Being able to read and write are vital skills for those in the workforce, but many New Zealanders are struggling.

Auckland-based organisation Workbase - an adult language, literacy and numeracy provider - has been helping Kiwi employees for years and now a pilot reading programme hopes to assist even more.

Workbase is one of 12 charities from around the country to receive $10,000 from Auckland Airport this Christmas.

The grant will go towards a new reading programme that aims to help thousands of employees with poor literacy skills at several businesses in South Auckland.


Those taking part in the programme will receive a wide range of free books - including novels, sport, history, biographies and cooking. Participants' reading levels will be monitored throughout the year.

Workbase chief executive Katherine Percy said most people did not know that more than 40 per cent of adult New Zealanders - including those with jobs - had poor literacy or language skills.

"Workforce literacy issues are often overlooked because most adults with significant literacy and numeracy gaps can still read and write to some extent," Ms Percysaid.

The idea of reading for enjoyment was something new for many people who had already started the programme, she said.

It was also helping families in other ways.

"A lot of people are using their newfound skills to read to younger children."

Auckland Airport spokesman Charles Spillane said Workbase was a worthy cause as those within the wider community would also benefit.

Airport windfall

This Christmas, the Herald is again featuring charities which have been selected for a $10,000 donation from Auckland Airport. The $120,000 to be distributed came from change donated by travellers this year.