Understanding Workforce Literacy in the Technologized Workplace

Project Leader

Prof. Lesley Farrell

Project Details

This project addresses the common claim that the contemporary workforce does not yet have the literacy competencies required for the highly technologized manufacturing workplaces associated with the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industrie 4.0—the digitization of work). It will examine some of the data on which that claim is based–including but not limited to PIAAC data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and linguistic ethnographies of manufacturing workplaces. It may also examine learning materials designed to develop literacy competencies in workplaces (e.g., Workplace English Language Programs).

The project will build on existing research on the development of literate practice in work-related settings, contribute to the development of linguistic ethnography as a methodological approach, and contribute to our understanding of contemporary forms of workforce literacy. It may provide the basis for recommendations regarding workforce literacy education throughout the lifecourse.


  • LALE colleagues
  • Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy