Winning idea

Reading the future

Idea: Tackle the literacy, digital literacy and numeracy roadblocks to jobs of the future through harnessing the skills and experience screened and trained people who can provide one-on-one coaching to job seekers.

Details: Reading the Future program would help illiterate adult Australians build 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.


Fighting back! - Paul Reynolds
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About the winner

Doug Jacquier


Doug is an experienced senior executive, a proven successful innovator, and change manager. As CEO of Connecting Up, Australia’s leading not-for-profit technology resources social enterprise for over 12 years, Doug led the team that developed the first national conference series on not-for-profit technology and the first not-for-profit technology donation program in Australia and New Zealand. Doug then spent 3 years as Vice-President, Asia-Pacific for global US nonprofit, TechSoup, expanding their programs in the region, including into new markets in China and South Korea. Doug is now Chairperson of GenJunction, a not-for-profit focused on skills exchanges between the generations.

What inspired your idea?
For some time I have been working on ideas for older and younger Australians to share their skills and experience in a mutually beneficial way. When I saw the SBS Insight program 'Reading Between The Lines' that graphically highlighted the devastating personal impact of adult illiteracy, I immediately thought that here was an ideal opportunity for the Boomer generation entering retirement to volunteer as adult literacy tutors. This could be a great help in addressing the personal, social and economic impacts of adult literacy while at the same time tackling the increasing tendency towards social isolation among older Australians.

What does winning mean for you?
It will be a great help in highlighting the fact that adult illiteracy (including digital illiteracy) is the massive elephant in the room when it comes to the future of work. Hopefully it will highlight the issue to a broad spectrum of people and organisations and help build momentum towards new strategies, including galvanising our policy makers into addressing the issue with more urgency and intent.

What are the three key steps to take your idea to the next stage?
1. To raise the profile of the adult literacy issue to a level similar to the success Beyond Blue has had with raising awareness of the impact of depression and anxiety
2. To generate sufficient income and resources to build and curate a platform for sharing projects and associated resources on tackling adult illiteracy
3. To develop a pilot intergenerational project to address adult illiteracy with the engagement of older Australians as a key element, co-designed with people with literacy issues.

What will you do with your $500 prize?
Invest it in the development of GenJunction, the not-for-profit I have just established to promote intergenerational learning and skills development.