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Adult Learning and Literacy Research Group ALCR: Adult Literacy and Communication Research Group


Literacy and Employment


Researchers at the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, in partnership with the Wanganui District Library, undertook a major longitudinal research project funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, focusing on adult literacy and employment in Wanganui and Districts. Through a series of interlinked research projects we aimed to achieve the following four objectives:

  1. To establish adult literacy needs of both employed and unemployed in Wanganui and Districts region.
  2. To identify the social, attitudinal and economic barriers to adult literacy, numeracy and analytical thinking skills of employed and unemployed in Wanganui and Districts.
  3. To evaluate how effectively adult literacy programmes secure employment outcomes.
  4. To examine adult literacy learning processes and their relationship to employment.

The Wanganui project group added further objectives, specific to gaining tangible benefits for Wanganui. These include:

  1. Achieving positive, tangible and practical outcomes for the Wanganui community, with a well-researched plan of action for medium-long term 2005-2015 to address identified issues relating to literacy
  2. Establishing a database of meaningful, relevant information relating to the links between literacy and employment in Wanganui and identify links to other social issues e.g. crime, health, and housing; and providing benchmarks to measure future progress
  3. Developing collaboration between agencies within the Wanganui region, to strengthen the community and social infrastructure for future work and projects
  4. Building the research capacity within Wanganui.

This project ran from 2004 to 2008, and is in excess of $2 million. To achieve its four research objectives, the Department is collaborated closely with community organisations such as Literacy Aotearoa (Wanganui), the Wanganui District Library, Te Puna Matauranga O Whanganui, and the Whanganui Community Foundation.

If you are interested in knowing more about this research, please contact the project leader, Prof Frank Sligo, in the first instance.