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Ever run a site meeting and had the feeling not everyone understands?

Writing off product more often than you’d expect?

Running internal training and puzzled that staff don’t act on key messages or changes in process?


Money Matters learnersWorkplace literacy issues could be at the root of these common problems, which impact productivity.  The good news is there is government funding available to boost the foundation skills of your staff.


There’s a perception that workplace literacy and numeracy are about basic reading writing and maths but the scope is much broader: think all aspects of workplace communication, problem-solving, digital literacy and overall confidence to succeed in a modern job role.


At Upskills we come and speak to your team to understand the impact of literacy and numeracy issues at work.  Then we design tailored solutions to address these issues.


Here’s a few examples of our mahi:


One manufacturing client didn’t feel confident that staff were understanding key metrics presenting at monthly site meetings. It was taken for granted that staff knew the company acronyms, key industry terms and interpreting percentages. Graphs on and important numbers were going over people’s heads.


We tailormade training sessions to address the literacy and numeracy demands of the meeting – from understanding and getting confident with industry acronyms, to reading graphs and interpreting trends, and knowing when the numbers told the story of a good or bad month on the metrics. We added in some confidence to ask questions when you don’t understand, and speaking in front of a large group, and found staff were much more engaged and motivated to move the numbers in a positive direction because they understood the messages coming at them.


Staff weren’t engaging or offering ideas on basic problems at work. They weren’t confident using root cause analysis and Continuous Improvement (CI) tools. Those closest to the issues can provide some of the best solutions and harnessing diversity-of-thought when it comes to whole-of-organisation problem solving, is the most effective approach.  How can you unlock potential and create a solution-focused culture?


We unpacked the CI programme from a literacy and numeracy perspective. Staff had more time to play with tools like the 5-Whys and learn the language of CI. Staff identified an issue they’d like to work through and improve and decide on a solution to trial. Our programmes have been the launchpad for many successful ideas:

  • designing factory induction videos
  • a knife sharpening initiative to reduce waste
  • creating special cleaning tools
  • producing a video Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).


Our client was introducing digital platforms and tablets in the factory, but they knew that for many staff, digital literacy and confidence was low.


We incorporated digital skills into their workplace literacy programme and rolled this out before any planned technology change to reduce anxiety. Staff hit the ground running once the digital programme launched.

Next steps

When your staff are supported to improve their skills, everybody benefits.  Talk to the award-winning team at Upskills to see how this funding could help your organisation.

Call us on 021 969 642.


[This article by Sarah Balfour, originally appeared in FMCG Business magazine March 2021 issue – page 28].

Upskills Ltd.

Address: 93 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Free parking: 120 minutes, Gerrard Beeson Pl.
Phone: 09 622 3979