Fulton Hogan graduation ceremony

27 Jul 2010

More than 40 people attended the Fulton Hogan graduation ceremony, including graduates, their families, managers, education and government sector representatives.

Graduates include Bruce Phillips, general hand, Karl O’Brien, leading hand, Shaun Wairau, labourer, Dene O’Farrell, operator specialist, Neil Tamakehu, operator specialist, Matthew Malama, labourer, Nathan Tangipo, operator specialist and Pesa Logologo, labourer.

Employee viewpoint

Lifting literacy helps Bruce climb the company ladder

Getting his first-ever dictionary at a Fulton Hogan graduation ceremony on Tuesday was the icing on the cake for 39-year-old general hand Bruce Phillips.

Mr Phillips, one of eight employees graduating from a pilot workplace literacy course this week, had never used a dictionary before enrolling in his company’s pilot literacy course, the Base Course.

Yet, thanks to company training on reading, writing and maths, Bruce learned to use a dictionary to look up words relating to workplace machinery, develop his vocabulary and improve his spelling.

On Tuesday night, he enjoyed taking the time to thumb through his very own dictionary, one of several copies donated by Rotary New Zealand.

“To be honest, I’m quite rapt at having graduated. I never really went to school and this course is giving me a chance to build on my apprenticeship and take the next step in my education,” says Bruce.

The qualified welder from Churton Park, who left school at 15, hopes to use his new-found skills to climb the company ladder and become a machine operator.

Employer viewpoint

Fulton Hogan’s data shows all graduates made significant gains in workplace reading, writing, maths and communication.

Managers say they’re pleased to see the gains filtering through to the workplace. Employees are more confident and health and safety documentation has improved.

General Manager for the Central Region, Bill Caradus, believes workplace literacy training is vital for any company with employees who missed out on the basics at school and who are playing catch up as adults.

“In our industry, like so many, we face a skills shortage. We need people with the basics who can read and comply with the health and safety legislation. But we also need people who can develop their careers and, ultimately, make the move into leadership. Training like this helps us all get up to speed.”

Government viewpoint

A range of New Zealand companies are boosting the literacy skills of staff through training. Last month the Department of Labour launched the Skills Highway website to raise the profile of workplace literacy training and its benefits for businesses.

“The Department of Labour congratulates Mr Phillips and his colleagues on their success. We also acknowledge the hard work and commitment of Fulton Hogan who are making promising inroads into improving their workforce’s adult literacy rates. We encourage others to follow their lead,” says Benedikte Jensen, Head of Labour Market Information at the Department.

Research shows about four in every ten New Zealand employees have difficulties with reading and maths. New Zealand’s poor adult literacy rates have long been considered a serious issue that costs business through accidents and injuries, high wastage, mistakes, missed deadlines and low productivity.