My idea is to tackle the literacy, digital literacy and numeracy roadblocks to jobs of the future through harnessing the skills and experience of appropriately screened and trained people who can provide one-on-one coaching to job seekers.

47% of Australians are functionally illiterate. That means they can't read the instructions on a medicine bottle, they can't read a map and they can’t use a computer to find or send information. The Australian Industry Group reports that 93% of employers say that low levels of workforce literacy and numeracy skills are negatively impacting their business. Compound this with growing insistence from government and business on digital interaction and we have a major elephant in the room in creating and sustaining the jobs of the future. Embarrassment in disclosing illiteracy and poor experiences with formal education are major obstacles to many people seeking help. What if we were able to have a similar impact on adult literacy that organisations like Beyond Blue have had in encouraging people to address their depression? What if we were able to encourage people to reach out for local, one-on-one private help in tackling their literacy challenges?

My idea to meet the challenge centres on tackling adult illiteracy through harnessing the skills and experience of: • 'Baby Boomers’ who are either in or approaching retirement • People who have made the literacy journey themselves

The Reading the Future program would help illiterate adult Australians to build a relationship with an appropriately screened and trained person who can assist them to build on their strengths and coach them towards improving the literacy they need for their circumstances, including re-entering formal education and training for the jobs of the future. It would also provide a potential career pathway for older Australians as they face an under-funded retirement.

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