Upskilling Māori and Pasifika Workplace Learners project

The Tertiary Education Commission’s (TEC) Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WLN) Fund supports around 7,000 learners a year to undertake learning programmes in their workplaces, in work time. Over a third of these learners are Māori and Pasifika employees, a significant number of whom do not hold qualifications and who need to improve their literacy (including digital literacy) and numeracy skills to help them do their jobs more easily and, for some, get them onto a qualifications or career pathway.

The Skills Highway team, who support these programmes, know from employers, providers and the employees themselves that workplace literacy and numeracy programmes engage and retain Māori and Pasifika employees. This project will examine the teaching and learning processes that enable this, the cultural values that underpin the programmes, and will explore the workplace as a learning environment that supports ongoing knowledge and skill development of Māori and Pasifika employees.

Aims

The project objectives include finding out:

  • Why and how workplace literacy and numeracy programmes lead to successful outcomes (e.g., economic, social and wellbeing) for Māori and Pasifika employees in workplaces. 
  • The extent to which these employees are validated as Māori and Pasifika employees in their learning programmes and workplaces.
  • How new knowledge and skills transfer to the workplace and to employees’ whānau and community lives.
  • What it is about learning in a workplace context that engages and retains learners who are reintroduced to learning, energised by it, and then apply it in their workplaces, community and whānau lives.
Intended outcomes

This project incorporates gathering the stories and observations of learners, tutors and employers so we find out more about how work place learning programmes improve outcomes for Māori and Pasifika employees. Analysis of the data from these three sources will enable us to explain and validate what works for these learners and the impact it has on their lives. 

The ‘x-factor’ of the project is a more holistic view of the learners and their learning, focusing not on just the classroom interaction, but on what the learning means for those learners and what value they perceive from it, in the context of their families/whanau and wider communities.

We aim to extrapolate from the findings cultural and pedagogical principles that can be used to inform practice. These will be supported by a kete of resources: for example,  a good practice framework to guide workplace literacy and numeracy programmes for Māori and Pasifika employees and exemplars of how these programmes engage and retain these employees. 

We also expect that the project will help highlight to employers that recruiting, retaining and developing Māori and Pasifika staff is a business advantage and an essential way of future-proofing their workforce, in light of the demographic shifts occurring to Aotearoa New Zealand’s workforce.

Project Team
  •  Cain Kerehoma, Kia Ora Consulting Ltd
  •  Laloifi Ripley, Careerforce ITO
  •  Anne Alkema, Research Manager, Skills Highway (Industry Training Federation)
  •  Dr. Nicky Murray, Programme Manager, Skills Highway (Industry Training Federation)
Key dates

Project commenced: January 2018
Expected project completion: December 2019

Project partners