A National Foundation Skills Strategy project has produced a great resource for the professional development of foundation skills practitioners.
If you are after a good model for a workforce capability framework then you can do no better than take a swing through the draft Foundation Skills Professional Standards Framework (14 pages).
The Framework was developed as part of the National Foundation Skills Strategy endorsed by Australian governments with an aim to substantially improve the literacy and numeracy skills of working age Australians. The Strategy’s target is that by 2022 two-thirds of the labour force will perform at Level 3 of the Australian Core Skills Framework.
Levels of practice and capability domains
The draft Foundation Skills Professional Standards Framework (FSPSF) identifies four levels of professional practice:
- Operate only with support and advice from experienced foundation skills providers
- Operate under supervision and as part of a team
- Operate independently and in collaboration with others
- Operate independently and provide leadership and mentoring for others.
Each of these professional practice levels is mapped against four capability domains:
- Knowledge of foundation skills
- Capacity to provide foundation skills services
- Experience in foundation skills teaching practice
- Skills in professional capacity building
As the draft FSPSF notes, ‘Practitioners will generally have a spiky profile across the capabilities, indicating individual areas of expertise and experience.’
The draft FSPSF specifies capabilities carefully. For example, Capability Domain B (Capacity to provide foundation skills services) is demonstrated by practitioners who can: apply adult learning principles; respond to identified foundation skills needs; collaborate with others to deliver services; and provide foundation skills pathway advice.
Acknowledging the diversity of practice contexts
Importantly, the draft FSPSF recognises that foundational skills teachers work in a variety of practice contexts. Three broad contexts are identified: education and training; workplace and employment; and personal and community. Within these practice contexts there are influencing factors which determine ‘how the capabilities described in the Framework relate to their own practice’. The three influencing factors are:
- The foundation skills service delivery environment – the environment in which service delivery takes place, including physical and online
- the practitioner’s job role – degree to which foundation skills service delivery forms part of job role
- the intended outcomes from service delivery – formal or informal, individual skills building, integrated and contextualised programs, skills assistance.
- The draft does a masterly job at integrating these elements into a coherent and useable framework for professional standards. Descriptors for each of the four levels are set out in tables on pages 8-14.
How to provide feedback
Feedback on the draft Framework is invited until 16 December. Information on where to send feedback is provided on the first page of the draft.