What are workplace basic skills?
Workplace basic skills are the basic communication and maths skills needed to function and progress at work. Examples include:
- writing skills needed to complete paperwork and reports, and to write letters to customers and notes to colleagues.
- reading skills needed to understand health and safety notices, manuals, emails, and memos.
- speaking and listening skills needed to work well in a team, follow instructions, and communicate with customers.
- maths skills needed to calculate money and time, complete timesheets, and understand and use percentages, graphs and charts.
Why are workplace basic skills important?
Research has identified that across Europe large numbers of people have basic skills below the level necessary to function effectively and progress at work.
People with low levels of basic skills often work in low- income, low and semi-skilled jobs. These jobs have changed significantly in recent years with the introduction of new working practices, systems of vocational training, communication systems and technologies, quality procedures, and an increasing emphasis on customer service. These changes have meant that employees now need better communication and maths skills than ever. Organisations therefore need to help their employees to develop their basic skills to be able to improve the way they do their job, and in so doing improve organisational performance.