The role of workplace educators in technical training

A workplace educator can provide support to apprentices who are having difficulty with reading, math or study skills while taking technical training.

Technical training instructors may not have the time to teach struggling apprentices foundational skills, such as how to skim and scan a page of text for information. There is a lot of material to learn in a short time, but apprentices with strong foundational skills can cope with reading complex and lengthy materials, and finding numbers from a document to make calculations.

One solution is to have a workplace educator assist apprentices who need the extra help. Workplace educators have experience teaching Essential Skills such as reading, document use and numeracy to learners.

Apprentices need to be at a minimum of Level 3 Essential Skills to be successful in technical training. Apprentices at this level can find information from several sources of reading material or translate a word problem to the math operations needed to solve it. For example, an apprentice who has difficulty with making inferences about information on a schematic may not be able to find the numbers needed to complete a calculation. This apprentice needs to learn how to locate information in a document. Workplace educators can teach these apprentices strategies that they can use to improve their reading and numeracy skills.

Workplace educators can also teach apprentices study skills. Some apprentices who have been out of school for a while may have forgotten how to study for exams and may need pointers on study techniques, such as summarizing information from several pages of text into a table or into brief notes in the margin of their textbook. Other apprentices may never have developed these skills.

Increasing Essential Skills levels and developing study skills will help apprentices improve their ability to learn, as well as to pass exams, increasing their chances of success in technical training. 

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