The need for Language, Literacy and Numeracy training has been identified over a long period. In “Shaping Our Future”, the Australian national strategy for VET 2004-10, recognised that LLN has to be ‘here, there and everywhere to ensure broad literacy provision for the population ‘so that all adults can fully participate in the labour force; use literacy skills at work; participate in adult education and training and use literacy at home and in the community.’
In 2009 there were reports that “literacy and numeracy remains an increasing challenge, especially at the lower AQF levels”.
That means a significant of Australian employees don’t have the full range of LLN skills they need to do their jobs:
- Some are learning English as a second language. Difficulties with English are often compounded by cultural adjustment and cultural misunderstandings.
- Many others find ways of avoiding LLN. For example, people with activist-relater learning styles normally want to communicate orally and avoid reading and writing as much as possible.
- A few have disabilities, and diagnosis requires specialist advice.
As well, admitting participants who don’t have enough LLN skills for their courses create difficulties for everybody.
- The participants generally do poorly and are more likely to either drop out or be assessed as Not Yet Competent for many units.
- As an instructor, your group is harder to teach because participants have widely varying ability levels, and you must give some participants unreasonable amounts of extra help.
- As an assessor, you will be under pressure to spend lots of effort getting weak participants over the line and to pass borderline participants.
- Other participants get reduced attention because you are propping up participants who shouldn’t have been admitted to the course.
As a result of all that there has been a National Strategy to incorporate LLN into all levels of the AQF. The strategy is based on “Shaping Our Future”,