Lack of basic skills within literacy, numeracy and digital is one reason why many people are excluded from the labour market. According to PIAAC, 400 000 adult Norwegians perform at the lowest level in literacy. Many in this group also receive social security benefits.
Two birds with one stone
There is a growing recognition in Nav for the need to coordinate services from various public agencies related to adult learning and employment. The Vox project was designed to meet two ends. First to fulfill citizens' statutory rights to primary and lower secondary education which is provided by the municipal adult learning agencies, and secondly to support clients in their obligation to keep up a required level of activity at work or in training in order to maintain the social benefit payments.
Start with the staff
Many Nav agencies struggle to come up with offerings to meet these requirements with integrated, structured and systematic programs for their clients.
– With Vox on our team, we would like to evaluate experiences and share outcomes with Nav agencies all over Norway while continuing the professional training of our staff facing this client group, says Nav agency manager Daniel Berg-Hansen.
Under his leadership, the Nav agency in the municipality of Rælingen recently ran the program where staff was trained on the importance and characteristics of basic skills, and how to use the Vox tools such as learning objectives and skill profiles.
The basic skills profiles are tools developed by Vox in collaboration with relevant professional resources depending on the specific capabilities at hand. They are meant to facilitate the design of basic skills training tailored to the needs of each work place and individual learner. The profiles describe how each of the basic skills is used by workers in a particular occupation. The profiles are based on specific competence goals by occupation.
Feedback from Nav practitioners is that these tools have clarified to them why clients need basic training within literacy, numeracy and digital to be able to fill and keep a job. Learning how to use the tools, their dialogue with clients has become more purposeful and improved their abilities to assess basic skills levels and client capacity for work.
With this knowledge, practitioners claim to be better equipped to guide their clients towards the most suited learning paths, normally rolled out in three steps. Starting with the basic skills training, they move on to work-based learning before entering into internships organized by Nav. According to Mr. Berg-Hansen, local industry has stepped up to the challenge and opened their doors for Nav clients in need of job related learning and internships.
Since the first pilots two years ago, close to 400 Nav employees have been through this training, and Vox has a busy «backlog» of course commitments for 2015.