A report released by the Industry Skills Councils, representing 11 separate industry skills groupings, has warned that as many as 53 per cent of working-age Australians have difficulty with numeracy skills, and 46 per cent of Australian adults have problems with reading skills.


The report, ‘No More Excuses: an industry response to the language, literacy and numeracy challenge’, found that millions of Australians have insufficient LLN skills to benefit fully from training or to participate effectively at work. Further the situation seems to be worsaening, with the LLN performance of Australian students worsening over the past decade, worsened in comparison to other OECD countries.


The Industry Skills Councils have recommended that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) should establish an overarching blueprint for action on LLN in Australia 2012-2022.


More immediately, within the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, ISCs propose:


  • better identification of the LLN skills of learners before training, and targeted funding to address identified LLN skill gaps
  • the inclusion of clear advice on LLN skill requirements in Training Packages and/or their companion volumes
  • the implementation of a strategy to develop greater national awareness of LLN issues, including the de-stigmatisation of LLN skill development
  • an increased capacity in the VET system, and all practitioners, to support the LLN skill development needs of learners and workers
  • better-targeted solutions for building the LLN skills of workers/learners.


The report, ‘No More Excuses’ is available at http://www.isc.org.au/jointwork.php