Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2013 Contents B6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 27, 2013
and ARLENE WALLACE ROMERO
Computers have transformed the workplace. The
mechanic at a service centre has to read a com-
puter-generated analysis of the engine rather than
listen to its hum.
The stores clerk who knew every item by shape,
size, colour and location now has to pick the item
out from a computer listing and type in items. Rather
than walk and talk to co-workers or meet to discuss
issues, emails circulate on the office intranet. Then
there s the new emphasis on safety, which requires
signs at every turn and hefty safety manuals.
Moreover the increasingly rapid rate of change
means that new reading appears almost as the poor
reader has figured out a way to get around yesterday s
In 1998, recognising that almost all students coming
to ALTA classes had jobs and that the job often hin-
dered punctuality and regular attendance, ALTA
thought to bring literacy instruction to the workplace.
CESO (Canadian Executive Services Overseas) advisor
Kaye Grose conducted two Easter Workplace Literacy
Courses to train ALTA tutors in customising the pro-
gramme to meet workplace needs via flexible sched-
uling and inclusion of work-based material.
A needs assessment is the first step to literacy
instruction to the workplace.
This involves employee orientation conducted by
the company and ALTA, jointly or separately. For
groups greater than 20 persons, the next step is an
initial literacy screening conducted by ALTA-trained
tutors. For fewer than 20, ALTA moves right away
to the next step---one-on-one assessments of each
employee s literacy level.
The employers and employees determine the fre-
quency and timing of teaching sessions based on
their work schedules. Intensive instruction produces
quicker results and is a good option during down
Queen s Hall used the period of rebuilding to run
a literacy course for employees. At the end of the
programme, manager Heather Henderson Gordon
wrote commending ALTA and the tutor, Paula Camp-
bell, "on her total sense of commitment, confiden-
tiality and ability to motivate the trainees."
The employer chooses the location for tuition,
either on-site or off-site. Experienced ALTA tutors
supplement the ALTA workbooks with materials
from the work environment and modify the pro-
gramme to meet the needs of the organisation and
employees. In addition to literacy instruction, ALTA
can specifically address spelling through the newly-
developed ALTA Spelling Programme.
When you think we are a literate nation, you miss
the signs of low literacy and attribute these to laziness
or incompetence: accidents when safety procedures
are ignored; sketchy reports that do not provide the
detail needed for decision making; damage to equip-
ment because nearby printed instructions are not
followed; good employees turning down training
opportunities and even promotions; high turnover
and absenteeism as employees duck reading and
Consequently, co-workers are constantly training
replacements or accepting additional responsibilities
to meet quotas or deadlines.
When you discover a worker who
has literacy difficulties and "let him
go", where do you look for his replace-
ment? You go to the same pool where
55 per cent are not at newspaper reading
Consider then whether, despite the
obstacles, it may be cost effective to
keep the employee who already knows
the job and provide literacy instruction
in the workplace. Workplaces may con-
tract ALTA to provide literacy instruc-
tion for employees whose literacy skills
need upgrading. Unlike the free com-
munity classes, workplace programmes
can provide intensive instruction for
quicker results and run on days and
times to suit employees work schedules
and to avoid peak times or seasons.
• Call 624-ALTA (2582), 664-2582,
653-4656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ALTA in the workplace---
knock, knock, knocking...
The employer chooses the location for
tuition, either on-site or off-site.
Experienced ALTA tutors supplement the
ALTA workbooks with materials from the
work environment and modify the
programme to meet the needs of the
organisation and employees. In addition to
literacy instruction, ALTA can specifically
address spelling through the newly-
developed ALTA Spelling Programme.
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