NZ Work Research Institute secures $4.3 million MBIE funding to examine low skills

7 Oct 2019

Congratulations to the NZWRI team, who have secured $4.3 million in funding through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund.

Dr Gail Pacheco, Professor of Economics and Director of the NZ Work Research Institute, is leading an international team based at NZWRI on a five year MBIE project entitled ‘The expression, experience and transcendence of low-skill in Aotearoa New Zealand’.

It is one of 22 Endeavour fund bids successful in 2019 and one of only two at AUT.  Of the almost $200 million of Endeavour projects funded, less than 10% of that funding went to social research.

The overarching goal of this project is to provide actionable policy recommendations to improve life-course trajectories and socio-economic outcomes for 1.3 million adults living with low literacy and/or numeracy skills. Courses of intervention will be analysed by tracking individuals’ economic and social outcomes over time and at a population level.

The power of this study lies in the mixed-method approach that utilises disparate administrative and qualitative data, creating a benchmark evidence-base for policy and practice; transferable in and beyond New Zealand.

Complementary qualitative work with low skill groups, especially Māori and Pacific Peoples, will provide a more in-depth and contextual understanding of the obstacles faced, enablers, and value systems attached to intervention participation.

One of the many advisory partners associated with this project, the Industry Training Federation, said that this research will “radically reshape the ways in which we deal with literacy and numeracy issues and move New Zealand to the forefront of effective intervention.”