In a recent article about literacy rates in South Africa it is stated that during apartheid the average illiterate man never completed high school, and was in his 40s. Today, the average illiterate man has a matric certificate, and is significantly younger. Having a matric certificate does not mean your workforce is literate. How to assess the literacy of your workforce Our team of experts designed a literacy assessment called The Compass Assessment. This is a pen-and-paper literacy assessment for English language skills and numeracy. Affording your workforce the opportunity to complete this assessment will help you understand their level of literacy and numeracy. An example of the results from the assessment can be seen in the graph below. This candidate’s level of English literacy is that of ABET Level 1B which is equal to Grade 2, where it should at least be on ABET Level 4 (Grade 9). You might have employed this individual who presented a valid matric certificate, but his or her actual English language skill is far below average. When we conduct the literacy assessment we typically look at whether the individual can: Find and use the literal meaning of a word; Read for detail to find answers; Express his or her own opinions; Recognise and use typographical features; Recognise the main ideas; Find and recall literate content; Identify topics and messages; Find specific information with reading strategies; Use his or her own knowledge and experience to respond; Understand meanings that are not directly stated; Use good vocabulary; and more. The employee in the assessment graph above could read and find answers but was not able to do any of the other tasks successfully. This could be the reason why your workforce does not understand instructions, resulting in a loss of productivity. What can you do to improve the literacy of your workforce? Adult education and training (AET) provides foundational learning for adults in the workplace, and can also be applied to your CSI projects by offering foundational learning programmes for the unemployed community. We offer four main training programmes related to educating adults in the workplace, or within the unemployed community: Learnership qualifications; Adult Education and Training; Foundational Learning Competence (FLC); and Rapid Effective Accelerated Life Long Learning (REALL). How does an adult literacy programme benefit your business? The benefits of an adult literacy programme for your business are two-fold. It could increase your productivity and it can increase your BEE scorecard level. To earn up to 47 points on the skills development element of the BEE scorecard it is necessary for a business to conduct skills development for black people equal to at least 6% of their annual payroll. It is ideal to include unemployed and disabled people into the skills development programme for compliance purposes. The solution for small businesses, or those that employ people with specialised skills, is to embark on a skills development programme for the unemployed community. We developed a complete Category C skills development package making it easy for your business to comply with skills development without training your own employees. It includes the recruitment of unemployed and disabled people from within the community, the training of those individuals, and submitting all the necessary documentation to your management team. This makes it easy for the company’s verification agency to audit the skills development element of the BEE scorecard, potentially earning you up to 47 points. Training of individuals from the surrounding community will also have a positive influence on the outcome of the socio-economic development element of the scorecard. To obtain the maximum score for this element a business must spend 1% of net profit after tax on training for black people in rural areas. Don’t delay, assess your workforce today To find out more about our literacy assessment for English literacy call us on 010 597 7611 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.