Close to 1 million working age adults in New Zealand lack the literacy and numeracy skills needed to function in a modern workplace.
To put it another way, about 4 in 10 (that's 2 in 5) adults have difficulties with reading, writing, maths and communication.
These results may seem far-fetched but they're backed up by research (2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey) - and their impact is very real.
Poor adult literacy rates cost New Zealand businesses daily through accidents and injuries, as well as millions of dollars in wastage, mistakes, missed deadlines and low productivity.
The Skills Highway programme (part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment - Labour) champions the benefits of workplace literacy training, and aims to connect employers to resources that will help them, principally through <a href="http://www.skillshighway.govt.nz">www.skillshighway.govt.nz</a>.
The Skills Highway Award is also one of five categories in the annual ANZ New Zealand & EEO Trust Work & Life Awards 2012. The awards celebrate employers who make the most of New Zealand's increasingly diverse workforce. Winners will be announced on 30th August 2012.
The Award entrants are proof that workplace literacy training can make a difference. Ten businesses are in the running for the fourth annual Skills Highway Award. The companies represent a range of industries, and vary widely in size from 100 to 10,000+ employees.
Entrants are: Acma Industries Ltd, City Care, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Creative Abilities & Associates Ltd, Hansells Food Group Ltd, Metal Skills, OceanaGold Corporation, Snap Fresh Foods, Spotless and Thames Timber.
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