Numeracy support program paying dividends for Essential Energy

As part of the Apprenticeship Compact, the New South Wales Department of Industry has supported Ai Group to deliver a project providing language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) support to apprentices. One such program achieving success is with Powerline Worker apprentices employed by Essential Energy.

The company identified a group of apprentices who required literacy and numeracy support to achieve the outcomes of their specific qualification. The apprentices were widely dispersed in locations across NSW and were allocated into two groups for a week each of intensive literacy and numeracy upskilling. These sessions were delivered in Tamworth and Goulburn during April. The content was delivered by a qualified LLN teacher from NSW TAFE, supported by a Trainer/Assessor from Essential Energy for trade contextualisation.

Participants used an online diagnostic tool to identify gaps in the underpinning numeracy skills required for their qualification. Based on the results of this testing, participants were invited to attend a week-long workshop in order to build their numeracy skills. The diagnostic tool enabled the mapping of skills to the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF). The ACSF is used to identify the underpinning skills that are embedded in Units of Competency. Units within the Electrical Supply Industry training package typically require skills at Level 3 or above.

Essential Energy apprentices were invited to attend a week-long workshop to build their numeracy skills, with learning contextualised to “real workplace” situations

Essential Energy apprentices were invited to attend a week-long workshop to build their numeracy skills, with learning contextualised to “real workplace” situations

Over the following days, workshops focused on numeracy topics such as fractions, algebra and trigonometry. These workshops involved teaching, demonstration, worked examples and opportunities for practice and consolidation. Feedback from the participants indicated that they found the opportunity to revise and reinforce these skills of great benefit. For many, it had been some time since they had participated in an environment requiring the formal application of mathematical tools and formulas. The Essential Energy Trainer/Assessor then assisted with the contextualisation of the learning to “real workplace” situations.

At the end of the program the participants were assessed, with the majority increasing their core skill level from earlier in the week. They also completed several written tests covering similar examples to those included in the training.

The workshops provided a positive experience for the participants. While most had some level of anxiety about their numeracy ability, the majority appreciated the opportunity to develop their skills and understanding. Studying numeracy in a context where they could see immediate relevance to their work and future study meant that they retained focus over the intensive period of training. The participants were also encouraged to offer peer support and were able to often help each other to understand concepts.

Essential Energy approached Ai Group for this support following an initial program that provided literacy support to Indigenous trainees. The support also assisted the trainees through their journey on gaining an apprenticeship with Essential Energy and undertaking Certificate III UET30612.

Companies in NSW interested in receiving LLN support for their apprentices can contact:

Michael Taylor, National Policy and Projects Manager: (03) 9867 0134 or

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Michael Taylor is Ai Group’s National Policy and Projects Manager, Education and Training. He is responsible for a number of national projects across workplace literacy and numeracy, skills, and the management of a mature age workforce. Michael also contributes to policy formulation across a wide spectrum of education, training and skills.

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