Literacy and numeracy support in vocational education: Perceptions from engineering apprentices in Victoria
Stuart Levy, Michelle Briede and Liam Frost-Camilleri
Federation University, Australia
This research explored how engineering apprentices at an Australian TAFE institution perceive their supported acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills. Using a mixed methods approach, 56 apprentices completed questionnaires with nine participating in subsequent interviews. The study identified apprentices' perceived ability levels in reading, writing and numeracy, learning strategies they employed, and literacy and numeracy support they found most helpful. Findings provide insight into apprentices' approaches to learning, many of whom struggled to articulate how they acquired the literacy and numeracy skills for their studies and employment. Participants primarily focused on navigation of coursework and reading demands while reporting similar learning strategies. Literacy and numeracy support (LNS) teachers were considered helpful for others, with clear distinctions between the trade teacher/trainer and LNS teacher. Agitation with the self-paced nature of the classroom and a mismatch between study and workplace was also highlighted. This research suggests greater awareness of how apprentices learn would support literacy and numeracy skills development without reinforcing a deficit discourse. New approaches to develop apprentices' learning strategies within the wider dialogue of literacy and numeracy acquisition is recommended.
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|Authors: Dr Stuart Levy is a senior lecturer in the School of Education at Federation University and Discipline Leader of Pathways. His research interests include the efficacy of pathways to higher education; the transitions experienced by higher education students; and pathways that support students' aspirations for further study.|
Ms Michelle Briede is a lecturer in the School of Education at Federation University Australia and Program Coordinator of the University's Enabling Program and Diploma of University Studies. Her research interests include student transitions within education settings; education practices; the role of educators; and agentic behaviours of students.
Mr Liam Frost-Camilleri is a lecturer in the School of Education at Federation University Australia and assistant Program Coordinator for the University's Master of Teaching (Secondary) program. He is currently completing his PhD studies in TAFE education and student readiness to learn. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please cite as: Levy, S., Briede, M. & Frost-Camilleri, L. (2021). Literacy and numeracy support in vocational education: Perceptions from engineering apprentices in Victoria. Issues in Educational Research, 31(3), 891-913. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/levy.pdf