The What, How & Why of Foundation Skills Training in VET
Foundation Skills Training (FSK) is meant to ensure that anyone enrolling in Vocational Education and Training (VET) possesses the skills and abilities required to complete their qualification successfully.
This is a critical part of VET in Australia as it opens up opportunities and pathways for learners that would not be otherwise available.
What is Foundation Skills Training?
Foundation Skills Training is for the individuals who require additional assistance to enhance these skills to the level required to complete a vocational qualification. Foundation Skills are essential to participating in and benefitting from education and training, finding meaningful work and taking part in the greater community.
These skills are a combination of Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) skills, plus employability skills and act as the building blocks for future training and learning.
The Standards for Training Packages unit of competency template uses the term ‘Foundation Skills’ rather than ’employability skills’.
These skills are broken down as 5 main foundation skills and supporting employability skills as follows:
Designed to support learners access to education and work opportunities by helping them develop some of the key skills required for success in training and at work, it must be flexible and targeted, and implemented where and when appropriate.
How is Foundation Skills Training Delivered?
This training must be specific to the learner’s individual needs based on an evaluation of their current capabilities. The Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and the Core Skills for Work development framework (CSfW) are used as a benchmark.
A training and support plan must be created for each learner that establishes how the Foundation Skills Training is to be delivered and the outcomes that will be achieved upon completion of the VET qualification.
Foundation Skills Training can be delivered in a full qualification or units of competency, depending on each learner’s needs. This training can be delivered on its own prior to commencing a VET qualification, done concurrently in a parallel learning process, or can be integrated into vocational training.
ASQA requires that any courses accredited by them contains information on Foundation Skills. These are an important part of a unit of competency and must be assessed.
The criteria of a unit can include specific Foundation Skills that are essential for performance, or alternatively, can be described in the ‘Foundation Skills’ field of the unit of competency.
Why does Foundation Skills Training benefit business?
It helps to think of Foundation Skills as the root system required to further study and workplace success. Foundation Skills increase general business understanding and awareness.
Learners who undertake foundation skills training will achieve a higher level of competency about their training or workplace. This leads to improved performance and productivity, which is never a bad thing.
Foundation Skills Training Package
Foundation skills training is funded by the following:
Skilling Queenslanders for Work – provides support to learners with diverse needs to gain qualifications up to Certificate III level.
Certificate 3 Guarantee – provides a government subsidy for eligible Queenslanders to obtain their first Certificate III level qualification after school.
User Choice – allows apprentices and trainees to access programs to improve their language, literacy and numeracy while they complete their vocational qualification.
Programs are also available through funding by the Australian Government including the Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP) and the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program.
The Australian Federal and State Governments have set a goal for 2022 that at least two thirds of working age Australians will possess the literacy and numeracy skills required to obtain gainful employment.
It is important that businesses get behind this goal too in an effort to effect positive change that will benefit the individuals as well as the workforce.