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About Language, Literacy, Numeracy & Digital Literacy

Language, literacy, numeracy skills have always been an important part of being a successful apprentice, trainee or employer. These skills are no longer enough to succeed in work or life, with other skills such as digital and financial literacy now of equal importance. Combined together these are known as foundation skills. 

Foundation skills relate to how we communicate effectively in the workplace, for example reading and understanding safety signs, making measurements prior to cutting materials, calculating the costs of stock-on-hand or giving change to a customer.


Language in its broadest sense, involves the words, verbal structures and gestures we use to convey meaning. In using language we generally use a combination of communication forms such as speaking, listening, reading, writing and visual communication. Visual communication skills underpin the agreed language of the Australian deaf community, Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN).


Literacy is the ability to read and use written information as well as to write appropriately, in a range of contexts. Literacy involves the integration of speaking, listening, and critical thinking with reading and writing. Literacy skills enable us to interact with one another to achieve particular purposes: to explain, debate, retrieve and provide information, explore issues, entertain and create.


Numeracy involves the practical application of mathematical skills to absorb, use and critically evaluate information in numerical or graphical form. Depending on the context this can include basic number skills, spatial and graphical concepts, the use of measurement and problem solving. Numeracy may also involve literacy, for example when extracting mathematical information from written text.

Digital literacy

Digital literacy is the ability to identify and use technology, and be able to function critically and effectively in a digitally enhanced environment. It enables you to act professionally, ethically and with cultural and social awareness in digital environments.

Financial literacy

Financial literacy is defined as the ability to understand financial concepts and risks enabling you to make effective decisions regarding the use and management of money.  With highly complicated financial markets, and easy access to multiple credit alternatives, it is important to understand the relationship between your own finances and the wider economy.

Foundation skills in Australian Apprenticeships

Australian Apprentices will use their foundation skills in the workplace and in their training. Some Australian Apprenticeships have high level requirements for foundation skills. For example, electrical apprentices will need very strong numeracy skills, while business administration trainees will need good literacy and digital skills.

An apprentice or trainee will need to continuously adapt to new situations and requirements, so they will need the skills to be able to continuously improve in both formal and workplace learning situations. This is why foundation skills in an Australian Apprenticeship are crucial.

An employer will benefit from an apprentice or trainee who has solid foundational skills since they will be more knowledgeable, which will improve their performance and productivity.

Find out more about how employment is impacted by foundational skills, some of the challenges involving foundational skills, and support and incentives that are available.

Practice Aptitude Quizzes

Practice Aptitude Quizzes

To help improve and assess foundational skills, AATIS has developed Practice Aptitude Quizzes (PAQs). PAQs are non-formal literacy and numeracy assessments. Questions are contextualised for the industry, with more than 30 industries and one general quiz available.

These Practice Aptitude Quizzes will help provide an indication of how an individual may cope with the language, literacy and numeracy levels required to undertake an entry level Australian Apprenticeship within their industry of interest.

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Literacy and Numeracy Quizzes

Literacy and Numeracy Quizzes

The Literacy and Numeracy Quizzes (LNQs) are an online and interactive resource that provides users with a snapshot of the literacy and numeracy skills required when undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship.

They are perfect for students and job seekers who are wanting to get an initial understanding of the literacy and numeracy requirements for various industries and occupations and can be used in combination with the PAQs

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The Reading Writing Hotline

The Reading Writing Hotline

The Reading Writing Hotline provides a national service for adults seeking English language, literacy and numeracy information, advice and support.

Further information is available at the Reading Writing Hotline website or phone 1300 655 506.

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Core Skills Framework

Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF)

A comprehensive tool designed to assist both specialist and non-specialist English language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) practitioners describe an individual’s performance in the five core skills of learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy.

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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.

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SEE - Skills for Education and Employment

SEE - Skills for Education and Employment

The SEE program provides language, literacy and numeracy training to eligible job seekers, with the expectation that improvements will enable them to participate more effectively in training or in the labour force.

Job seekers are referred to the program by the Department of Human Services and Employment Service Providers such as Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services

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