Adult ESL archive

NOTE: This page is an archive of information on projects and reports in which ACTA has been involved.  Note that some of the links below are external to this website and may not still be active.

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Who is delivering Foundation Skills?

 If you teach or help people develop their English language, literacy, numeracy or employability skills then we need your help!

 Please complete a short survey

What’s the survey about?

 ‘Foundation Skills’ refer to English language, literacy and numeracy skills (e.g., listening, speaking, reading, writing, digital literacy and use of mathematical ideas) and employability skills (e.g., collaboration, problem solving, self-management, and information and communication technology (ICT) skills).

Building the capacity of those who deliver foundation skills is a key component of the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults.

But to do this we need to know more about who is delivering foundation skills:

  • What skills and expertise do you bring with you? 
  • What professional development have you had?
  • What skills would you like to develop further?

This survey is a starting point in learning more about the practitioners delivering foundation skills, both paid and voluntary.

The survey should only take about 10 - 20 minutes to do and will be available until 19 December 2014.

 Need to know more?

If you would like further information about the project, or about what’s involved in the survey, email Michelle Circelli, National Centre for Vocational Education Research:

This project is being undertaken by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research as part of the National Foundation Skills Strategy Project (Element 1).

Stories from the Field

Stories from the Field invites practitioners who deliver foundation skills (in any capacity) to document their career journey. It is designed to be done as a peer activity but it can be done as a solo activity using the resources listed as web links below. Individuals (or pairs) can use the trigger questions in the handout doc to write up their story and submit to the project at

Telling a story and listening to the stories of others’ facilitates a process of ‘shared sense making’ and an opportunity to consider the myriad factors that contribute to a practitioner’s career trajectory and professional development. This activity is about providing practitioners with the opportunity to tell their story, listen to others and reflect on the journey. Stories gathered through the process will be used to gain a clearer understanding of the range of credentials, experience and professional development approaches that contribute to the professional identity of practitioners delivering language, literacy and numeracy and foundation skills in Australia today.

Download a Stories from the Field flyer

Download a Stories from the Field handout

National Foundations Skills Strategy Project 2014-2015

ACTA was represented on the Foundation Skills Champions Network, part of the the Foundation Skills Workforce Development (FSWD) Project in 2013. Australian governments have agreed to continue to support the Champions Network through a new project, known as the National Foundation Skills Strategy (NFSS) Project.  The new project will operate during 2014-15 and will encompass a number of initiatives to support priority action areas from the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults. To read more on Foundation Skills visit the website

ACTA provided a response to the consultation paper Scoping a foundation skills professional standards framework in 2013. The submission was prepared on behalf of ACTA by the ACTA Adult Working Group, incorporating feedback from members throughout the country.

The scoping project was conducted as part of the Foundation Skills Workforce Development Project, a collaborative national project to support the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults. The consultation encouraged those those working in foundation skills to define and strengthen the identity of the field, advance the status and standing of the profession and explore options for developing professional standards.

The Draft Foundation Skills Professional Standards Framework is the outcome of this work.

For further information - project consultant, Louise Wignall:

National Workforce Development Strategy March 2013

New report containing recommendations for adult LLN released:
Future focus, 2013 National Workforce Development Strategy released March 2013. Chapter 4 Equipping Australians with better language, literacy and numeracy skills.

Read the report

Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT)

The Department of Industry has contracted the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to develop an online Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) to identify and assess an individual’s foundation skill levels. Read more...

PIAAC Results 2013

The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey which measures adult skills and competencies. These competencies include literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills, with a particular focus on skills needed for success in the information age. PIAAC has an emphasis on the skills used by people in their jobs and includes information on the use of reading and numeracy at work as well as other workplace skills including team work, communication, presentation and information and technology skills. Twenty-four countries are participating in PIAAC including Australia, the USA, the UK, Canada, Japan and Korea.

Results from the international survey and the Australian data were released in October 2013. This government website provides links to ABS and OECD. The OECD website has some useful online tools which give overviews of various categories.

Foundation Skills Training Package endorsed February 2013

The FSK Training Package which contains language literacy and numeracy units and qualifications and assessment for adult learners is available to download .There are 3 qualifications contained in the package:

FSK10113 Certificate I in Access to Vocational Pathways

FSK10213 Certificate I in Skills for Vocational Pathways

FSK20113 Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways

Companion volumes to the Training Package will be available at

National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults

Australian governments have worked in partnership to develop the National Strategy, a 10-year framework built around a shared vision for a productive and inclusive Australia. It was developed as a joint initiative by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, in consultation with key stakeholders, through the COAG Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE).

Australian governments have agreed the following overall performance measure for the National Strategy: By 2022, two thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at Level 3 or above.*

* Refers to the levels in the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS), undertaken in 2006 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Skill Level 3 on the ALLS scale is considered by COAG to be the minimum level required by individuals to meet the complex demands of work and life in modern economies.

In November 2012 the Strategy was released.The Strategy brings a national focus to improving education and employment outcomes for working age Australians with low levels of foundation skills (language, literacy, numeracy and employability skills). The Strategy is centred on the needs of the adult learner and includes four key priority areas for action, with agreed actions for each at the national, jurisdictional and systemic level.
The Strategy can be viewed and downloaded from the SCOTESE website.

In April 2011 the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Released its Consultation paper on the need for a National Foundation Skills Strategy and held national consultations with key stakeholders. ACTA provided a response to the consultation paper.

In May 2013, the Foundation Skills Workforce Development Project was announced. The project will establish a foundation Skills Champions Netwlro and conduct professional development workshops.

Skills for Education and Employment (SEE)

The SEE program was formerly known as the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP). In 2012 ACTA contrubuted a response to the LLNP Discussion Paper 2012

Read ACTA's response to the LLNP Discussion Paper Creating a more flexible LLNP in 2013-2016.

In July 2013 the program adopted the new title Skills for Education and Employment as a result of the responses to the Discussion Paper. A summary of changesto the program has been published


The Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework describes a set of non-technical skills, knowledge and understandings that underpin successful participation in work. These skills are often referred to as employability or generic skills. They include skills such as problem solving, collaboration, self-management, communication and information technology skills.  Read more: Core Skills for Work Development Framework.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy  - publications

Until recently it had been almost 20 years since a national approach to adult Language Literacy and Numeracy was on the agenda. During late 2010 and early 2011 publications by a range of organisations were released addressing the issue of Foundation Skills for adults:

Other relevant papers include:


Proposals following the relocation of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) to the Department of Home Affairs
ACTA has submitted proposals following the relocation of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) to the...
ACTA submission to the Review of the 2008 Melbourne Declaration
ACTA has made a submission to the Review of the 2008 Melbourne Declarationon on Educational Goals for Young...

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