Building literacy through apprenticeships

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Research shows that around half of New Zealand’s trade and construction industry workers have difficulty with reading, writing and basic numeracy.
We know that trades are attractive to people who are “hands on” and don’t necessarily enjoy traditional education.
Many businesses have employees who feel they don’t have the academic skills yet they are great at their job and have a wide range of practical skills and knowledge.

Reducing the barriers

The BCITO is working to reduce the barriers which are preventing people from starting or continuing a qualification.
Literacy is often best developed in a context which is meaningful, and for many adults this is the workplace. The BCITO is working to embed literacy and numeracy into its qualifications and learning resources, making it easier for apprentices who struggle with formal learning to gain qualifications.

Every BCITO apprentice has a dedicated training advisor who is trained to spot potential literacy issues, and who knows how to access specialist providers so that apprentices have the support they need to complete their programme.

Early screening and evaluation

This support includes early screening and evaluation to indicate if apprentices have the literacy skills needed to complete their qualification and work productively in the industry.
Training advisors can anticipate where apprentices might encounter difficulties, and craft a learning plan to provide additional support in targeted areas. This can include one-on-one tutoring by literacy experts.

The BCITO has worked with literacy experts Workbase to identify the core literacy tasks and skills used by people working in a range of roles in the concrete and carpentry industries.
These profiles map the skills an apprentice will have at the completion of their qualification, and are a useful guide for an employer when looking at upskilling workers.

The BCITO is also developing what it calls foundation-level qualifications. Currently available in the cement and concrete sector, apprentices focus on core knowledge and skills, gaining confidence in their ability and consequently taking the first step in a career pathway which involves higher and trades-level qualifications.

Employers of our current trainees believe that encouraging their employees to take the next step and become qualified increases their skills and knowledge, builds their confidence and makes them more likely to stay in their current job.
If your employees aren’t undertaking a qualification, encourage them to give the BCITO a call on 0800 4BCITO (0800 422 486) to discuss their potential.