ABET or adult basic education and training equips your employees with essential basic maths and English literacy skills. However, it is the approach taken by your accredited training provider that will determine whether your ABET or adult basic education and training programmes are a resounding success or not. For example, an experienced accredited training provider will always ensure that your low-skilled employees understand the importance of participating in ABET or adult basic education and training. This is why Triple E Training, a leading accredited training provider, always undertakes an on-site awareness campaign ahead of its ABET or adult basic education and training assignments. It is an important means of motivating your low skilled employees to want to complete all four levels of our ABET or adult basic education and training. Your low skilled employees need to understand that they are being given a tremendous opportunity to grow and develop their careers and as individuals outside the world of work. This is considering that basic maths and English literacy are the absolute minimum skills that people need to perform their jobs to the best of their ability to rise up the ranks and to function effectively in their communities and society at large.
ABET for skills development
Adult basic education and training or “ABET” is an important component of any skills development plan. It is for this reason that enterprising companies select their accredited training providers very carefully. There are a number of factors that they consider when appointing an accredited training provider. One of these is whether the accredited training provider undertakes an on-site awareness campaign ahead of ABET or adult basic education and training. This is to explain to low skilled employees why they were selected to participate in ABET or adult basic education and training and how they will benefit from improving their basic maths and English literacy skills. When your low skilled employees understand the reason for participating in ABET or adult basic education and training, they are more likely to complete the course.
This is to acquire essential basic maths and English literacy skills within a reasonable timeframe. Depending on their basic maths and English literacy proficiencies, your low skilled employees will have to complete four levels of ABET or adult basic education and training. This excludes pre-ABET or pre-adult basic education and training, which some employees may have to complete to better prepare them for their learning journey. This is because their basic maths and English literacy skills are very poor. Our placement assessments will help you to determine the extent of the basic maths and English literacy skills deficiencies in your organisation and at what level your low skilled employees need to start their learning journey. A placement assessment and on-site awareness campaign are, therefore, both vital pillars of a sound ABET or adult basic education and training programme. They pave the way forward for a successful ABET or adult basic education and training outcome.
COMMUNICATING WITH LOW SKILLED EMPLOYEES
Employees play a significant role in influencing the outcome of your projects. It is, therefore, important that you are able to communicate strategically and with purpose in the workplace. This will help them work towards a common purpose and shared organisational goals. Moreover, effective communication in the workplace allows all employees to stay informed, while also keeping them engaged and eager to contribute to the company’s success.
There are ways of improving your communication, especially with low skilled employees to avoid misunderstandings. They are as follows:
- Be clear and concise: Avoid overwriting and using technical jargon that could lead to confusion. This is a basic mistake that many managers still make when communicating with their low skilled employees. Also clearly outline your expectations to further avoid misunderstandings.
- Set the tone at the top: Senior staff will always set the tone of communication in your organisation, while also being visible and accessible. More companies are increasingly adopting an “open-door” policy that enables all staff, including low skilled employees, access to senior management. In this way, you are demonstrating that there is a strong correlation between strategic employee communication and the achievement of organisational goals.
- Understand your low skilled employees: You will communicate differently with your low skilled employees than you do with more proficient and senior members of staff. It is, therefore, important to regularly survey your employee base to find out if staff are receiving the information that they need to perform their jobs effectively. While you may communicate differently to your unskilled employees, avoid being condescending as this will demotivate them. Just because your low skilled employees are not functionally literate does not imply that they are not intelligent. There are many legitimate reasons for them having not completed their basic education to acquire basic maths and English literacy skills. This is especially so in South Africa with its complicated background that has also left lasting legacies. These include challenges that continue to contribute to the very high school drop-out rate in the country. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/02/south-africa-broken-and-unequal-education-perpetuating-poverty-and-inequality/ provides an understanding of the extent of the crisis in our basic education system. Certainly, the report also demonstrates the importance of adult English literacy and basic maths training in the workplace. For further reading on the subject, refer to https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/339291529320964248/pdf/127304-Education-in-South-Africa.pdf.
- Use different channels of communication: Employees need to hear and see a message multiple times and in different ways to better understand it. Messages should, therefore, be communicated verbally, in writing, face-to-face, during meetings and digitally. Importantly, the message needs to be consistent across all of these communication channels.
- Employees should always be notified first of important developments. Always think of your employees first when communicating important information. Staff, including your low skilled employees, are a vital component of your business. They should, therefore, not have to hear an important message regarding their place of work from your clients or customers, supply chain partners or contractors, or the media, among others.
- Match your actions with words: Always follow through with your actions. This is to avoid undermining your credibility. In this way, your low skilled employees will believe and take your communications seriously.
- Emphasise face-to-face communication: Despite the abundance of communication methods available, most workers, including your low skilled employees, want to hear messages from their supervisors, managers and other higher-ups.
- Communicate regularly: It is important that you are always systematic and strategic in your communication. Establish dates when you will communicate with your team members by newsletter, email or a scheduled meeting, among others.
- Measure the effectiveness of your communication: Set objectives for your communication strategy and regularly assess whether you have attained them. Also ask for feedback from your employees as to whether communication is being undertaken effectively.
- Facilitate conversation: One-way communication is no longer the preferred option in modern workplaces. This is because employees who feel listened to will have enhanced feelings of trust. There are many ways that you can facilitate two-way communication. This includes though face-to-face meetings, interactive video interviews, employee surveys, question and answer features on the intranet and suggestion boxes.
ABET that is relevant
Once you have selected the low skilled employees who require urgent training intervention via a placement assessment, they need to be focused, determined and motivated to want to succeed in acquiring essential workplace literacy skills. If they do not understand the relevance of acquiring basic maths and English literacy skills, your low skilled employees will not complete their training. In fact, this has contributed to the very high drop-out rate of state-driven ABET or adult basic education and training programmes. Very little – if any – focus is placed on ensuring that learners understand the relevance of ABET or adult basic education and training. Participants are also usually randomly selected for training and placed at the incorrect ABET or adult basic education and training level. This is because a placement assessment was not undertaken before the basic maths and English literacy training. Learners, therefore, often find the training too complicated or easy.
Because they are not being stimulated, learners drop out of their basic maths and English literacy training. http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/review/hsrc-review-jan-march-2018/adult-education-and-training provides information on the many challenges that continue to plague state driven ABET or adult basic education and training programmes that companies need to avoid at all costs. The worrying findings also point to the role that the private sector can play in helping government shoulder the burden of imparting basic maths and English literacy skills to many citizens of the country that have not had the opportunity to complete their basic education. Many will agree that it is better equipped to do so.
MEASURING THE EFFICACY OF WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION
There are many ways to determine whether your internal communication is effective. They are as follows:
- Review responses and feedback from employees by using surveys: In these surveys, ensure the anonymity of your employees so that they have the confidence to share information freely with management that will help improve communication in the workplace. The survey must also be clear and to the point by asking the correct questions. Also make space available for employees to comment and provide feedback on how to improve your internal communication.
- Monitor your low skilled employees’ engagement with various forms of internal communications: Many companies are using click-through rate and forwarded emails and shares on social media to measure the engagement levels of their employees. Certainly, it is a very positive sign if employees share positive news about the company with other employees, as well as their friends and families or even ask their managers for more information on the development. It means that your communication is being understood.
- Monitor your staff turnover rate, particularly among low skilled employees: Employees who lack communication skills are usually not as engaged.They are not aligned to your mission, vision and purpose because they do not understand them. It is certainly not because they are not interested in being part of the team. This means that they will feel excluded. Their lack of basic maths and English literacy skills also means that they will struggle to do their work properly and, therefore, experience more stress in the workplace. Because they are unhappy at work, they will eventually leave.
Monitor your low skilled employees’ performance routinely. Regular mistakes and misunderstandings are clear signs that something is amiss and that your low skilled employees need ABET or adult basic education and training to equip them with basic maths and English literacy skills.
ABET or adult basic education and training, if undertaken correctly, will equip your employees with the basic maths and English literacy skills that they need to perform their jobs productively, efficiently and safely. ABET or adult basic education and training also prepares your low skilled employees for further workplace training. Low skilled employees are, therefore, being given an important opportunity to grow and develop their careers and as individuals. This is communicated clearly to your low skilled employees during the accredited training provider’s on-site awareness campaigns.
During these sessions, your low skilled employees will also learn how basic maths and English literacy skills are used in just about every facet of their lives outside the world of work. This is also a very important motivator for your low skilled employees to want to complete ABET or adult basic education and training. Quality ABET or adult basic education and training must instil a respect for education among your low skilled employees. In fact, this is the ultimate measure of success of any ABET or adult basic education and training – whether delivered in the workplace or in a community and by a private sector player, non-government organisation, university or the state.
ABET FOR ADULTS
The accredited training provider has extensive experience teaching low skilled employees how to read and write English and understand basic maths.
Our facilitators are good at observing and paying attention in the classroom. Bear in mind that many employees who are not functionally literate have learnt how to fake basic maths and English literacy skills. For example, they will be able to use the context of a text to guess at the meaning of what they are reading. Our facilitators will help adult learners rather sound out individual words or attempt sight reading even if they do not have the confidence to do so. This is achieved by providing a safe and judgement-free learning environment that helps adult learners to overcome their insecurities.
The accredited training provider’s placement assessments also provide facilitators with an understanding of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses ahead of the ABET or adult basic education and training. They, therefore, know where to focus their efforts during training. Bear in mind that, unlike children, adults bring vastly different skill sets, abilities and experiences to the classroom. These may impact their openness to a particular approach or ability to work on the same set of tasks.
Adults also struggle with insecurities that may prevent them from taking risks that will expose their vulnerabilities. This means that they need to be constantly encouraged during their ABET or adult basic education and training.
Our facilitators are also aware and acknowledge the fact that your employees are taking a bold step forward. Your employees are, therefore, treated with the respect that they deserve. Their effort and progress – no matter how small the achievement – are always praised.
The accredited training provider’s ABET or adult basic education and training facilitators are also aware that some of your employees may have insecurities about their lack of basic maths and English literacy skills. We know that intelligence and reading ability are not related and that most people can overcome their illiteracy – if given the chance to do so. This already comes through very strongly during the on-site awareness campaigns to help motivate your low skilled employees to want to excel in ABET or adult basic education and training. We maintain this stance throughout the basic maths and English literacy training.
ABET for effective communication
ABET or adult basic education and training will enable your employees to communicate efficiently with their co-workers, supervisors and managers to avoid misunderstandings in the workplace. This is so that they are better able to perform their jobs, an important facet of basic maths and English literacy training that will be communicated to your low skilled employees during our on-site awareness campaigns.
However, there are many more benefits of effective communication in the workplace that your employees need to be made aware of.
Effective communication ensures organisational alignment. Your low skilled employees also need to understand your company’s purpose, vision and mission statement to play a meaningful role in your teams.
Effective communication skills also enable your low skilled employees to understand regular and timely company updates. This, in turn, bolsters their morale and sense of belonging. Research has shown that productivity can improve by as much as 25% if employees are constantly connected.
Low skilled employees who are able to communicate efficiently also have the confidence that they need to share information with their higher-ups that may help improve processes. Bear in mind that they are often at the heart of the operation and, therefore, have a wealth of knowledge to share that can even improve occupational health and safety protocol, as well as compliance with legislation. Meanwhile, employees who are encouraged to provide regular feedback and contribute to the company, are more loyal and, therefore, likely to stay longer at their companies. This reduces turnover which, in most instances, is costly and disruptive, especially if you have invested significant time and resources into developing the skills and capabilities of employees.
THE BENEFITS OF LITERACY
Companies that invest in ABET or adult basic education and training are making a significant contribution to transformation and South African society at large. This is over-and-above the benefits that both employers and employees accrue from ABET or adult basic education and training.
ABET or adult basic education and training provides access to education, a basic human right. Low skilled employees gain a newfound passion for education and are prepared to embark on a journey of lifelong learning – inside and outside the world of work.
Individuals who possess literacy skills are constructive and participatory members in society. In this way, ABET or adult basic education and training also promotes citizen endorsement of democracy.
ABET or adult basic education and training provides the basic skills that people need to retain and secure employment in an economy that is increasingly relying on workers with advanced proficiencies.
ABET or adult basic education and training contributes to economic growth. It is estimated that South Africa’s gross-domestic product would be up to 30% higher if the population was fully literate. Bear in mind the country’s high illiteracy rate. Many citizens of the country of working age are unable to read and write for meaning. https://www.dhet.gov.za/Planning%20Monitoring%20and%20Evaluation%20Coordination/Fact%20Sheet%20on%20Adult%20Illiteracy%20in%20South%20Africa%20-%20March%202021.pdf provides a sound indication of the extent of the challenge that the country is currently facing and the need for companies to step up their ABET or adult basic education and training to equip low skilled employees with basic maths and English literacy skills.
ABET for change management
ABET or adult basic education and training or “ABET” also fulfils another important role. Effective communication facilitates change management, which many companies still fail at because people do not want to be taken out of their comfort zone. Literate employees understand the reason for change-management initiatives. Your low-skilled employees will know why they are being implemented; what they entail; their benefits; and how they will be impacted. In the same way, effective communication also improves crisis management and workplace safety. Numerous studies have shown a close correlation between workplace literacy and occupational health and safety.
Importantly, transparent, open and honest communication facilitates collaboration. More companies are breaking down silos in the workplace to allow for skills and knowledge transfer, and these team environments are delivering stellar results.
The importance of communication skills was also recently demonstrated during the implementation of the hard lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. Effective communication made it easier for employees to work remotely. It is highly unlikely that someone with very limited basic maths and English literacy skills would have even been able to cope with the technological demands associated with working remotely. This is considering the strong correlation between conventional literacy and digital literacy.
ABET for logical thinking
Adult basic education and training or “ABET” also develops logical thinking.
Your low skilled employees are able to enhance and expand their critical thinking capabilities by completing the maths component of the accredited training provider’s ABET or adult basic education and training. During their training, they are taught how to confront basic maths problems; identify possible solutions; and evaluate and justify their reasons for the results.
Considering that businesses are all built on numbers, even your low skilled employees need to have a sound understanding of basic maths. This includes an ability to handle numerical data and draw conclusions from it, a capability that is becoming increasingly important in modern workplaces that are relying on big data and technology. https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/southafrica/publication/south-africa-economic-update-policy-interventions-skilled-jobs-can-reduce-inequality-in-south-africa provides insights into the skills challenge that the country is facing and how it is contributing to growing inequality in the country. Quality basic maths and English literacy training will help to resolve this challenge.
Low skilled employees who have completed our adult basic education and training or “ABET” will be able to do more than just add, subtract, multiply and divide. They will also be able to work with part of numbers because they will know how to perform several different calculations and in the right order to obtain the correct answer. This is a capability that transcends the basic use of a calculators. Your low-skilled employees will also be able to work with fractions. This includes an ability to add and subtract them.
Moreover, they will be able to work with decimals, which is a type of numerical data that is used the most in typical workplaces. For example, worksheet hours all use decimal figures. Your low skilled employees, therefore, need to know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide decimals. They will also learn how to work with percentages as part of their basic maths training. This includes how to calculate and add a percentage of an amount; how to subtract a percentage; and to provide one number as a percentage of another.
THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF LITERACY AND NUMERACY
The economic benefits of literacy and basic maths skills include:
- Increased output of products and services
- Reduced error rate, including returned orders
- Reduced waste in production and services
- Increased employee retention
- Better performance
- Improved capacity to use new technology
- Reduced time per task
- Better occupational health and safety
- Increased customer retention and satisfaction
Leading accredited provider of ABET
Triple E Training is a leading provider of ABET or adult basic education and training geared specifically at imparting workplace literacy skills. For more than 30 years, we have helped many low skilled employees acquire the basic maths and English literacy skills that they need to perform their jobs at optimal levels. Learn more about Triple E Training and our quality adult literacy and numeracy training programmes. www.eee.co.za