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Back to basics


Reading, writing and maths are still three basic skills we all need, even in this more complex world. As many of us know, low levels of what is now termed literacy, language proficiency and numeracy (LLN for short) have become a growing problem in New Zealand in recent years.

New technologies, an increase in immigration and students who are unable to adapt at school are some contributing factors. And as the hospitality industry is often a first entry point into the workforce for many young people and new immigrants, business owners have to deal with a fairly high number of workers with this problem.

I was visiting one of our clients last month to discuss the training programmes his staff are currently doing. He talked to me about how he wanted to help them advance their careers and add value to the business. During our conversation, the subject of literacy and numeracy came up. He explained that he had a hardworking manager who was doing a really good job – good business results, staff management skills and customer service. However, he noticed that this manager did everything possible to avoid putting anything on paper. The manager asked to deliver any reports verbally, because, he said, it saved him time. It had become obvious that this manager had a problem with literacy, and while he was an effective performer at his current level, this issue would very likely become a barrier to him progressing to senior management levels. So, as we talked, it was clear that our ServiceIQ approach to supporting literacy and numeracy development in the workplace, as part of ServiceIQ arranged training, would be a good way for him to resolve this. ServiceIQ training material is being progressively designed to assist in raising LLN competence levels.

ServiceIQ, with support from the Tertiary Education Commission, is making a real effort to raise competence levels in literacy, language and numeracy in the service sectors we cover..

This is a vital part of improving productivity and profitability. So, we are asking the employers we work with to get new trainees to complete a simple assessment process for LLN that can identify if the trainee has any issues on these areas. The value of this free assessment for the employee, and the employer, is such that it is well worth doing it. The person’s results are confidential to that individual, and there is support available, at no cost to the employer or employee, to help each person if they agree to it.

While all of our training material is being designed to help raise LLN competence levels, with positive feedback so far, we are adding more resources. Soon we will have that simple assessment process for LLN available online. We have just produced the ServiceIQ Short Guide to Literacy and Numeracy, a helpful free booklet that uses scenarios and examples that are relevant to hospitality. And, as well we have a specialist that can discuss the issues of LLN directly with you. So, if you would like a copy of that useful booklet, more information or some help about literacy, language or numeracy problems in your hospitality workplace, please contact our LLN Advisor, Dianne Boss, on 04 817 5310 or call 0800 863 693.Dianne can suggest how you can best support people in your workplace to improve their reading, writing and maths skills – those basic yet vital tools which, ultimately, will benefit their career and your business. Make the call.

Dean Minchington

Chief Executive, ServiceIQ

For more information, please contact ServiceIQ on 0800 863 693 or email