Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award

The Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award recognises innovation and excellence by an individual involved in improving English language, literacy and numeracy skills in an educational, community or workplace context.

Every day Lyn Wilson, who has managed the Sydney TAFE – Petersham College Foundation Studies Section for over 20 years, sees for herself how her efforts are changing lives.

While achieving national recognition through her Award for Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) Practice at the 2015 Australian Training Awards, Lyn says the award was also recognition “for my committed team that for more than 10 years ran fabulous programmes in collaboration with our industry partners.”

“It’s great that the Australian Government has an award that specifically recognises the importance of foundation skills in VET.”

Lyn’s work with large organisations has taken all those involved on a development path. Over 10 years, close working relationships were formed between teams from industry and TAFE, including its Aboriginal Training Unit.

“Over time, emotional commitment kicks in. Importantly, where prejudices sometimes existed, I’ve seen those attitudes shift enormously.”

Lyn’s team uses strategies that not only prepare people for a job, but also for the recruitment process where many large organisations may have up to seven different steps in their rigorous selection processes.

“We address this in our courses. It’s no use preparing someone for a job if they can’t get that first foot in the door.”

At Petersham, all students in LLN programmes are able to select learning modes that suit their personal learning style. These may include group classes or individual learning that is closely monitored and receives comprehensive support as needed. Indigenous employment programmes combine the two.

Even after 20 years, Lyn says she’s still learning. Josh Toomey, who won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year Award at the 2011 Australian Training Awards, is a great example.

“I doubted he’d get through, but Josh pestered me until I accepted him into my Foundation Skills course. He went from strength to strength. It was a reminder to me that just because people have missed school, never underestimate what they can achieve in a short time.”