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Foundation Skills providing benefits for tutors’ current, and future, work

By Fiona West | December 16, 2022
Navitas Skilled Futures Academic Team Leaders Chen Zhao and Vlasta Gunning with Foundation Skills participants.

A Western Sydney educational support organisation has worked with Navitas Skilled Futures to provide professional development for its tutoring staff, for their current work – and for their future employment.

Learning Links, a charitable not-for-profit organisation, with offices in Cabramatta and Riverwood, said tutors of its HIPPY program (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) had developed stronger writing skills by participating in a course run by Navitas Skilled Futures under the Foundation Skills For Your Future (FSFYF) program. HIPPY is a two-year structured early learning program for parents with young children. The tutors visit parents once a fortnight over two years to provide play-based educational activities for them to help prepare their children for school. As part of the tutors’ work they provide written feedback on the progress, requiring good writing skills.

Funded by the Australian Government, the Foundation Skills For Your Future Program is a nationwide program for individuals and employers who want to help improve the skills of their workers and, in turn, boost workplace productivity and staff retention and satisfaction.

Learning Links HIPPY Cabramatta Coordinator Coco Lo said the course was perfect for their needs, especially as it was free and custom designed.

“Almost all of our tutors have English as their second language, so we always try to seek some learning opportunities for them, in this case, to improve their writing skills, which they do require to support their role,” Coco said.

“We heard Navitas had this free, amazing program, and it’s personalised, specifically for the role of our tutors and the nature of their jobs, so we know it’s going to be really beneficial for them, and us.

“I have received a lot of positive feedback about this course from the tutors and what they are learning, and they just love it. They say the teachers at Navitas are very accommodating and make it enjoyable at every step, they are really learning a lot and are achieving great outcomes.”

As a HIPPY provider, Learning Links ensures its tutors are provided with training for current and future work, through programs like Foundation Skills For Your Future.

Navitas Skilled Futures Academic Team Leader Chen Zhao said this 10-week FSfYF course was being delivered one-day-per-week online via Zoom for the tutors’ convenience and flexibility, and was providing immediate and long-term benefits for participants and Learning Links.

“The HIPPY program requires providers like Learning Links to offer training to tutors, as their employment only lasts two years while they work with their families, so this training can help with their current work and also upskill them for future work,” he said.

“The focus on this training has been to improve the tutors’ writing skills, so that their case notes can be done more effectively to report on strengths, areas for improvement and recommendations. But we have also included writing skills for job seeking, like cover letters, resumes and job enquiry emails, to prepare them for their next step towards future employment.”

Coco said even before the FSfYF course had finished she saw a marked improvement in the writing skills of the tutors.

“Every time they visit a family the tutors have to fill in a form with a comment section where they are required to ask the family how their children went with the activities,” she said.

“Before the program they would write that the child liked it or didn’t like it, but now they are able to provide more quality data with good sentence structures explaining what the children liked about the exercises and what they didn’t like, with much more detail that is very valuable to our team.”

“We are very happy to have worked with Navitas Skilled Futures on this training program.”

Feedback from two tutors included:

“The Navitas training is good, the trainer explained every topic very clearly, mostly we practice our writing skills plus some grammar, and most of the writing was related to our job.”

“The teacher is very experienced in explaining clearly and helping me when I have difficulty in using digital. This training is very helpful for my current job.”

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