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NZ Army Joins Upskilling Partnership Programme

Media Release 2 May 2008

NZ Army Joins Upskilling Partnership Programme

The New Zealand Army has joined with government's literacy, language and numeracy Upskilling Partnership Programme to enhance its soldiers' development and provide more fulfilling career paths, says Lieutenant Colonel Richard Taylor, the Commanding Officer of the Army's Military Studies Institute.

Lieutenant Colonel Taylor said that many of the Army's new recruits reflect the characteristics of the wider workforce, including having poor literacy and numeracy skills that may stop them from achieving their full potential. "For many reasons, such as individual learning issues or poor experience of formal education, some of our recruits come to us with poor literacy skills.

The upskilling partnership will help us to identify the literacy skills of all of our soldiers, and target specific training to address any individual skill shortages that are identified.

"By committing to this programme, the Army is ensuring that its junior soldiers are given the key foundation skills that they will require for personal development and career progression," Lieutenant Colonel Taylor said. Under the Upskilling Partnership Programme, the New Zealand Army will use Skills Check, a testing tool adapted by the Ministry of Education for use by New Zealand employers, to conduct diagnostic testing of all new recruits and junior soldiers.

The results of these tests will be used by Army Education Corps personnel to develop remedial programmes where required, to ensure that every soldiers is able to meet the range of literacy challenges he or she will encounter. These programmes may include formal instruction, one-on-one tuition, and working in small groups.

These foundation skills will be built upon and developed through more advanced programmes that will prepare soldiers for progression into higher ranks and more challenging roles.

The Upskilling Partnership Programme is a multi agency initiative led by the Department of Labour to assist and encourage employers to create training programmes aimed at improving the literacy, language and numeracy skills of people in the workforce. Manukau Institute of Technology is the tertiary education partner in this programme.

"As a specialist in applied and vocational training, MIT welcomes the opportunity to deliver this programme in the context of Army training and life," said Dr Stuart Middleton, Director External Relations at MIT.

"Literacy is an area where training is much more effective when that training takes place within real life scenarios and where real examples give a clear and sharp purpose to that training. This fits well within the culture of education and training in the New Zealand Army." Manukau Institute of Technology also provide language training to soldiers prior to their deployment throughout the world.


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