26TEN Communities: Local literacy for work and life

November 2020

26TEN’s collaborative, locally designed solutions are working

Tasmania’s statewide approach to improving adult literacy and numeracy skills is working. This approach involves a network of business, community groups, different levels of government, education and training providers, and individuals, working together to lift skills. At the local level, in 26TEN communities, the impact of this network is powerful. Implementing solutions that are collaborative, practical and tailored to the specific needs of each community is how a real difference is made. 

Increased investment means more Tasmanians will get the help they need where they need it

Tasmanian Government investment in a new program, 26TEN Communities Local Literacy for Work and Life, will build on the experience of previous and current 26TEN communities. The Program will enable more people to get practical help where and when they need it, supported by local people and organisations. The new program allows the flexibility to direct adult literacy and numeracy resources to areas of greatest need, or potential employment opportunities. Also, each community will train people to help others.

Initially funded for four years under the budget cycle, this ten-year investment through the Education and Training (26TEN) Portfolio will fund communities to manage and deliver activities to support adult literacy locally. Importantly, increasing the amount and length of time of funding for 26TEN Communities will enable the social, cultural and economic impact needed to make lasting change. 

The 26TEN Communities Program will begin in November 2020, with the first two communities to be selected to start during 2020–21 financial year. Additional communities will join the program in subsequent years.

The 26TEN Communities Program will make a significant contribution to 26TEN’s goal, set out in 26TEN Tasmania: Tasmania’s Strategy for Adult Literacy and Numeracy  2016-2025 to increase the number of adult Tasmanians with literacy and numeracy skills at or above Level 3 (OECD PIAAC ) by 10 per cent by 2025. 

Links with other Tasmanian Government activities

The program is a key element of the Tasmanian Government’s Adult Learning Strategy 2020–2023, that is led by the Department of State Growth. The Strategy aims to improve literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills. It will contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of Tasmanian communities by developing skills that will enable more Tasmanians to take on work, support their families and contribute in their communities. 

The program also supports activities by other agencies including the online literacy and numeracy volunteer training for business and community members offered by TasTAFE.

It supports the Tasmanian Government’s aim to give people the opportunity to get local jobs. And, support for adult literacy is a vital element in the new Ministerial Portfolio of Mental Health and Wellbeing. 

26TEN Communities Program – developed in response to 26TEN Communities Grants

Led by the 26TEN Coalition, the new model for the 26TEN Communities Program was developed through community consultation. The Coalition also considered data and feedback from the eight original communities, as noted in the comprehensive review of the first five years of the 26TEN Tasmania Strategy, 26TEN in 2020. Feedback from the 26TEN communities was that lasting change takes more than two years of funding because establishing trust, changing culture and building skills takes time. The review recommended: 

  • Enable 26TEN Communities to achieve sustainable change through long-term funding, moving to a local approach over a greater number of years.

How will the 26TEN Communities Program work?

The 26TEN Communities Program is based on the previous 26TEN Communities grants program, but will be more directly focussed on activities to raise literacy and numeracy skills and will be funded for longer. Funding has been increased from $50 000 a year to $145 000 to cover the cost of more targeted activities and a 26TEN Community Coordinator.

The Tasmanian Government will fund and administer the program through 26TEN. Funding will support community literacy and numeracy activity with the help of a local 26TEN Community Coordinator. The 26TEN Team will manage the 26TEN Communities Program application process and will also provide support and guidance to each community as required. 26TEN Coalition members will encourage and mentor participants in the Program.

Communities will be funded under a commissioning model. This gives each community ownership of their contribution to the shared 26TEN goals. The community will follow 26TEN’s approach of collective action where services, businesses, government agencies, schools, libraries, community groups and individuals work together to build literacy and numeracy skills. The community will have a number of local leaders who have the passion, time and influence to motivate others to take part. There will be a lead organisation in each community that hosts the 26TEN Community Coordinator. 

The Coordinator’s role will be to support local leaders to ensure government services, business and community organisations are working together. They will also join with other local projects and activities, to ensure individuals involved are getting the literacy support they need.

This whole-of-community approach will mobilise the community’s own resources and bring together activities run by TasTAFE, Registered Training Organisations, Neighbourhood Houses, Child and Family Centres, libraries, schools and workplaces. This will include projects funded by the ongoing 26TEN Employer Grants Program.

Establishing 26TEN Communities

26TEN Communities will be established in a flexible way according to community, government and industry priorities. The community may be based on a particular region, industry or sector or operate within a local government area. This will depend on local need, resources and opportunities. 

A 26TEN Community will be one where there is a willingness to participate, and one that meets certain criteria including:

  • being an area of regional growth, with priority industries and forecast jobs growth
  • having a level of disadvantage (according to SEIFA and digital inclusion data)
  • offering value for money
  • demonstrating readiness for change (strong community leadership and/or experience as a 26TEN Community).

Interested communities can complete an Expression of Interest and will be advised when guidelines and a timeline for formal applications are available. We will also include advice on our Facebook page.

What is a 26TEN Community

A 26TEN Community is one where individuals and organisations share an interest in adult literacy and numeracy. Everyone knows about 26TEN. Literacy and numeracy are talked about openly, without stigma, and seen as valuable skills that can be learned at any age. In a 26TEN Community, it is easy to ask for help as everyone understands there are many reasons why your reading, writing or numeracy skills are not as good as they might be. People who need to improve their skills feel comfortable to do so and are appreciated for choosing to learn.

In a 26TEN Community, programs and services to improve literacy and numeracy are readily available, and learners are well supported to take each next step. Local literacy tutors provide friendly, practical help, and organisations run 26TEN employer grant projects to build skills at work.

In a 26TEN Community, forms, signs and written information are well presented and easy to understand because people have the plain English skills to communicate clearly.

For more information about 26TEN Communities see: 


You can also contact us at email@26ten.tas.gov.au