Skills Highway DOL Website

( Kiwi companies are making promising inroads into the country’s poor rate of adult literacy – now there’s a website to help others do the same.

The Department of Labour’s new Skills Highway website profiles New Zealand businesses who’ve spent the last few years trying and testing workplace literacy training.

“The beauty of the website is that it’s based in the real world. The advice, tools, case studies and tips come from real workplaces and reflect the real-life experiences of employers and employees around the country,” says Benedikte Jensen, Head of Labour Market Information at the Department of Labour.

She says: “It’s got a wealth of information and ideas about getting started from big, national companies like Fletcher Construction, Downer EDI, Spotless Services and Millennium Hotels and Resorts. Yet we also hear from smaller firms like Canterbury Spinners, a yarn production business in Christchurch, on how to deliver effective training when you’re up against different shift patterns and round-the-clock operations.

“We’ve made the site as interactive as possible too, giving employers the chance to identify their businesses’ reading, writing and maths needs and look at each step involved in setting up training.

“Our aim isn’t to suggest there’s a panacea out there. Instead it’s to share information about what’s working well and why from people at the coalface of workplace literacy training, recognising that, in many ways, they’re important pioneers in this field,” says Ms Jensen.

Research shows about four in every 10 New Zealand employees have difficulties with reading, maths and communication. New Zealand’s poor adult literacy rates have long been considered a serious issue that costs business through accidents and injuries, high wastage, mistakes, missed deadlines and low productivity.

A range of companies and business groups have worked closely with the Department of Labour to develop the website, including Business New Zealand, the Industry Training Federation and the Council of Trade Unions.

Skills Highway can be found at:

Media Release 9 June 2010 from Department of Labour.