International Workforce Literacy Review: Australia
Appendix D: WELL programme case studies
Case study 1: Small scale aged care IT training for staff
Basic ICT training needs have been identified from a new information technology system to be used throughout the organisation in aged care. The system involves staff input in facilitating assessment, care plans, progress notes, forms, and appointment management and reporting. Workplace training is proposed integrating LL&N skills with the ICT training using the competency: 'BSBCMN 206A Process and Maintain Workplace Information'. High numbers of staff require additional LLN assistance.
It involves 32 hours direct teaching time and two trainers—one an IT expert, the other an LLN expert
Total budget: approx $16,000 ($12,000 WELL, $4000 aged care facility).
Approximate cost per participant: $350
Case study 2: Large WELL project $200,000+
An enterprise-based teacher was onsite at a manufacturing workplace two days a week for a year. Support given by the EBT included:
Plain English workshops
Plain English workshops were delivered across the factory from supervisory staff to senior management in order to improve the communication flow from the top down. This strategy is an extremely important one so that memos, notices, flyers, reports and instructions etc are written in a clear, concise and interesting format to assist those with limited language and literacy skills. Staff who attended the workshops have stated that they now think very carefully before typing their message. Some feedback was ‘It changes the way you think’ and ‘Everyone should attend the workshop.’
‘Language of instruction’ workshops
‘Language of instruction’ workshops were held to assist those writing instructions using a new procedure writing computer program. Operators needed support to write clear and succinct instructions. Staff are now writing more effective instructions.
New noticeboard layout
The EBT set up a new noticeboard layout which informs employees about their performance in the areas of quality, cost and service information. Training was also delivered to the team leaders to assist them to communicate the noticeboard information to their team members by breaking the information up into smaller chunks, explaining and involving their team members in weekly discussions and checking for uinderstanding.
The EBT made sure complicated productivity headings had a plain English version (for example 'Customer DIFOTQ—Giving our customers what they want'. All graphs on the noticeboard followed a graph template in order to display the graphical information in a simple way. The graph also included a summary of the issues, wins and action plan to assist employees who find graphs difficult to read. Team members commented on how the graph summaries helped them understand the graph and clearly showed what they could do to improve productivity.
Workshops on effective written communication
Delivery of workshops on effective written communication to operational staff, focusing on writing emails. Most operational staff have limited written skills and all benefited from the workshop, which focused on the principles of effective communication—purpose, audience, content, staging, language choices, layout and surface features.
New assessment documents
The EBT developed three new assessment documents with the area leaders, using plain English principles, to improve the area leaders’ assessment documentation.
Individual computer support
The EBT has developed the computer skills of employees by providing individual computer support at times convenient to the employee. Many operational staff have very limited computer skills but are being required to use computers more and more in order to participate in continuous improvement teams. In the teams they are required to create complicated Excel spreadsheets using formulas, send emails, book meeting rooms etc
Developing team leader skills
The EBT has supported NESB operational staff to develop team leader skills in Continuous Improvement Teams called Team Charters. The EBT worked with the team leaders to develop the following skills:
- running effective meetings/writing minutes
- leading problem-solving sessions using a tool called 5 Why Analysis
- creating graphs and spreadsheets to display productivity data
- verbally presenting continuous improvement information to auditors in a clear logical manner
The EBT also supported NESB operational staff who attending accredited training in certificate 11 in Engineering. The EBT assisted with:
- the understanding of complicated workplace, health and safety information
- completing workbooks
- discussing topics
- writing short answers and instructions
- exam preparation
Participant case study: Rosalind’s story
Rosalind Stiffle is a carer who works for Scalabrini Village. Scalabrini is an aged care facility that specifically caters for Sydney’s Italian migrant population. Rosalind had worked for Scalabrini for about 30 years since she moved to Australia from India. (I think she had done some sort of nursing training in India as a nun.)
In her presentation Rosalind reported being terrified when she was told that computers would be introduced to the workplace as a means of recording all of the information that carers and other staff had previously put into written reports. She said she was ‘doubly terrified’ when she was offered computer training. But the WELL trainer soon made everyone feel comfortable and encouraged by their ability to make progress. They were shown how the new system, wasn’t really that different to the old one, and that they already had a lot of the skills they needed to complete the reports.
Now Rosalind has rediscovered her love of learning, something that she hadn’t expected at her age. She loves using the computer to find new information. She often prints out things she has found online to share with other members of staff. She also mentors new staff and helps them with using the computer. Her revitalised interest in learning has inspired Rosalind to start learning Italian so that she can communicate with Scalabrini’s residents in their own language. (People from NESB tend to revert more and more to their first language as they age, and so even residents who could speak English well can be more comfortable speaking Italian in the aged care facility.)
Scalabrini Village used the WELL programme to support training in a wide range of nationally accredited qualifications. In January 2005, 47% of direct-care staff had a basic industry qualification, one lifestyle/recreational staff member out of a total of 17 had an appropriate qualification, and 12% of catering staff had a basic industry qualification. In January 2007 these numbers had changed:
- 78%of direct care staff have the basic industry qualification (certificate 3 in aged care work)
- 90% of lifestyle/recreational staff have completed, or are completing a certificate 4 in lifestyle and leisure
- 84% of catering staff have completed a basic industry qualification (certificate 3 in catering operations).