TasWater - Getting it written
The southern division of TasWater provides water and wastewater services to a population of approximately 200,000 people across 25,000sq km, with 3,266km of water pipelines and 2,181km of sewer mains and employs 433 people. It has 12 offices, from Tasman, to the Central Highland, to Glamorgan Spring Bay.
Reasons for the project
TasWater identified that major change had to be made to provide employees with every opportunity to develop their capabilities to match the expectations as a water and wastewater provider. A skills audit showed 90 staff who would benefit from participating in a 26TEN project
The challenge became even clearer when the company started a comprehensive set of training across the organisation in qualifications such as Certificate III in Water Operations and skills sets for compliance safety training. A number of staff were struggling, not because of their knowledge or ability, but because their literacy skills weren’t up to the task. The company had already received a Workplace English Language and Literacy grant to increase the field workers’ confidence in using computers, and this was having a significant impact on the workforce.
Get it written saw gains in:
efficiency and effectiveness that have improved productivity and service standards
improved compliance and quality of work
better communication across work teams, and
increased commitment and acceptance of change in a time when TasWater was facing state-wide organisational re-structure.
The project raised awareness of the need for literacy skills across all levels of the workforce, raised the confidence and lifted the aspirations of workers with low literacy, and built team support amongst men working with those individuals
Get it Written provided an Adult Literacy Skills Officer to support Service Delivery field workers who need to progress their basic literacy skills to a level where they could confidently and accurately meet the literacy and numeracy requirements of their jobs. This support came to them in their workplaces.
Through Get it written 19 Coordinators and Assistant Coordinators were trained in managing documents, summarising and communicating information, online data entry accuracy, reporting functions and email communication. This level of leadership is pivotal in managing Service Delivery teams. Their communication skills need to be very strong.
Engaging the whole organisation was essential to the success of this project – especially building the understanding with managers and coordinators about literacy and numeracy in the workplace, and gaining their support. This included supporting the learners by allowing them to do their study during work time.