Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Best Plain English Document — Public Sector / Non-Government Organisation 2014

The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Sponsor Razia Ali, with Brian McGhie, Open Polytechnic

Document name

Get Ahead Skills: My Planning My Preparation: Workbook 1

Judges’ comment

This workbook is an excellent example of plain English text combined with a practical workbook design. It earned extra credit for being a challenging assignment that was well-handled.

Media statement

Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s largest provider of distance learning at tertiary level, is proud to be a finalist in the 2014 Plain English Awards.

The Open Polytechnic’s entry — Get Ahead Skills: My Planning My Preparation Workbook 1 — is part of a foundation-level self-development and employment skills suite of courseware. It is designed to better prepare learners for the workforce, and to increase their self-esteem and communication skills.

The Get Ahead Skills courseware also has a specific aim of improving literacy and numeracy skills for adult learners. When we began designing and writing the course materials, we recognised it was paramount that the language used was empowering, engaging, and met the standards of plain English.

Since its introduction in 2011, over 3,500 learners have participated in Get Ahead Skills across New Zealand, with overall course completion rates of 75–85%.

That is an outstanding result for learners who have low literacy and numeracy skills, who have not previously succeeded in higher education.

Dr Caroline Seelig
Chief Executive, Open Polytechnic