Department of State Development

The National Foundation Skills Strategy Project (NFSS) 2014-2015 is a joint initiative by Australian governments to support priority action areas from the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults.

National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults

The NFSS Project was a joint initiative by Australian governments to support priority action areas from the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults. View the Strategy (PDF). Work at a national level commenced in 2013-14 with the Foundation Skills Workforce Development (FSWD) Project and concluded in June 2015. The projects were conducted by TAFE SA under the auspices of the South Australian Department of State Development on behalf of all Australian governments.

The Strategy commits Australian governments to four priority action areas:

  1. Raising awareness and commitment to action – building an understanding of foundation skills in the workplace and the community and removing the stigma associated with low adult foundation skills.
  2. Adult learners have high quality learning opportunities and outcomes – providing a variety of foundation skills development opportunities that can be tailored to individual needs.
  3. Strengthening foundation skills in the workplace – establishing strong and lasting partnerships between government, industry, employers and unions and providing foundation skills training that is responsive to employer and industry needs.
  4. Building the capacity of the education and training workforces to deliver foundation skills – building the skills of specialist language, literacy and numeracy practitioners, developing the workforce to enable the effective teaching of employability skills and supporting vocational trainers to better integrate foundation skills with vocational training.

The FSWD and NFSS Projects focused primarily on the workforce development challenges that underpin the fourth priority action area.

2016 - 2017 project

Project activity will refine and validate a National Foundation Skills Professional Standards Framework. The Professional Standards Framework Project will build on research into professional practice in foundation skills that was completed in 2015.

The project will explore opportunities for using the framework to develop consistent, practical tools that will:

  • enable practitioners to identify and describe their current capability
  • identify existing workforce skill gaps and focus areas for professional development
  • consistently describe expected practitioner capabilities for job descriptions or program requirements
  • map outcomes from current and historic qualifications for the purposes of comparison with individual or employer requirements
  • describe and organise professional development options.

The project will be informed by a series of stakeholder consultations and guided by a national reference group. Preparations have commenced for the consultations.

To be kept informed email

2014 - 2015 NFSS project outcomes

Research into professional practice in foundation skills

Through a suite of research and consultation activities this project element explored the concept of a professional standards framework for practitioners working in foundation skills. An extensive NCVER survey gathered information on the range of practitioners currently working in this field and on their professional development needs. Intelligence collated through the research and consultation processes informed the development of a draft professional standards.

Professional practice in foundation skills final report
Download PDF | 705 KB

Draft Foundation Skills Professional Standards Framework
Download PDF | 340 KB

Foundation Skills Qualifications Stocktake
Download PDF |  278 KB

Who is delivering foundation skills? NCVER Data Analysis Report
Download PDF |  1.2 MB

Stories from the field
Download PDF |  1.2 MB

Focus Groups - themes, notes and quotations
Download PDF |  310 KB

Foundation Skills Community of Practice

Practitioners from a diversity of education and training backgrounds were brought together through a national community of practice to build and share knowledge about foundation skills. Community of Practice members connected with interested individuals and organisations to raise awareness of foundation skills and how they can best be developed.

Knowledge sharing initiated by the Community of Practice is continuing on the FSTeach Facebook Group. Practitioners interested in foundation skills are encouraged to join the conversation.

View the videos and case studies produced by COP members highlight effective approaches to foundation skills delivery.

Foundation Skills Workplace Champions 

Seven Workplace Champions raised awareness of foundation skills among employers. The Champions highlighted the benefits of addressing foundation skills in the workplace by sharing positive outcomes from their own organisations through networking and public speaking opportunities.

Workforce development projects

Five workforce development projects were conducted by State/Territory governments under the FSWD Project. These activities produced a range of resources to inform planning for foundation skills delivery.

  • ACT – series of case studies focusing on planning integrated delivery of foundation skills
  • Northern Territory – workshop resources focusing on the development of integrated assessments
  • Queensland – analysis of capacity building workshops for community based organisations and VET in Schools providers
  • South Australia – 10 step process for identifying and incorporation foundation skills into VET
  • Tasmania – workshop-based delivery and assessment program for TAELLN401.

Newsletter archive

A regular newsletter provided progress updates through the FSWD and NFSS Projects. 

See all the newsletters


PhillipsKPA was appointed as the independent evaluator for the FSWD and NFSS. Data gathered throughout the projects was used to inform a final report on the effectiveness of the project in supporting priority action areas from the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults.

Evaluation of the National Skills Strategy Project Download PDF | 1.95 MB