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WORKPLACE BASIC EDUCATION FUND (WBEF) Skills for Work

Conditions of Application

June 2005

INTRODUCTION The performance of the Irish economy over the past years has been outstanding and economic growth has brought many benefits to Irish society. It is competitiveness i.e. the ability to win and keep business in domestic and foreign markets, which has underpinned this success. In order to build on this success, it is vital that Ireland maintains and develops the competitiveness of the economy. Employee knowledge, skills and experience will be a key source of innovation, improved performance and competitive advantage.1 The Government under the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment set up a Workplace Basic Education Fund (WBEF) with a budget of 2m in 2005. The fund is being managed by FS and guided by a National Steering Group consisting of representatives from relevant stakeholders. The aim of the Workplace Basic Education Fund (WBEF) is to develop initiatives to provide opportunities for employees to improve their literacy and numeracy skills, on a 100% grant aided basis. The Enterprise Strategy Group in its report Ahead of the Curve identifies the need and recommends the raising of basic education levels and supporting lifelong learning.

Establish a national One Step Up initiative, facilitated by the National Framework of Qualifications. While this initiative seeks to engage with the workforce as a whole, it should pay particular attention to the people with low levels of qualification and in low-level occupations, who are least likely to receive sufficient access to learning opportunities.
FS STRATEGY FOR THE EMPLOYED FS is committed to working with its stakeholders in developing a comprehensive strategy for the employed. This was published in the Statement of Strategy 2000-2005 document. The FS priority goal for employers and people in employment are as follows:

To promote investment in training by employers and to accelerate the development and delivery of a comprehensive range of programmes and services, for employers and those in employment, based on identified labour market needs.
From this priority goal, FS has developed the following action plan for implementation. Adopting a framework for the development and delivery of relevant programmes and services for employers and people in employment. Improving initiatives for employers to encourage them to focus on and invest in training and development. This should encompass all occupations at all levels, by promoting best practice human resources strategies.

Forum on the Workplace of the Future (2005), Working to our Advantage: A National Workplace Strategy: National Centre for Partnership and Performance

Focusing on the needs of low skilled and low paid employees, through the provision of portable skills, to help them to progress to higher skilled, higher value work. Promoting life-long learning, by extending existing flexible delivery options, such as e-learning, distance learning, open learning, part-time learning etc.

The potential benefits of training within companies can be identified as follows: a) At the enterprise level, there is evidence to suggest that investment in training impacts positively on, inter alia, company productivity, profitability and product/service quality. Thus, it may help ensure SME competitiveness and chances for survival. b) Training can benefit individual employees by enhancing their future, career progression and employability. Training targeted at the lowerskilled, those working in occupations undergoing restructuring or other groups perceived to be at a disadvantage on the labour market can improve their position. c) There is evidence to suggest that training has positive effects on the economy (local, regional, national and EU). Training which enhances individual and enterprise capability and competitiveness creates better chances for survival against competition, both domestic and international. In the long term, this may lead to economic growth and further employment. INVESTING IN WORKPLACE BASIC EDUCATION (WBE) The creation of a well-educated, skilled workforce has been one of the main factors contributing to Irelands economic success in recent years. In 2002 NALA set up a Workplace Literacy Strategy Group2, which agreed a strategy document detailing the approaches and implementation plan for the development of workplace basic education (WBE) programmes. The strategy is available on the NALA website: http://www.nala.ie/publications/listing/20021004164453.html Improving literacy and numeracy in the workplace can help to develop skills and confidence to meet both the demands of the workplace and also for personal needs. These benefits are outlined in evaluations of WBE programmes run in Ireland and abroad. Definition of basic education Basic education is defined as reading, writing, listening and speaking, numeracy and using everyday technology to communicate and handle information. It includes more than the technical skills of communication: it also has personal, social and economic dimensions.
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consisting of representatives from Government Departments (DES, DETE), FS, employers (CIF, IBEC, ISME, SFA), trade unions (ITUT, SIPTU, UNISON), literacy practitioners and learners.

What is a workplace basic education programme? A workplace basic education programme includes literacy and numeracy and can incorporate a variety of subjects ranging from communication skills, computer skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving and report writing. The programme is offered on company premises where possible, otherwise in a mutually convenient location. The programme length will vary depending on the particular programme, taster programmes can start from about 24 hours over 12 weeks and be followed on by programmes for between 90 and 120 hours. Ideally employees should attend the course on paid work time. However the issue of release will depend on each companys situation and may consist of a blend of employer and employee time. A workplace basic education programme is designed and delivered in a flexible and adaptable way to meet the needs of the participants and employers. Employees participate on a voluntary basis and total confidentiality applies to all. A high level of co-operation and liaison between the company and the literacy provider is required in the development stages.

GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR APPLICATION


1. AIM The aim of the Workplace Basic Education Fund (WBEF) is to raise awareness and the competency level of targeted employees with low literacy and numeracy skill in particular low skilled occupations. In accordance with the Programme for Sustaining Progress (PSP) 2003 a workplace basic education and literacy/ numeracy/ Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) programme will be implemented. Training needs will be identified and training implemented in line with those needs in partnership with relevant stakeholders. The fund will provide a 100 % training subsidy to enhance employees literacy and numeracy skills to enable employees to cope with frequent and ongoing changes in work practices. Training is targeted at employees with basic education needs, in particular employees with less than junior cycle qualifications. The Ahead of the Curve Report identifies the need to upskill the existing workforce and raise education levels.

Given the critical importance of education for our future competitiveness, ambitious targets should be set for our educational and training performance across the full spectrum of educational levels, from primary to lifelong learning. These must include:

Increasing the proportion graduating from second level education and facilitating access to higher education for a wider share of the population Raising basic educational attainment levels and supporting a high level of participation in lifelong learning.

2. MANAGEMENT OF THE PROJECT FS is responsible for the fund management in consultation with a National Steering Group consisting of the relevant stakeholders including: FS Department of Education & Science / IVEA NALA National Adult Literacy Agency ICTU Irish Congress of Trade Unions SFA Small Firms Association ISME Irish Small and Medium Enterprises CIF Construction Industry Federation 3. SCOPE OF THE PROGRAMME The programme, within the limited amount of funds available to it, will be open to employees from companies in the private sector.

4. ELIGIBLE SECTORS The proposed training will be targeted at a limited number of key basic skill needs which will be identified in elements of the workforce by research and /or consultation with the relevant industry/business stakeholders and other agencies and within a FS prioritisation set by the financial constraints of budget availability. An outline of core elements of a workplace basic education course is in appendix 1. The scope of the training will encompass low basic skills, low qualification occupation categories within a workforce. All organisations, including representative bodies on the National Steering Group, and registered training organisations can apply directly. Employers may apply on behalf of a number of employees or individual employees may apply on their own behalf or make a group application. 5. DELIVERY OF TRAINING Workplace Basic Education funding is available for projects that have national scope and support ongoing workplace literacy and numeracy programmes across industry sectors. Priority areas include; Identification of workplace basic education need within a workplace sector; Development of a workplace basic education plan for a particular workplace sector; Implementation strategies to encourage/ support workplace basic education programmes; Development and piloting of nationally applicable models and strategies to deliver and integrate workplace basic education programmes. Development of resource material for employees with basic education needs for use in the course itself and/or independently by learners. Innovative approaches to enabling employees wishing to build their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills. Funding for training and/or project development can be commissioned. FS will consider proposals and issue contracts to approved training organisations to design, develop, organise, promote and deliver training programmes in line with the aim of the project. Consideration will also be given to proposals for promoting and raising awareness around literacy and numeracy. Guidelines for developing a workplace basic education programme are outlined in appendix 2. The adult literacy tutors delivering a workplace basic education programme should have: An appropriate qualification in adult literacy/adult education, the minimum being the single module in Literacy Methodologies 1 (from the Higher Certificate in Literacy Development, Waterford Institute of Technology) or the City and Guilds 9285 Certificate in Teaching Basic Skills or equivalent.

An appropriate qualification in groupwork (WIT, NUI or equivalent) and curriculum development is also a requirement. Integrating literacy or workplace literacy modules (WIT, NUI, Lancaster University) would be desirable. Experience in group based adult literacy tutoring and good facilitation skills.

Contracts will be awarded to successful training organisations which will outline the terms and conditions for the delivery of training. 6. APPLICATION PROCEDURES You are required to submit a proposal for delivery of training detailing the following: Name, postal & email addresses, telephone and fax number of proposer and any third parties involved. A statement of the proposers understanding of the issues, how need has been identified and the approach envisaged. A detailed description of the programme learning objectives, learning activity, duration, content outline, management and evaluation. A full cost breakdown of the work to be undertaken with the applicable rate of VAT for the training being proposed. For the adult literacy tutors: Details of qualifications and experience in carrying out work of a similar nature; List of reference sites with contact points. The proposed timeframe for the training.

2 copies of completed proposals in sealed envelopes marked Workplace Basic Education Fund should be delivered to the following address: Deirdre McGarry FS Services to Business FS Training & Employment Authority 27-33 Upper Baggot Street Dublin 4 A copy should also be delivered by email to Deirdre McGarry at deirdre.mcgarry@fas.ie Applications will be accepted centrally on a rolling basis up to the end of December 2005. 7. ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES Applications will be assessed by FS Services to Business Section, in consultation with the National Steering Group. Short-listing and criteria Short-listing may apply. Applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria. 7

Quality indicators in such areas as: o Identification of need; o Learning programme detailed learning objectives, learning activities, length of programme and content of proposed training. o Quality of delivery including staffing; o Management; o Evaluation. Reaching the target employee group Experience of training organisation/trainers in delivering adult basic education and experience in the workplace. Number of learners. Geographical spread. Innovative approach.

Applications will be assessed periodically as defined by FS. Applicants will be informed of the decision within two months of submitting their application. 8. CLAIM REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAINING ORGANISATIONS In order for payments to be made, claims must be submitted to FS within one months of the completion of the training and should include: a) Invoice as per terms of contract b) Training Organisation Claim Form CDP9 (fully completed and signed) c) The Training Organisation will submit the End of Programme Report - CDP 11. d) Companies must not be in receipt of funding from any other source in respect of this training, in order to receive subsidised training under this programme. e) FS reserves the right to withhold any payment for subsidised training, pending a satisfactory delivery of the conditions of the contract. f) Training organisations are required to submit a current Tax Clearance Certificate (TC2). This certificate is issued from the local Tax Office. TC1 (Form of Application to the Collector General of Revenue for a Tax Clearance Certificate) may be obtained from the local FS Services to Business office. 9. REGISTRATION OF TRAINING ORGANISATIONS Procedures and Conditions for registration as an approved training organisation are available from www.fas.ie, electronic forms, the local Services to Business office or the Manager National Register of Trainers, FS, Services to Business, 27-33 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4. Telephone (01) 6070940. 10. LIMIT OF FUNDING Each approval is subject to the availability of funds.

11. EQUALITY LEGISLATION Under this programme, companies are recommended to promote a policy of equality of opportunity in the workplace. In line with the provisions of the Employment Equality Act (1998) and the Equal Status Act (2000), as amended by the Equality Act (2004) they are encouraged to initiate Positive Action Training, which focuses on achieving equality and eliminating discrimination. 12. ACCESS TO RECORDS Both companies and training organisations in receipt of subsidised training, shall grant officials of FS, the Comptroller and Auditor Generals office and where appropriate, the European Union and the European Court of Auditors, or any other person appointed on behalf of any of them immediate access to all premises where the training programme(s) are being carried out, and also access to records financial or otherwise maintained by the company or training organisation in connection with the training programme(s). The company and the training organisation shall comply promptly with all reasonable requests from FS for information relating to the training programme(s), and any of the other agencies specified herein. The sensitivity around confidentiality of adult literacy learners should be considered. 13. PROGRAMME DURATION & CONDITIONS The termination date of this scheme is the 31st December 2005 subject to annual review. The conditions specified here may be changed in the interim period at the discretion of FS. 14. NON SUPPORTED ACTIVITIES The following activities are not eligible for funding under the programme: Purchase of audio-tapes, records, or videos not associated with agreed training programmes The purchase of hardware equipment and software systems for training purposes Capital expenditure associated with the training programme 15. CERTIFICATION The programmes must be designed and developed to allow for access and transfer e.g. the process by which learners may commence a programme of training having received recognition for knowledge, skill and competency acquired. The programme must also allow for progression e.g. the process by which learners may transfer from one programme of training to another programme where each programme/module is of a higher level than the preceding programme. 9

16. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION The training organisation or the participating companies shall if requested immediately give to FS any record as that term is defined in the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and 2003 relating to any service provided under this Programme. 17. REFERENCE MATERIAL Listings and information are available through the following: FS NALA www.fas.ie www.nala.ie

The Workplace Basic Education Programme is funded by the Irish Exchequer and the European Social Fund. 18. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION If you have any queries in relation to the fund and/or application process please contact: Deirdre McGarry FS Services to Business FS Training & Employment Authority 27-33 Upper Baggot Street Dublin 4 Telephone (01) 6070500 Fax (01) 6070618

Email: deirdre.mcgarry@fas.ie

If you require information on workplace basic education please contact: Helen Ryan National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) 76 Lower Gardiner Street Dublin 1 Telephone (01) 8554332 Fax (01) 8555475

Email: hryan@nala.ie

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FS Services to Business Contact List


FS Training & Employment Authority 27-33 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4 Telephone (01) 6070500 Fax (01) 6070618
SERVICES TO BUSINESS Region Dublin Office Address Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre BALDOYLE Industrial Estate Dublin 13 Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Wyattville Road LOUGHLINSTOWN Co. Dublin Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre BALLYFERMOT HILL Dublin 10 Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Industrial Estate WATERFORD Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Rossa Avenue Bishopstown CORK Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Raheen Business Park LIMERICK Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Ballytivnan SLIGO Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Mervue Industrial Estate GALWAY Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Industrial Estate Coes Road DUNDALK, Co. Louth Services To Business Manager FS Training Centre Garrycastle ATHLONE, Co. Westmeath Geographic Area Dublin North County & Postal Districts 1,2,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,& parts of 4,8,& 12 Dublin South County & Postal Districts 6,14,16, 18 & parts of 4, Dun Laoghaire /Rathdown Dublin West County & Postal Districts 10, 20, 22, 24, & parts of 8, & 12 Contact Details Tel 01 8167439 Fax 01 8167440

Tel 01 2043651 Fax 01 2043702

Tel 01 6055990 Fax 01 6055802

South-East

Counties Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow, Tipperary South, and Wicklow Counties Cork & Kerry

South-West

Tel 051 301504 Fax 051 301513 Tel 053 47439 Wexford Tel 056 65514 Kilkenny Tel 055 22477 Wicklow Tel 021 4856331 Fax 021 4346349

Mid-West

Counties: Limerick, Clare & Tipperary North

Tel 061 487900 Fax 061 229447

North-West

Counties Sligo, Leitrim & Donegal

Tel 071 59595 Fax 071 71377

West

Counties Galway, Mayo & Roscommon

Tel 091 706200 Tel 096 24002 Ballina Tel 0903 26802 Roscommon Fax 091 753590 Tel 042 9355700 Fax 042 9355777

North-East

Counties Cavan, Louth, Meath & Monaghan

Midlands

Counties Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford & Kildare

Tel 0902 75476 Fax 0902 75480

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Appendix 1: Core elements of a workplace basic education course


The course content could include some of the following areas: English: Reading Writing Spelling including reading for information, enjoyment, scanning, comprehension & instructions. including developing and enhancing writing skills such as punctuation, structure and sentence formation, paragraphs, etc. including use of strategies for learning spelling, word building skills, memory aids, spelling rules. including letter writing, both formal and informal; form filling; note taking and recording of telephone messages; following instructions; giving directions and map reading; listening skills; groupwork and verbal communication skills including discussions and conversations. including basic computer skills; understanding information communication technology; identifying the different components of a computer; keyboard skills; basic word processing and spreadsheets. including understanding mathematical signs and terminology; basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills; decimalization, percentages, ratios and fractions; measurement; understanding the 24 hour clock, timetables, calendars and temperatures; use of a calculator; money; budgeting; euro.

Communications:

Computers:

Numeracy:

Personal Development: including self-awareness; decision making; assertiveness and conflict resolution skills. Job Orientation Skills: including identifying skills, qualities and interests; relating these skills to possible work placement/tasks; CV preparation, completion of job application forms and interview skills. Learning to learn: understanding how we learn; exploring learning techniques and skills.

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Appendix 2: Guidelines for developing a workplace basic education programme


What is a workplace basic education programme? A workplace basic education programme includes literacy and numeracy and can incorporate a variety of subjects ranging from communication skills, computer skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving and report writing.. The programme is offered on site, where possible, otherwise in a mutually convenient location. The programme is usually held for between 90 to 120 hours. A workplace basic education programme is designed and delivered in a flexible and adaptable way to meet the needs of the participants and employers. Employees participate on a voluntary basis and total confidentiality applies to all. A high level of co-operation and liaison between the company and the literacy provider is required in the development stages.

How do I develop a workplace basic education programme? There are four basic principles for companies to follow to successfully implement a WBE programme. They are:

Work with a trained professional service to develop a programme, for example, Vocational Education Committee; Involve all the key stakeholders in planning and setting goals for the programme; Develop and implement programmes to meet the needs identified in the initial assessment; Evaluate the programme.

Guidelines to support employers developing WBE programmes Work with a trained professional service to develop a programme. When developing an effective WBE programme allow for adequate time for development and design of programmes. Effective promotion with employees also takes a significant amount of time. Adopt a partnership model of working that includes all relevant local stakeholders and providers. It is critical that a comprehensive needs analysis is conducted at the outset which fully recognises the needs of both employees and employers. Agreement between all partners (employers, funders, employees and providers) and should be established at the outset and maintained throughout.

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Provision needs to be made for an effective promotional campaign within each company to attract appropriate employees. Ensure continuous monitoring and evaluation throughout the programme through the development of an appropriate research and evaluation framework at the outset. It is essential to document each stage of the process. Course content should be adaptable and relevant and should reflect the real needs of employees. Tutors and Co-ordinators must be well trained to adapt to the workplace environment and to use relevant and up-to-date materials and methodologies appropriate to the course and students.

Who can deliver workplace basic education programmes? Workplace basic education programmes must be delivered by trained adult literacy tutors who are also registered on the FS National Register of Trainers. The tutors must have: An appropriate qualification in adult literacy/adult education, the minimum being the single module in Literacy Methodologies 1 (from the Higher Certificate in Literacy Development, Waterford Institute of Technology) or the City and Guilds 9285 Certificate in Teaching Basic Skills or equivalent. An appropriate qualification in groupwork (WIT, NUI or equivalent) and curriculum development is also a requirement. Integrating literacy or workplace literacy modules (WIT, NUI, Lancaster University) would be desirable. Experience in group based adult literacy tutoring and good facilitation skills. The 33- VECs are the main provider of adult literacy services throughout Ireland. Other service providers include Irish Trade Union Trust (ITUT) and ICTU Centres. Stages of development The stages in developing a programme are as follows: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Company and literacy service provider linkage Company Liaison person Recruitment of Project Co-ordinator Awareness and promotion of programme Recruitment of participants Designing the Course The Course Progression

All stages are underpinned by a flexible and adaptable approach. More detail is available from Helen Ryan, NALA Telephone (01) 8554332 Fax (01) 8555475 Email: hryan@nala.ie 14