Literacy and numeracy

Literacy and numeracy

The adult literacy team represents the interests of individuals who may need or want to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. This work involves:

  • monitoring national policy and initiatives that impact on the delivery of language literacy and numeracy programs;
  • working with practitioners to identify opportunities for improving student outcomes from literacy and numeracy provision;
  • offering a professional development program;
  • directly supporting accredited and non-accredited literacy and numeracy courses; and
  • developing new resources for teaching and learning.

The adult literacy team aims to promote an understanding of the nature and causes of the problems adults can have with literacy. This understanding begins with awareness that for many adult students, their early learning experiences may have left them with a legacy of self-doubt and unhappiness.

National research indicates that around 45% of the adult population in Australia have 'poor' or 'very poor' literacy skills*. Good teaching in adult literacy is founded on an understanding of language and literacy as social practice. The student should be regarded as a user of language rather than a learner of language. Teaching should be organised around the student's needs to use language in particular ways, but will also involve teaching the technicalities of reading, writing and mathematics. Reading and writing can also include the ability to access and understand information that is available digitally and use technology to communicate.

*Source: Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, ABS 2013

For further information, please contact us.

T: 08 6212 9715 or 08 6212 9716



The Department uses a number of online collaborative tools so adult literacy and numeracy teachers can continue to learn and share outside of formal face-to-face workshops.

The Adult Literacy and Numeracy Network supports practitioners to enable adults to acquire language, literacy and numeracy skills relevant to learning, work, the community and life. The network provides a collaborative forum to develop and facilitate a community of current good practice amongst specialist teachers and trainers in adult literacy and numeracy.

It also aims to increase the capacity and capability of its online community, by:

  • supporting specialist adult literacy and numeracy practitioners to share and develop good teaching practice through a collaborative online community; and
  • developing the capacity and capability of specialist adult literacy and numeracy practitioners through a model of shared practice and continuous improvement.

The network is facilitated online at

A regular newsletter, ALaN News is edited and distributed by the Department. You can subscribe to ALaN News here.

For more information please contact us:


Literacy and numeracy professional development

The Department provides opportunities for teachers of adult literacy and numeracy to maintain the currency of their qualifications and build on their skills base. These opportunities include a number of programs and workshops.

The following programs have limited availability and are by application only.

Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills

This two day workshop provides an in-depth understanding of the purpose of the CAVSS program, its pedagogy and associated business rules, embedded within vocational training and underpinned by the current theories of adult language, literacy and numeracy. Opportunities are provided for teachers of literacy and numeracy to discuss, explore and problem solve ways to adapt to new and different training cultures, and to acquire a deeper understanding of collaborative team teaching delivery.

Teach Me Grammar

This program builds knowledge about the complexities of English grammar, so as to develop teaching strategies to help students build their oral and written communication skills. This action-learning approach requires committing to a series of workshops and having access to a workplace so the new teaching strategies can be practically implemented and reflected upon over a six to twelve month period.

Collaborative numeracy

The program is delivered as a series of three hands-on adult numeracy teaching workshops. The focus is on making sense of key mathematical concepts through pair and small group interactions, using games and structured learning activities, which can be effectively applied in a teaching context.

Explore the following links to see a video presentation overview of the program.

Read Write Now

This is a special purpose training course available for people who become volunteer tutors for an individual adult student. Volunteers will be taught relevant theory and practical skills for teaching reading, writing and mathematics.

Participants complete two days of face-to-face group training and are then placed with a student for 12 weeks under the supervision of a community-based coordinator from the program.

To apply to participate in CAVSS workshops, or the Teach Me Grammar, Collaborative Numeracy and Read Write Now programs, please contact us via

The following programs have open availability.

Certificates in General Education for Adults

These workshops are aimed at teachers new to CGEA. The sessions overview the curriculum, apply the CGEA framework as a basis for formal skills and clarify how the CGEA sits within the VET sector. They also explore strategies to establish collaborative teaching and learning practices which reflect the differing ways literacy and numeracy skills are acquired within an adult context. Workshop 1 is aimed at teachers new to delivering CGEA and Workshop 2 further develops the skills of teachers who have at least one semester of experience in the program.

Practical strategies for teaching adult numeracy

This interactive two day workshop delivers effective strategies for teaching numeracy to adults. The sessions explore ways to demystify mathematics through hands on contextualised activities across the curriculum.

To participate in the CGEA or Practical strategies for teaching adult numeracy workshops please refer to the event calendar.  You can register online, or contact


Course accreditation

Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills

CAVSS is a framework for teaching adult literacy and numeracy skills in direct application to VET training activities. It is designed to be delivered in an integrated manner, in a dual enrolment with a ‘parent’ vocational training course or training package qualification. It is a teaching methodology rather than a course. The methodology is team-teaching, where the vocational lecturer and the literacy lecturer are teaching the same group of students in the same place at the same time. This approach ensures that literacy and numeracy support is relevant and limited to the competencies in the VET qualification.

For further information about CAVSS delivery, please contact us:
T: 08 6212 9715 or 08 6212 9716, or

Information, resources and business rules for CAVSS delivery

The present course – 52823WA – was endorsed by the Western Australian Training Accreditation Council on 11 May 2017. CAVSS accreditation expires on 30 April 2022.

For information regarding resources to support CAVSS delivery contact:

Senior Program Officer Foundation Skills
Department of Training and Workforce Development
Locked Bag 16, Osborne Park Delivery Centre WA 6916

T: 08 6212 9715 or 6212 9716

For information regarding funding for CAVSS contact:

Training Markets
Department of Training and Workforce Development

Permission to deliver CAVSS

All registered training organisations must apply in writing to South Metropolitan TAFE for permission to deliver CAVSS. To request permission please contact the Manager, VET Curriculum and Quality Assurance:

T: 08 9442 8337

Please note, approval by South Metropolitan TAFE to deliver CAVSS does not guarantee the Department will fund an RTO to deliver the course. RTOs must apply to the Department for funding in accordance with the business rules (see Section 2 of the business rules eligibility criteria for funding to deliver CAVSS).

CAVSS delivery outside of Western Australia

For RTOs delivering CAVSS outside of WA, changes to the business rules may be negotiated, where necessary, to meet local systems, including student management, finance and auditing requirements. Where this is the case, RTOs should contact the Manager Training Curriculum Services.

T: 08 6551 5362


Certificates in General Education for Adults

This set of qualifications offers adults an alternative to school-based educational credentials. CGEA is suitable for adult learners with disrupted, limited or no formal education who need to improve their language, literacy, numeracy or computer skills. There is also a strong emphasis on improving self-confidence and developing a learning plan so that participants explore further training options or vocational pathways.

At the lower levels, the CGEA covers beginning reading, writing and maths. At the higher levels the reading, writing and maths content more closely resembles Years 10 and 11 school curricula. If a student is a beginner reader or writer, then it may take a considerable time to complete each of the levels in the CGEA because all together, these certificates cover the content from 11 years of schooling.


    Further information including course codes and contact details for CGEA curriculum enquiries

    The CGEA is offered in TAFE colleges, usually as both full-time and part-time courses. A number of other community-based RTOs and schools also offer the CGEA. The five course codes are:

    • 22234VIC Course in Initial General Education for Adults;
    • 22235VIC Certificate I in General Education for Adults (Introductory);
    • 22236VIC Certificate I in General Education for Adults;
    • 22237VIC Certificate II in General Education for Adults; and
    • 22238VIC Certificate III in General Education for Adults.

    The CGEA is curriculum accredited in Victoria by the Adult, Community and Further Education Board until June 2018. It is freely available under Creative Commons. The ACFE carries out this role through the General Studies and Further Curriculum Maintenance Manager Victoria University. To access the CGEA curriculum, please contact:

    General Studies and Further Curriculum Maintenance Manager (CMM)
    PO Box 14428
    Melbourne VIC 8001

    T: (03) 9919 5300 or (03) 9919 5302


    Course in Underpinning Skills for Industry Qualifications

    This course aims to address the different categories of students who may require additional time and specialised teaching to successfully complete an industry specific vocational qualification, enabling students to develop, consolidate and apply a range of mathematical, technological, cognitive, social communication and problem-solving skills required to be competent in the workplace.

    Students who are eligible for this course have already enrolled in a vocational qualification and been identified as having one or more indicators of additional educational need. To meet this need the USIQ teacher provides contextualised, structured and targeted learning to support and enable the students to acquire and demonstrate the necessary skills to complete their qualification. The USIQ course does not result in a separate qualification.

    USIQ (52665WA) was endorsed by the Western Australian Training Accreditation Council on 29 January 2014.

    Further information including USIQ business rules, how to register, and contact details for enquiries

    For more information, please read the USIQ business rules (May 2014)

    This document contains further information for RTOs, and includes the form to register your RTO to deliver USIQ.

    For further information, please contact the Senior Program Officer – Foundation Skills T: 08 6212 9715 or 08 6212 9716, or by email to

    For information regarding copyright for USIQ, please contact the Manager, Training Curriculum Services
    T: 08 6551 5541 or E:


    Support for regional practitioners

    The Department provides assistance to specialist adult literacy and numeracy practitioners living and working in regional and remote areas of Western Australia to access workshops, conferences and courses. This is aimed at developing professional skills and improving services to adult students. Practitioners can apply for funding to help attend events within Western Australia or interstate. The program is available to all practitioners, but the selection criteria is weighted in favour of those who find it more difficult, time-consuming and costly to access professional development events or activities.

    Further information and an application form is available below.

    For further information on how to apply, contact

    Page last updated March 01, 2017