Recent papers and responses

National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults

The National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults was launched on 28 September 2012 by the Hon Sharon Bird MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills.

The National Strategy focuses on improving outcomes for working age Australians (aged 15-64 years) with a view to moving more people to higher levels, but with a particular focus on those with low levels of foundation skill proficiency. Australian governments have set an aspirational target for the National Strategy that by 2022, two thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at Level 3 or above.

Download the Strategy

Read ACAL's response

ACAL’s response to 'Creating a more flexible LLNP in 2013-16'

The Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP), through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education has released a Discussion Paper on LLNP service delivery entitled, Creating a more flexible LLNP in 2013-16.

See the detailed ACAL responses to the questions raised by DIIRSTE in the Discussion Paper.

Recent National Reports

Building the foundations: outcomes from the adult language, literacy and numeracy search conference - NCVER

Following on from the May 2010 announcement of a $120 million investment by the Australian Government in adult literacy and numeracy activities, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) hosted a forum on behalf of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations on 13 September 2010 to explore these questions and to determine what needs to be done to find the answers.

This paper presents a summary of those discussions and recommendations for future action.

Training packages and Foundation Skills

This report 'Foundation Skills in VET Products for the 21st Century' comments on the design of Training Packages in relation to the effective delivery of Foundation Skills. More

Apprenticeships for the 21st Century Final Report

There are many references to Language, Literacy and Numeracy and Foundation Skills. You many find this helpful in judging the directions for LLN in lower level VET. More

National VET Equity Advisory Council

The National VET Equity Advisory Council (NVEAC) is responsible for providing advice on the reforms and actions needed across the vocational education and training (VET) system to support equity and inclusiveness for all learners in VET.

Equity Blueprint 2011-2016 - Creating Futures: Achieving Potential through VET

NVEAC also commissioned a short briefing paper on foundations skills developed by Louise Wignall and Anita Roberts. This paper gives background information on key issues such as how these skills are defined, how they are being delivered, who gets access to training in these skills and outcomes being achieved.

Briefing on Foundation Skills

Australian workforce futures: a national workforce development strategy

Skills Australia

This paper reports on recommendations for a fundamental overhaul in the way the nation approaches and supports workforce development, at a national, industry and enterprise level. The vision for this strategy is that Australia has the workforce capability it requires for a productive, sustainable and inclusive future, and that Australian enterprises have the capacity to develop and use the skills of their workforce to maximum advantage for the benefit of industry and the community. The key aspects addressed by the paper are: (1) meeting Australia's future skills and workforce demands; (2) raising workforce participation; (3) improving adult language, literacy and numeracy skills; (4) better using skills to increase productivity; (5) enhancing the capability of the tertiary education sector; and (6) creating a shared agenda on workforce futures. Several appendices are included, covering: preliminary costing of recommendations; the consultation process; specialised occupations; regional workforce participation; international examples; workforce development case studies; and a national reform agreement for Australian workforce development.

Creating a future direction for Australian vocational education and training: a discussion paper on the future of the VET system

Skills Australia

Fundamental changes to vocational education, including a user-pays funding model, a transformed apprenticeship system and the partial merger of TAFEs and universities, have been put forward by Skills Australia in this discussion paper. The paper describes vocational training as a system suffering from declining funding, stagnant enrolments and a lack of national co-ordination. In the paper, Skills Australia has put forward a range of options including: (1) a transformed funding model which would effectively make students and business the main source of income; (2) a restructure of the apprenticeship system - the new system would focus on boosting the 50 per cent student completion rate by offering personalised advice and career mentoring, the option of a pre-apprenticeship program to help course selection, and assessment based on competence rather than 'doing the time'; (3) the possibility of blurring the lines between TAFEs and universities, including the creation of polytechnic colleges. It may also include more dual-sector institutions, especially if students demand better pathways between vocational education and higher education. Alternatively, vocational education providers may increase their entry into the degree area.

National Workforce Literacy Project :Report  on Employers Views on Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Skills

Australian Industry Group

AiG received funding from DEEWR to conduct a project looking at employers’ perspectives on workforce  literacy and numeracy.

Recent Research Reports from NCVER


Blind date: an exploration of potential partnerships between literacy teachers and community service workers

Ann Leske

Partnerships between literacy teachers and community service workers have the potential to engage people with low literacy levels in learning. Through interviews and surveys with these two groups, this paper explores their views on literacy, how it impacts on their work, and their ideas about partnerships with each other. Overall, partnerships are viewed more favourably by literacy teachers than community service workers. In addition, if partnerships are to proceed, both groups need to develop a greater awareness and appreciation for each other's roles. This research was undertaken by a novice researcher in the Community of Practice Program and was funded as part of NCVER's Building Researcher Capacity initiative.

Breaking down the barriers: strategies to assist apprentices with a learning disability

Sandra Cotton

Apprentices with a learning disability can face significant barriers to completing their training. This paper explores what these apprentices, their lecturers and disability support staff see as the most effective strategies for helping them to overcome these difficulties. Instructional approaches which accommodate students' learning styles, individual tutoring and supportive relationships were endorsed by all groups as effective. This research was undertaken by a novice researcher in the Community of Practice scholarship program, which is funded through NCVER's Building Researcher Capacity initiative.

Bringing a social capital approach into the teaching of adult literacy and numeracy: Good practice guide


This good practice guide is based on research that looked at how to teach adult literacy and numeracy using a social capital approach. The guide suggests ways VET practitioners can adopt a social capital approach to their teaching practice. A social capital approach refers to the process in which networks are drawn on or created during the various stages of the literacy and numeracy  program. The guide also outlines indicators of social capital outcomes.

Earlier reports

'Adult literacy - a crucial part of the education revolution'

Media release November 2007 (PDF 100KB)

'Moving forward: Towards a Literate Australia'

An ACAL Position Paper on the 2006 Adult Literacy and Lifeskills survey

Prepared by Dave Tout (2007) (PDF 400KB)

'….. and literacy beyond the classroom'

ACAL’s approach to literacy as both lifelong and lifewide.

Paper presented by Dr Pauline O'Maley to the ACAL Conference in New Zealand (Sept 2007) (PDF 80KB)

Community Education and National Reform

Discussion paper 2007 (PDF 700KB)

ACAL Response 2007 (PDF 565KB)

TAA Advanced Diploma of LLN practice

ACAL's response (June 2004) (HTML)

Senate Inquiry into the progress and future directions of life-long learning

ACAL Submission (June 2004) (PDF 104KB)

Literate Australia: A whole life approach

Report No 1: Taking literacy to fresh fields

By Jane Figgis, AAAJ Consulting Group (September 2004) (PDF 400KB)

'A Literate Australia'

National Position Paper on the Future Adult Literacy and Numeracy Needs of Australia (2001) (PDF 280KB)

'Surveys and Beyond: The case for adult literacy'

National surveys and national campaigns paper

(Undated paper likely June 2001) HTML

'Literacy and youth'

In this paper ACAL shares the results of independent research commissioned to explore issues relating to literacy and current youth policy initiatives (2001) (280KB)

'Literacy and Lifelong Learning: Social Justice for all?'

Occasional paper by Chris Sidoti, Visiting Professor, School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University speaking at ACAL Forum, Sydney 15 June 2001 (PDF 140KB)


2012 National Year of Reading

The Year of Reading