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Programme contributes to improved performance of workers

Learning Representative Programme contributes to improved performance of workers and organisations

An independent evaluative report released this week into the Learning Representative Programme shows that workplace learning supported by Learning Representatives (Learning Reps) led to improved individual worker and workplace performance.

Established in 2005, the Learning Representative Programme is managed by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) and funded by the Tertiary Education Commission. Its main purpose is to train workers as Learning Reps to identify, advocate for, and facilitate, workplace learning amongst their peers, with a particular focus on workplace literacy, language and numeracy issues. There are currently 422 registered Learning Reps, employed across 150 workplaces in 94 different organisations across New Zealand.

Heathrose Research Limited was commissioned earlier this year to conduct the evaluation in a joint initiative by NZCTU and Ako Aotearoa - The National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. The research intent was to determine the effectiveness of the Learning Reps programme, and to assess its value to a range of stakeholders, including the Learning Reps themselves, their co-workers engaged in workplace learning initiatives, employers and unions.

The researchers found the programme to be extremely effective in meeting its primary purpose - to raise awareness amongst workers and employers of opportunities to access and participate in industry training and literacy and numeracy initiatives; particularly workers not previously successful in the formal education system, who therefore lacked both the confidence and knowledge to re-engage with formal learning.

The report identified the Learner Representative Programme as benefiting both organisational and individual performance. Workers who had been influenced by the programme were found to have a more positive attitude to, and were subsequently more engaged in training, while management commitment to training was also reinforced. Learner Reps encouraged workers back into learning and this not only improved literacy, language and numeracy skill levels for many, but also contributed to better functioning work teams, and in some cases resulted in the workers receiving pay increases.

A number of common factors that contribute to the effectiveness of the programme are outlined in the report:

* Management support, particularly in removing barriers to Learning Rep activity
* Formal vertical and horizontal communication systems within workplaces
* Practical support for Learning Reps in workplaces
* Union support for the purpose and the practice of Learning Reps

The evaluation report can be found at Learning%20Repr esentatives%20Programme.pdf

ENDS

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