaign in the Wilcannia community, a project supported by the Lowitja Institute, DEEWR, FAHCSIA and the NSW Aboriginal Housing Service.

Responding to Policy: A Model for Integrated Support of Foundation Skills in Vocational Training

Jana Scomazzon, Director,  Language and Training Group

Lina Robinson, Policy and Quality Assurance, Service Skills Australia

The Training Package policy environment has brought a renewed focus on the importance of foundation skills to successful vocational outcomes. Interactive in nature, this workshop allowed participants time and opportunity to clarify and extend their understanding of how foundation skills are represented in the current Training Package model. The session involved participants in seeing how key policy drivers to foundation skills changes impact on vocational trainers and assessors. It included an overview of the nature and purpose of the new foundation skills section in units of competency, and how units can be used to engage employers in discussions around strengthening foundation skills. Time was spent on exploring how Service Skills Australia’s recently developed Model for Integrated Foundation Skill Support uses the Foundation Skills Training Package to support integrated delivery, providing simple, straightforward strategies for responding to foundation skills issues that vocational learners can face.
Workshop facilitators were: Jana Scomazzon, who has a unique insight into VET learners’ foundation skill needs. A former adult literacy practitioner, Jana moved into VET policy and product development, bringing with her a practical approach to getting everyone involved in supporting foundation skill development. Lina Robinson who works across Service Skills Australia in a policy and quality assurance role. Along with Service Skills’ National Skills Development team, Lina talks with employers and providers around Australia to make sure that Service Skills Training Packages reflect real needs.

Jana Scomazzon

Jana Scomazzon has unique insight into VET learners’ foundation skill needs. A former adult literacy practitioner, she moved into VET, bringing with her a practical approach to getting everyone involved in supporting foundation skill development.
Over the years, Jana has developed Training Package policy, co-authoring the Training Package design model with the new foundation skill section for units of competency; written foundation skill support material; and run highly successful foundation skills and ACSF workshops for vocational trainers and unit writers.
Jana’s extensive knowledge of VET policy and her focus on equitable learner outcomes inform her further role as a Training Package quality assurer for the Department of Education and Training.
As a recognised expert in developing and implementing effective solutions, Jana has also managed many strategic foundation skill development projects in a variety of industries and is frequently asked to speak on adult workplace literacy.

Lina Robinson

Lina Robinson works across Service Skills Australia in a policy and quality assurance role. Along with Service Skills’ National Skills Development team, she talks with employers and providers around Australia to make sure that Service Skills Training Packages reflect real needs.
Throughout 2013 and the first half of 2014, as part of a WELL-Program funded project, Lina managed a series of national workshops for vocational trainers that gave practical strategies for supporting foundation skill development in vocational courses.
With 20 years’ experience in the VET sector as a trainer in both the private and public sectors and in a range of policy roles representing industry and RTOs on a state and national level, Lina understands how crucial it is for trainers and employers to work together to identify and support learners’ foundation skill needs.
Lina’s formal qualifications include a Master of Education (Monash) and Bachelor of Education and Training (Melbourne).

So Who is Delivering Foundation Skills?

Michelle Circelli, Senior Research Officer, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

Louise Wignall, Director, Wignall Consulting Services

If the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults is to be fully realised by 2022 then we need a fully equipped and engaged workforce on board to deliver these skills. Unless we develop a workforce capable of delivering foundation skills within community, classroom and workplace settings we run the risk of diminishing the capacity of our adult learners to take on the challenges of the knowledge economy and respond to calls from government and industry for high-level thinking, innovation and flexibility. This session shared the findings from two inter-related activities aimed at learning more about the skills and expertise practitioners bring to their work, and the skills and professional development needed to continue to deliver the right mix of skills to learners to help them meet the challenges of living, learning and working in Australia now and into the future.

Michelle Circelli

Michelle Circelli, a senior research officer with the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, manages commissioned research projects funded under the National VET Research Program. She also undertakes research and consultancy projects for NCVER and has a particular interest in adult literacy and numeracy. Michelle was the 2013 Fulbright Professional Scholar in Vocational Education and Training spending time in the United States undertaking research into measuring success of adult literacy and numeracy programs with the Californian Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the federal Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

Louise Wignall

Louise Wignall has worked in the education sector for the past 25 years as a teacher, researcher, policy advisor and quality assurance manager with a specialisation in adult literacy and learning in the community, vocational education and training (VET) and the workplace. Her key interest is in ‘joining the dots’ between policy and practice to improve the quality of learning experiences. Louise has provided advice to a number of Australian Government Departments over the past ten years on a number of key policy initiatives including the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults and has recently completed the Scoping for a Foundation Skills Professional Standards Framework as part of the National Foundation Skills Workforce Development Project.