Foundation Skills Discussion Paper

Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) is leading the development of a new national study on adult literacy, numeracy, and digital skills. To assist with this study a discussion paper has been developed and is now open for comment.  

Foundation skills, like the ability to read, write and engage with technology, are a critical foundation for meaningful work and active participation in the community. A lack of basic literacy or numeracy skills, or both, often results in exclusion from education, training and secure work, as well as difficulty engaging in society more broadly. Yet the data on the situation in Australia is over a decade old.  

The Foundation Skills Study consists of three elements:  

  • a survey of Australian adults to assess their current skills levels 

  • a feasibility study into how best to assess the literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy levels of First Nations people 

  • analysis of Commonwealth administrative and other data to ‘drill down’ into the results for priority groups.  

The purpose of this discussion paper is to support Jobs and Skills Australia in developing and delivering the survey and feasibility study. Getting the design right is critical to ensuring the study delivers on the promise of building an evidence base for foundation skills in Australia.  

The discussion paper is now open for consultation. Submissions will close at 5.00pm AEST Monday 24 April 2023. Jobs and Skills Australia welcomes and encourages feedback on the discussion paper.  

Making a submission

The discussion paper includes questions to guide your response however you may wish to respond to the discussion paper more generally. Please send submissions via email to

Foundation Skills Study - Discussion paper

Foundation Skills Study - discussion paper.docx1060577


Foundation Skills Study - Discussion paper

Foundation Skills Study - Discussion paper.pdf502362