The transport industry plays a vital role in the economy. This fast-paced sector relies on proficient workers who, at the most basic level, can communicate efficiently and perform basic maths calculations. It is for this reason that leading industry participants continue to invest in quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” to upskill their staff. This workplace training includes basic English literacy and numeracy instruction.
Basic numeracy and basic English literacy skills are required in just about every occupation. This includes the modern fast-paced third-party logistics or “3PL” sector, which is responsible for efficiently, securely and safely transporting and storing products on behalf of many sectors.
There is very little scope for error in an industry where just-in-time or “JIT” delivery is usually the norm. In these operations, goods and raw materials are delivered when they are required to save customers in warehousing and inventory storage costs. In addition to handling this intricate process on behalf of clients, many 3PLs transport goods over long distances and over “the last mile” to where they are needed. Both duties present their own unique challenges that also rely upon a competent team of workers who have honed their basic English literacy and maths skills by completing quality adult basic education and training or “ABET”. The same holds true for those sophisticated cross-docking operations that many of these 3PLs also operate to provide further cost savings for customers by completely removing the storage component from the supply chain. They are key to the efficient movement of most fast-moving consumable, fragile and perishable goods, among other items that are stocked in retail outlets.
Meanwhile, the efficacy of state-of-the-art warehousing operations as other essential components of supply chains also rely heavily upon adequately skilled employees who can read and write English, the official language of business. This is in addition to performing simple maths calculations using their basic numbers skills.
Industry’s preferred accredited training provider for more than 30 years
Providing high quality adult basic education and training to South African industry
It is for this reason that many of these companies continue to outsource their important adult basic education and training or “ABET” requirements to Triple E Training. This leading accredited training provider has helped to equip various employees of some of the country’s foremost 3PLs with the basic English literacy and numeracy skills they need to perform their jobs at optimal levels. Employees from this industry who have participated in Triple E Training’s workplace training programmes range from warehouse operatives and picker packers through to forklift truck and counterbalance drivers. This is in addition to administrative and truck driving staff, among other members of the South African transport logistics workforce.
Triple E Training has been industry’s preferred accredited training provider for more than 30 years. This accredited training provider leverages a nationwide network of skilled and experienced training facilitators and infrastructure to provide basic numbers and English literacy training throughout the country. Notably, the accredited training provider also conducts workplace training in very remote areas of South Africa. This is especially the case for the company’s clients in the mining, agriculture and construction industries that have operations that are largely based outside of the main urban nodes. The accredited training provider is also very flexible and able to adapt its basic English literacy and numeracy training to suit onerous production schedules as is typically the case in the transport logistics industry.
The four levels of adult education and training, or “AET”, including basic English literacy and basic numeracy training
Adult education and training or “AET” comprises of four levels. Each of these levels of Triple E Training’s workplace training provides more education and training as the learner progresses. Each adult education and training or “AET” level are equivalent to the General Education and Training or “GET” of school goers. Adult education and training or “AET” is equivalent to a National Qualification Framework Level 1 qualification. These adult education and training or “AET” levels are provided by the South African Qualifications Authority or “SAQA”.
|NQF Level 1||GET||Adult education and training or AET|
|Grade 9||Level 4|
|Grade 7||Level 3|
|Grade 5||Level 2|
|Grade 3||Level 1|
|CORE COMPETENCIES||ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” LEVEL 1||ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” LEVEL 2|
|Writing||Write five sentences related to one topic.||Write a story or letter of about three paragraphs or more than a page.|
|Reading||Comprehend a text of a maximum of 150 words in a narrative format.||Comprehend a text of 320 words in narrative, factual and persuasive format and that contains unfamiliar vocabulary.|
|Functional literacy/language||Understanding simple forms. These include notices, lists, invitations and messages||Understanding complex forms. These include, among others, written instructions, timetables, recipes and advertisements.|
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Sound English literacy and maths skills prevent misunderstandings in the warehouse
Good English literacy and numeracy skills for a high productivity environment
Warehouse workers, for example, use basic English literacy and basic maths skills in just about every aspect of their daily duties that entail receiving and processing incoming and outgoing goods and materials.
Sound English communication skills among team members avoids costly misunderstandings when, for example, they are packing and shipping orders, in addition to managing, organising and retrieving stock.
Because they can read and understand important company communication, these workers are also aware of the need to always maintain a clean and safe working environment inside and outside the warehouse. This is especially true for those 3PLs that service highly regulated industries, such as the chemicals, hazardous goods and fuel sectors. Employees who can communicate effectively can also confidently report transgressions to their supervisors to strengthen occupational health and safety protocol. Workers who lack basic communication skills do not have the confidence to communicate in front of their co-workers – least of all with their supervisors. This can also lead to strained professional relationships between supervisors and their teams. Moreover, workers with poor English literacy skills also need to be managed and supervised extensively. They are prone to making errors as they do not understand clear instructions. This places immense pressure on existing managerial resources that could be more efficiently deployed in other aspects of the warehousing operation if staff had been trained accordingly. Poor English communication skills also lead to unnecessary stress in the workplace, whereas employees who excel in their jobs because they understand what is required of them have a sense of self-worth and loyalty to their companies. This, in turn, helps to attract and retain the best talent to grow businesses.
Notably, sound English communication skills are also deployed when reporting lost, damaged or missing merchandise to supervisors. Warehouse workers also use their English literacy skills when they receive goods for return or delivery, in addition to verifying contents against purchase orders to ensure they are accurate and have not been damaged.
Adult basic education and training or ABET for a functionally literate workforce
English literacy training for optimal functioning in the workplace
Employees who have completed our adult basic education and training or “ABET” programmes are functionally literate. This means that they can engage in all those activities in which English literacy is required for effective operating in the workplace and in their daily lives. Efficient communication in the workplace avoids wastage and the need to redo work. Moreover, workers who have completed our English literacy training can read company documentation and write eligible emails to ensure clarity in high-performance production factories and on worksites, for example. They can also read and understand instruction manuals to help reduce downtime due to extensive training in the use of new equipment, machinery and tools. This also helps in maintaining and servicing valuable capital equipment to avoid costly breakdowns.
Truck drivers, for example, rely heavily on literacy skills. They need to be able to read road signs; instructions on labels and packaging for goods that must be delivered; serial numbers; stock numbers; or codes. Moreover, they use their basic literacy skills to read consignment slips that provide delivery and dispatch instructions, packing notes and traffic infringement notices. This is in addition to destination information; safety documentation, especially when transporting hazardous goods; and site entry instructions, to name only a few areas of their daily duties that require sound English literacy skills.
Quality basic maths training for a functionally numerate workforce
Basic maths skills for modern and sophisticated industries
Meanwhile, employees who have completed our adult basic education and training or “ABET” are also functionally numerate. This means that their maths proficiencies are at a level that is required to perform the many tasks in the workplace that involve this skill. Employees who have completed our adult basic education and training or “ABET” can access, use and interpret, as well as communicate mathematical information and ideas to engage in and manage demands in the workplace. This includes, for example, accurately quantifying the amount of raw material required on factory floors, as well as measure and record numerical data on worksites.
In a warehouse setting, basic maths skills are essential when, for example, counting and stocking merchandise according to an inventory control log. This is in addition to packing items in an appropriate order to ensure that they are ready for shipping.
Truck drivers, for example, may need to measure the width, height and length of a load. They also use their basic numbers skills to calculate the hours that they have worked, the kilometres that they have driven and expenses incurred almost on a daily basis.
They also use their basic numbers skills to ensure that their trucks are not overloaded and well within the legal loading limits, as well as that documentation correlates with the dimensions of the cargo. This involves a basic knowledge of formulas to calculate height, width, depth and volume, for example. They also need to have a sound grasp of decimals and an ability to round numbers up and down. These are all skills that are taught in the basic numeracy component of Triple E Training’s workplace training programmes.
The real value of basic maths skills
Basic numbers skills facilitate critical thinking, logic and problem-solving
However, the real value of maths skills is that it enables critical thinking, problem-solving and logic in the workplace. This is the reason it is a basic competency that is required across a broad spectrum of industries and jobs.
In fact, basic maths skills have become even more important in this digital era. This is despite the availability of computers and calculators that can perform basic calculations on our behalf. These items of equipment are only as “intelligent” as their operators and will not be able to perform efficiently if the user does not have thorough grasp of basic maths. In this digital era, companies are relying extensively on “big data” to guide their decision-making. As such, employees who can analyse and interpret data in ways that inspire actionable decisions are in high demand. Even employees who may not work directly with data need to be able to comprehend what information is conveying on a basic level.
The transport logistics industry is among those sectors that continues to undergo significant transformation. It is being “disrupted” by digital technologies that have provided a more efficient means of buying and receiving goods. A case in point is the rapid uptake of online shopping and apps that provide a more convenient means of ordering and collecting product. It is, therefore, essential that employers continue to focus on upskilling their staff so that they can efficiently and quickly adapt to change.
Learn how we can assist you equip your workers with the basic English literacy and numbers skills they need to perform at optimal levels and our approach to workplace training at www.eee.co.za.