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Enterprising companies have articulated a vision for AET training in the workplace. Working closely with a competent mathematical and literacy training provider, they have developed a working environment in which learning happens continually.

Together with their ABET provider, forward-thinking companies generate, manage and facilitate English and maths training that produces and sustains high employee commitment. Blue-collar workers are motivated to complete adult basic training because they know that this will help them to grow and develop in their careers. This is incentive enough for dedicated and hard workers to want to participate in upskill training for unskilled workers.

Since economically active adults spend most of their time working, the workplace can also be an important learning environment. Formal education lays the foundations for further learning, including basic skills such as literacy, numeracy and learning theory. However, the workplace brings theory to life. Employees use the basic education skills (“soft skills”) that they learnt during adult basic training to perform their work. They also use them to resolve challenges and interact formally and informally with colleagues or clients. In this way, employees do not only develop job-related skills. They also build basic and transversal proficiencies that facilitate resilience to changes in career and life.

This is why it is so important to partner a mathematical and literacy training provider with experience working with industry. These training service providers offer onsite-based training for employees. Adult basic education is provided to groups of employees on behalf of their employers. Such a company, therefore, has extensive experience providing training for staff development. Even the AET that it offers for the upskilling of communities on behalf of companies is focused on imparting workplace literacy skills. As a specialist work-based training provider, the company has kept pace with skills that are required by modern industries.

The benchmark in AET training

Industry continues to establish the benchmark in AET training. This is to respond to the changing skills needs of the South African economy. Companies now need a very adaptable workforce with a higher level and variety of skills and competencies. Now more than ever, employees require a combination of transversal core skills together with specific job-related proficiencies. They also need to develop their skills further throughout their professional and personal life. Forward-thinking companies know that the onus lies on them to better use the skills and talents off their employees. Importantly, they also accept responsibility for developing “their people” through quality onsite-based training for employees.

There are many traits that define a successful English and maths training programme. This includes the skills and experience of the facilitators of training for staff development. Facilitators of education development for employees know how to teach basic education skills (“soft skills”) to adults. This is important as adults learn differently to children. 

A reputable English and maths training provider will also always undertake an awareness campaign before adult basic education and training. During these sessions, your AET provider will again explain the importance and relevance of completing adult education programmes to your employees. Staff will also be reassured of the support that they will receive from their adult literacy training and numeracy training facilitators and employers. This is despite the challenges that they encounter as they progress through the various ABET training levels. The levels of English and maths training impart literacy and numeracy knowledge incrementally. ABET training level 1 is equivalent to Grade 3 and AET training level 2 is equivalent to Grade 5. ABET training level 3 is the same as Grade 7 and adult education training level 4 equivalent to Grade 9.

Successful AET training

A successful AET training programme is also underpinned by a placement assessment.

In this way, an AET training provider will always ensure that your employees start their learning journey at the correct ABET level. By seamlessly transitioning from their previous educational attainment level into AET training, your employees will be able to cope with the course content. They will also find it interesting and relevant and, therefore, look forward to attending adult basic training classes. Thus, they remain motivated to want to complete English and maths training. This secures your investment in education development for employees.

A reputable mathematical and literacy training provider will undertake a placement assessment at your premises and at time that suits your production schedule. In this way, the ABET provider immediately connects adult literacy training and numeracy training to the workplace. This is important as the main focus of education development for employees is to teach workplace literacy skills.

Placement assessments also enable your work-based learning provider to determine the extent of basic education skills deficiencies in your workplace. Your ABET provider also uses this as an opportunity to better understand what basic education skills (“soft” skills) are required. To develop a professional upskill training for employees, it also needs to know exactly how these proficiencies are used by staff.

Your AET training partner

Thereafter, your AET training partner can help you to establish an all-encompassing foundation for the creation of learning and competence development.

This may also entail structuring work to facilitate adult education programmes. Certainly, it helps when your accredited training provider has a large national footprint, enabling it to conduct adult education and training on site. This does away with the need for employees to travel to a learning centre or the adult education training provider’s premises. This is both costly, inconvenient and time-consuming.

A well-resourced adult education training provider will also be able to accommodate your production schedule. It is very experienced supplying English and maths training to high-performance industries that employ many unskilled or low-skilled employees. These include fast-growing sectors such as transport logistics; mining; and agriculture and agri-processing. Therefore, a work-based learning provider is very aware of the time constraints for training. Notably, this remains a stumbling block, especially for smaller companies that cannot always send key employees to adult basic training. Thus, every adult education and training session should count and education development for employees needs to yield a return quickly.

However, as busy as enterprising companies are, they always make time to train their employees. This is considering the many benefits of education development for employees.

According to HR Magazine [HR Magazine – Home], companies that invest US$1 500 on training per employee, realise about 24% more profit. This is compared to companies that spend less on adult education programmes.

Meanwhile, companies that invest in formalised training experience a 24% higher profit margin that those that do not. This is due to improved productivity; employee engagement; and staff retention, according to a study undertaken by the Association for Talent Development []. Clearly, basic education skills (“soft skills) imparted by upskill training for unskilled employees are important.

AET training is a start

Enterprising companies also ensure that AET training is a sound start of a lifelong learning journey for their employees. Again, this is achieved by consulting the expertise of an experienced mathematical and literacy training provider.

Notably, ABET training is never a one-off event. It is part of an alternative route for all your blue-collar workers to obtain higher level or more relevant skills. Adult literacy training and numeracy training should lead naturally to further participation in learning. In this way, English and maths training contribute to continuous upskilling and reskilling. Without foundational skills taught during basic education for employees, your staff will not be able to continue learning in the workplace. This leaves them vulnerable to the increasing automation and mechanisation of workplaces.

There are different predictions on the extent that low- or medium-skilled work will be impacted by automation and mechanisation. Jobs most at risk are those where 70% can be automated or mechanised. Some work may not be substituted entirely but may experience a significant change in tasks. Refer to promotion-of-adult-learning-in-the-workplace-ET-2020-final-report-Group-on-Adult-learning.pdf.

AET training teaches English literacy

AET training teaches English literacy skills to your employees.

Adult literacy training imparts reading skills. This includes phonemics, an understanding that words consist of individual sounds. It also teaches phonics, the ability to associate letters with sounds. Another important component of reading is fluency. This is an ability to read with speed and expression. Adult literacy training also enhances learners’ vocabulary so that they can understand a broad set of written words. The literacy component of ABET training also teaches reading comprehension skills. This enables an understanding of a text’s messages, main points and details. Participants in the literacy component of adult basic training also develop the motor skills that they need to write clear messages. They practice spelling and grammar so that they know how to structure sentences, as well as use punctuation and parts of speech.

As part of adult literacy training, they also develop the ability to articulate thoughts, arguments and emotions in written form. To hone their verbal communication skills, employees are taught pronunciation so that they articulate words accurately. Furthermore, employees learn active listening skills so that they can focus on what is being communicated without being distracted. They also use this skill to comprehend spoken words, contexts and nuances. Moreover, learners develop their recall skills so that they can remember key points from a discussion.

AET training teaches numeracy skills

The numeracy training component of AET training teaches basic numeracy skills.

Basic numbers skills include an understanding of arithmetic. Learners are taught basic operations, including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They also learn order of operations, which is an ability to solve complex equations with multiple steps. Basic numeracy skills also include a sense of numbers. Employees who have completed adult basic training understand greater and less than and equal relationships. These are also known as numerical relationships.

They also possess knowledge of place value. This is to know the value of digits in a number. Employees have also had ample practice in measurement. During adult education and training, staff learn different units of measurement, such as length, weight and time. They also learn how to convert between units of measurement. Moreover, numeracy training teaches data interpretation skills. Employees who have completed this aspect of adult education programmes will be able to read different types of data representation for meaning. They will also understand statistical concepts, such as mean, median and mode.

AET training hones employees’ skills

AET training, including adult literacy training and numeracy training, hones your employees’ critical, logical and creative thinking skills. These are among the most important basic education skills (“soft skills”) that your employees need to possess to be successful in their careers.

Language and critical thinking skills develop together and nurture each other’s growth during adult education and training. As learners engage in critical thinking during ABET, their language skills expand. This is as they are encouraged to develop and use more complex language. Among others, these include the use of words, such as “because”; phrases with “if” and “then”; and different verb tenses. Conversely, as learners’ language development progresses during adult literacy training, their ability to think critically grows as well.

What is necessary for understanding?

To truly comprehend the meaning of text, employees need to do more than recognise and sound out letters and words during adult basic training. They must also “read between the lines” to determine what is not being communicated. To do this, they must think critically by problem-solving, predicting and explaining.

Meanwhile, one of the primary skills that learners develop through the numeracy training component of ABET training is problem-solving. Maths problems are essentially puzzles that need to be solved using critical thinking skills. During AET training, learners develop the ability to analyse problems; break them down into smaller parts; and find solutions.

The basic numbers skills that employees gain during adult basic training also facilitates logical thinking. During adult basic education, they learn to identify patterns and make plausible connections between different pieces of information.

As part of this subject of adult education programmes, employees also learn how to pay attention to detail. In math, precision and accuracy are critical to arrive at the correct answer. As learners solve maths problems in ABET and hone their basic “numbers” skills, they have to devise creative solutions by thinking “out-the-box”.

AET training programmes are relevant


Importantly, a seasoned mathematical and literacy and training provider will ensure that your AET training programmes are always relevant to the workplace. For example, health and safety protocol can be incorporated into adult literacy training. When employees do writing exercises, they can also learn how to structure an e-mail to their supervisors requesting more information on a task. Active listening practice should include typical verbal instructions that employees will receive from their supervisors. Simulating a typical meeting with employees, such as a “toolbox” talk, when practicing verbal communication during adult basic education is also possible.

During numeracy training, employees should solve maths-related problems that would typically be encountered in their jobs. For example, employees who are being primed to become professional machine operators, should not just learn basic numbers skills during ABET training. They need to be taught how to apply them to, for example, calculate a thread’s pitch diameter after measuring over pins. A competent machine operator may also have to calculate the speed and feed for a cutting tool. Others will eventually use their basic numbers skills to determine the depth of a through hole and calculate the angle of taper on a workpiece. These are just a few examples of typical work-related problems that can be incorporated into the numeracy training component of ABET.

Discuss the details of the curricula for upskill training for unskilled employees with your mathematical and literacy training provider. Suggest ways of improving training for staff development so that it meets your unique needs. A seasoned mathematical and literacy training provider knows that basic education skills (“soft” skills) requirements differ from one company to the next. Therefore, basic education for employees needs to be adapted to the environment.

Consult your AET provider

Also consult your AET training provider to help you to determine a lifelong learning pathway for your employees. A competent work-based training provider will be able to guide your employees during and after ABET on the next steps in their learning journey.  

Employees who have completed training for staff development will hold an adult education and training level 4 certificate.

An ABET level 4 certificate is is registered on the National Qualifications Framework at Level 1. Refer to Fact-Sheet-SAQA-FPI.pdf for more reading on the NQF.

The adult basic training qualification is issued by Umalusi [] and is part of the General Education and Training band. Refer to,be%20registered%20through%20the%20WCED.

The next logical step is for your employees is to complete an adult matric, which is at a NQF level 4. This level of qualification signifies a basic understanding of a subject area and the acquisition of basic education skills (“soft skills”). Thus, it serves as a stepping stone to higher education and training.

Other qualifications that are on the same level include a Senior Certificate and National Senior Certificate (Vocational). Refer to and,%20bu.pdf.

Irrespective of the type of qualification, reaching NQF Level 4 denotes an ability to think critically, logically and creatively. Therefore, employees with an NQF Level 4 qualification can solve problems and work under pressure. Their mastery of basic education skills (“soft skills”) also enables them to keep pace with new technologies and working procedures.

Worryingly, educational attainment among employed South Africans remains low. Only 12,2% held a degree and 10,8% a diploma or certificate in 202. Worryingly, just 34,4% had completed secondary schooling that year. This amounted to 6,2-million individuals without basic education skills (“soft” skills) and, therefore, in desperate need of adult basic education. Refer to

Workplace AET training

Workplace AET training is, therefore, a way for companies to also play a role in raising the level of education of South Africans.

It is a significant undertaking that cannot be shouldered by government, alone. Meanwhile, it is also widely acknowledged that the private sector’s adult basic education programmes have been more successful than those driven by state. Certainly, this can be attributed to the exceptionally high quality of training provided by companies, which prefer to outsource this to an ABET provider. It makes sense to outsource a specialised field, non-core activity, such as adult education and training, to an expert. Such a mathematical and literacy training provider is accredited by Umalusi to offer professional AET training services. Refer to Accreditation – Umalusi.

The Census 2022 revealed that there were more than 18,5-million South African adults who did not complete their secondary school education. Worryingly, black and coloured South Africans are the most likely to not have finished school due to an array of circumstances. Many of these relate to poverty and, therefore, the inability to access a quality basic education. These citizens, therefore, lack basic education skills (“soft” skills).

According to the census, less than 10% of these citizens have completed tertiary education. Refer to

Therefore, basic education for employees is also an important means of redress. As such, companies that invest in proper ABET training earn points towards their broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) scorecards. This is in line with the Skills Development element of the B-BBEE scorecard. The first two elements measure monetary spend on previously disadvantaged employees. Meanwhile, the third gauges the number of previously disadvantaged employees who are enrolled in learnerships and/or structured work-based learning programmes. This is as defined in the Learning Programme Matrix. Refer to

Employees who complete AET training

Employees who complete quality AET training have the potential to rise up the ranks and assume more responsibility that comes with higher wages. By addressing deficiencies in their basic education skills, they also improve their employability. The transformation potential of proper adult education programmes, as a type of skills development, cannot be overstated.

Moreover, the benefits of basic education for employees transcend the workplace.

Participation in basic education for employees improves people’s perceptions of their own health. In turn, this increases their life satisfaction and stimulates self-confidence.

In general, adult education and training can lead to an improved disposition to voluntary and community activities. This is in addition to improved civic attitudes and political participation. As a result, completing adult basic training can also result in improved engagement with community and in civic activity. Furthermore, ABET develops basic work habits and an occupational identity.

Investment into quality AET training

However, it is not only employees who benefit from companies’ investment into quality AET training for employees. Equipping employees with basic education skills (“soft” skills) also stimulates larger industries and the South African economy. This is considering that countries with higher skills levels are more competitive. Moreover, participation in ABET training by employed citizens leads to higher gross-domestic product per resident. By transferring some of the responsibilities of AET from government to the private sector, state resources can be used for other pressing matters. Moreover, education development for employees increases the adaptability of the workforce to better prepare for future skills requirements and the evolving employment landscape. This mitigates skills shortages that limit South Africa’s productivity, innovation and modernisation.

Countries with higher basic education skills (“soft” skills) experience increased involvement in volunteering activities. They also have a greater level of political interests. This includes higher voting rates and increased levels of trust in the political system which, in turn, contributes towards social cohesion in communities.

Notably, adult education and training develops an important foundation for social integration and participation of all persons, particularly vulnerable groups, in society. In turn, this promotes social inclusion by offering all citizens an attractive entry route into training and development.

Companies invest in AET training

However, the biggest incentive for companies to invest in AET training is the immense contribution that it makes to business performance. This on its own is sufficient motivation to spend time and money on education development of employees. At the same time, companies improve their B-BBEE credentials for their commitment to developing the basic education skills (“soft” skills) of previously disadvantaged employees.

Basic education for employees addresses skills shortages that delay the development of new products and/or services. This hinders companies’ ability to compete in markets.

Participation in ABET training stimulates employees’ self-confidence and commitment to their companies. Because they believe that they are being presented an adequate opportunity for personal and professional development, employees are more likely to be loyal. This leads to a higher rate of staff retention, reducing costs associated with hiring new employees.

Adult education and training also helps employees to adapt to new processes or machinery. It reduces machinery breakdown rates and incidents in the workplace, while also improving productivity, efficiency and accuracy of your workforce.

Learn more about Triple E Training and our quality upskill training for unskilled workers.

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Unlock the Full Potential of Your Employees. Leave your details & our team get back to you.

Note: Please be assured that all personal data submitted is handled with the utmost confidentiality & will only be used for the purpose of addressing your inquiries.