Workplace Literacy and Numeracy

What is workplace literacy & numeracy?

Workplace literacy and numeracy refer to all the reading, writing, speaking, listening, numeracy and problem-solving skills an individual needs to do their job effectively.


By the Tertiary Education Commission


In the workplace

NZQA qualification

Depends, Level 2 and Level 3 certificates are able to be embedded in these programmes

Best for

Operational staff looking to build confidence in communicating, reading, writing and numeracy


25-80 hours

2024 Funding panel dates

Friday 14 June 2024
Friday 9 August 2024
Friday 11 October 2024

New Zealand research indicates that using this definition, four out of ten of our workers have a literacy and/or numeracy gap.

The links between increased literacy levels and productivity are clear. So our government has made it easier for organisations to run programmes on-site by fully funding this training.

Staff who have been through this type of programme are generally more assertive and participative in health and safety matters. They are more engaged with quality issues and processes. They also communicate better with team members and managers.

This means they are then better equipped to deal with the daily problems that can occur when working as part of a team.

Depending on the needs of your team, we can incorporate TetraMap® a tool to help us make our courses even more effective at improving communication skills.

Upskills can take the hassle out of the funding application process. We can project manage the whole process from start to finish. If you think literacy and numeracy gaps might be having an impact on your business, act now.


Find out how Dempsey Wood Civil learners benefit from Upskills Literacy and Numeracy training during downtime over the winter months.

Book an audit

Get in touch with us at Upskills to request a Communications Analysis. This free audit will help you understand how you could use this government funding to boost employees’ core skills and boost your business at the same time.


Literacy - doesn't that mean reading and writing? My staff all know how to read.

Literacy in this context means all the skills employees need to communicate effectively at work.

This may mean giving instructions to a co-worker, filling out a near-miss form correctly, or understanding the important messages at a health and safety briefing.

It also includes working with technology, using problem-solving tools and critical thinking.

How much does a programme like this cost?

The government funds this work because of the connection between improved literacy and numeracy and workplace productivity.

Specialist providers such as Upskills project manage the entire programme on an employer’s behalf.

What type of content is covered?

Each programme is tailored to meet the individual workplace’s needs. There’s no off-the-shelf textbook, rather the goals for the programme are decided at the outset.

Trainers then work with company forms, documents and processes to cover communication-based content that is useful and relevant.

How can it help with health and safety?

By making sure that staff are familiar and confident with health and safety-related vocabulary and signage.

By helping staff understand the rationale behind health and safety forms and procedures. And helping them to feel more confident communicating assertively about health and safety.

How do we know if we need this type of training at our company?

Gaps in literacy and/or numeracy can show up in surprising ways. Waste levels can be higher than they should be due to skill gaps in numeracy, for instance. Another example is getting limited feedback from staff at meetings when you know your team has good ideas or solutions to bring forward.

Misunderstanding verbal or written instructions, (internal) customer frustrations and incomplete form filling are a few more examples of how this issue can impact a business.


Find out more