Way2Work - Our award winning workplace literacy program
In 2009, Downer was the inaugural winner of the Skills Highway Award, sponsored by the Department of Labour, at the New Zealand Equal Employment Opportunities Trust (EEO) Work and Life Awards. We received the award for our initiative to tackle gaps in literacy, language and numeracy, through the introduction of our Way2Work program. The program effectively improved employee reading, writing and numeracy by 17.5 percent over a two-year period.
Three years earlier, we recognised the requirement for employees to have foundation literacy, language and numeracy skills, with the increasing need for workplace and safety reporting, and RAMM asset management. As a result, we commenced workplace analysis of the foundation skills of our employees and successfully launched the Way2Work scheme in 2008, with assistance from Infra Train and The Learning Wave. The program was New Zealand’s largest ever single employer led workplace literacy program and over the two year period, 945 Downer employees participated in the course. Way2Work has contributed to productivity and job satisfaction, and reduced the number of workplace incidents.
Way2Work has also helped to build stronger families and communities throughout New Zealand. Participants of the program have shared their appreciation with the company reporting the great satisfaction in being able to help their children with their homework for the first time.