Workplace literacy – what is it, and why does it matter? 

Workplace literacy – what is it, and why does it matter? 

It’s not just reading and writing – it’s the confidence to speak up at work, and apply problem-solving to issues as well as on-job numeracy and digital skills. 

Why does it matter? In New Zealand, 43% of us do not have functional literacy for everyday life. The impact on the economy is estimated at 2% of GDP – that comes out at a huge $6.8 billion at the last count.      

Organisations that engage with workplace literacy and numeracy programmes:

  • Improve employee engagement and wellbeing
  • Lift foundation skills, which improves productivity
  • Create a learning culture
  • Grow skills so that a talent pipeline exists for succession planning (particularly topical given talent shortages due to Covid)
  • Improve health and safety outcomes

Check out just a few of the improvements that have come out of some of Upskills’ workplace literacy projects:

  • 90% reduction in waste product for a food manufacturing client through a simple zero cost redesign using scrap metal
  • A redesign of machine covers and a switch from plastic to canvas created cost reductions of $90,000 per year (not to mention the environmental savings of reduced plastic).
  • A sort and tidy initiative that meant stock to fix parts was closer to hand, saving $28,000 a year in lost time and transport.

This important work is government funded – talk to Upskills about how a workplace literacy programme could be the boost your organisation needs to succeed in 2022.

Phone: 09 622 3979 | website: | email:

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