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Charles Darwin University is working with NT businesses to deliver free, bespoke training programs in language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy as part of a drive to ensure Australia continues to prosper in an increasingly competitive world

CDU has so far delivered training to several Territory businesses and communities.

The free training has helped to upskill employees in childcare, hospitals, disability and community services, migration support, charity organisations and more.

The program is funded by the Federal Government, which chose CDU as the Northern Territory’s preferred provider of these vocational training courses to businesses, following a nationwide review that found Australia is falling behind other OECD countries in critical skills.

It is estimated that 44 percent of Australian adults don’t have the language, literacy and numeracy skills necessary to take part in the workforce effectively. And digital skills are now needed in nearly every job.

The problem is most acute in rural, regional and Indigenous communities. The university’s Dr Richard Bowen says: “The lack of these skills is a massive impediment to social and economic inclusion.”

The Government has committed $52.5 million to the national campaign as part of its Foundation Skills for Your Future strategy. Part of this funding has been allocated to training programs, such as the programs CDU is delivering.

Under this program, the CDU team – made up of Dr Bowen, team leader Britta White, Joy Harley and Hieu Nguyen, with support from Professor Dominic Upton, Dean at CDU’s College of Health and Human Sciences – does not teach blanket courses covering basic skills, such as how to read and write.

Instead, the team specialises in improving workers’ skills by providing bespoke, individualised training for each employee.

“We may have 10 people being trained and 10 programs delivered – one for everyone,” says Dr Bowen.

The team takes a collaborative approach from beginning to end by working with each organisation to identify skills gaps, profiling each learner and creating custom training programs.

Training can last from 30 hours to a year and cover everything from language skills to lessons in how to write emails.

“We obviously need the organisation’s absolute support,” says Dr Bowen. “They must see the benefits of the training programs.

“While the programs are free for businesses, staff usually have to take time off work for the training. We work hard to make sure that businesses see a return on investment for their staff’s training time.”

If you would like to learn more about the program or how your business can get involved, call 1800 061 963
or email