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Numeracy and literacy training opens doors

Following a number of requests from their outdoor workforce, Southern Downs Regional Councilís Human Resources department set up a numeracy and literacy skills training program, with positive results for all the participants, and for Council.

Many of the requests for assistance came from long-term Council employees who, although entirely competent in their roles, felt they could achieve more if their numeracy and literacy difficulties were addressed.

Council contacted local skills and training provider, the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE (SQIT) (Warwick Campus), to find out what sort of options were available. As a result, SQIT designed and delivered a course specifically aimed at the staff in question and their particular needs. 

SQIT instructor, Merisa Ots and Council Human Resources Officer, Lindsey Frost promoted the course through presentations at Toolbox Talks, visits to staff in the field, and consultation with supervisors. Consequently, interest grew to over 15 participants of varying skill levels, for a course delivered over six months that covered numeracy, literacy and introductory computer skills.

The aim of the course was to provide the employees with the tools to overcome obstacles in the real world. As such, they spent time learning how to complete forms, such as pre-work safety checklists, incident report forms and timesheets, and acquire skills, such as writing a good note, to improve their workplace communication. 

The numeracy component of the course looked at measuring and calculating areas and volumes, which the employees could be expected to do on the job, and provided plenty of Ďcheat cardsí and handy tricks to make their working lives easier.

The computer training component is now being offered, aimed at Council employees who are required to use a computer at work, but who are not familiar with basic computing skills, such as email or word-processing.

One of the participants in the numeracy and literacy course said that he had never done anything as useful as the skills training course: ďIím learning all the stuff I should have learnt at school, but at school, if you didnít get it then, you were just left behind.Ē

According to Merisa Ots, the employees were actively engaged and interactive in the training sessions and everyone jumped in to assist each other complete the exercises and understand the concepts. And Southern Downs Regional Council is thrilled that is has been able to provide its employees with the opportunity to learn some transferable skills, and to ask for and receive valuable support from their colleagues.