VFLC pushes scheme to prevent work diary breaches


VFLC pushes a pilot program to train workers in basic literacy and numeracy skills to avoid costly work diary offences

By Ruza Zivkusic | November 4, 2011

Truck drivers may soon need to go back to basics to lift flagging literacy and numeracy skills to prevent work diary breaches.

The Victorian Freight and Logistics Council (VFLC) is pushing for a pilot program to train workers in basic literacy and numeracy skills to avoid costly work diary offences. If successful, the pilot will then be rolled out across Victoria, VFLC says.

The VFLC recently met with Skills Victoria to discuss how transport and logistics companies in Gippsland could be better supported in training and up-skilling staff.

"One prevalent problem is the literacy and numeracy of transport drivers. We were advised of Victorian and Transport and Industry Skills Council programs to tackle this problem which affects the accurate completion of work diaries," the VFLC says.

"Discussion is underway on a pilot to train drivers in these basic literacy and numeracy skills. While helping to improve this, it may avoid costly work diary offences, often in excess of $600."

The move comes as a survey by the Industry Skills Councils (ISC) reveals more than half of workers in the industry struggle with numeracy skills, while 46 percent have difficulty with reading and 13 percent are classified in the lowest literacy category.

According to the survey, the mindset of employers and employees needs to change to improve language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills.

"The LLN performance of Australian students has, over the past decade, worsened in comparison to other countries," the survey says.

"LLN issues and challenges manifest differently in different industries and workplaces but some similar challenges are faced across all counties.

"They include inadequately prepared workforce, increasing use of technology, increasing compliance requirements and a demand for higher level skills."

The responsibility for building the LLN skills of Australians should be shared by industry and all education sectors, the survey suggests.

A survey of adult literacy in Australia conducted 20 years ago has shown a significant proportion of Australian adults from both English-speaking and non-English speaking backgrounds could not read and write well enough to participate effectively in work and training. Two further surveys, in 1996 and 2006, have since confirmed those initial findings.

The assessment of what the findings meant 20 years ago is different to what is required today as low-skilled work to greater knowledge-based work has increased the need for workers with good writing and reading skills.

"Rapid changes in technology have triggered the creation of new business models, systems and processes that require considerable and ongoing up-skilling of the workforce," the survey says.

"In addition, the ageing of the Australian workforce has put pressure on employers to retain and re-skill older workers."

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