Adults across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly who want to improve their maths skills can sign up for free courses thanks to a new £2.5 million Multiply programme aimed at boosting opportunities for residents.
The initiative gives residents access to free courses designed to cover specific skills that can be used in the workplace or to secure better paid jobs, courses for parents or carers wanting to get better at maths so they can help their children, as well as courses to help people get better at managing their money.
Multiply will offer adults who do not already have a GCSE grade C/4 or higher in maths or equivalent, free flexible courses to improve their numeracy skills.
Residents in Cornwall can access courses through three providers:
- Cornwall College Group
- Cornwall Council Adult Education Service
- Truro and Penwith College
Residents on the Isles of Scilly will also benefit from online courses delivered by mainland partners in Cornwall as well as 1 to 1 or small group support to those who lack the digital skills or confidence to access such courses by themselves.
All courses are free and available to residents in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly on a part-time, intensive or flexible basis.
People who improve their skills with numbers are more likely to be in employment, have higher wages, and better wellbeing. Around 17 million adults in England – half of the working-age population – have the numeracy skills of primary school children. Poor numeracy skills can hold people back from having the confidence to get on in life and into work.
Cornwall Council has been awarded the cash boost from the government’s £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund to offer tailored courses that meet the needs of the local community as part of the rollout of the government’s flagship Multiply programme.
Councillor Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, said: “Helping our residents gain those extra maths skills at a time and a place that suits them is so important. By bringing the opportunities into the community, with tailored courses where everyone can feel comfortable, we can boost confidence and help our residents improve their prospects of getting a better job.”
Cllr. Steve Sims, Isles of Scilly Council portfolio holder for the economy said: "As someone who loves and sees the beauty in maths, I’m delighted to support the Multiply Programme. In an increasingly complex world, an understanding of mathematics is a basic resource to get on, and just as importantly to comprehend the world we live in. Often half of the news today consists of graphs, tables and percentages and an understanding of what's going on empowers people and gives them agency. So for me there are important social gains inherent in the programme as well as just the economic."
Kate Wills, Group Deputy Principal Curriculum and Quality The Cornwall College Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Multiply programme in Cornwall. Maths is at the heart of so many careers and opportunities. As the Career College, we know that no matter your age or situation, education can make a positive impact on your life, and we encourage businesses, parents and carers to get in touch to see how they can benefit from Multiply with The Cornwall College Group.”
Charlotte Styles, Programme Team Leader – Future Skills at Truro & Penwith College said: “Truro and Penwith College is delighted to have been awarded the opportunity to develop, trial and deliver activities to support local adults with their numeracy skills through the Multiply programme. Our Multiply team is now looking forward to working with our business partners, community organisations and with parents and carers on an exciting range of workshops and courses that will make a real difference both to how adults engage with maths and to their training and career opportunities.”
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s People and Places Board, said: “We are pleased to see the Government working closely with councils and devolved authorities to get the Multiply programme up and running at speed, as they know how best to deliver this much-needed investment and tailor it to local need.
“They are trusted leaders of place with first-hand experience of delivering adult and community learning, as well as other council services which residents rely on, with the broadest reach into the voluntary, community and training sectors, housing associations and local employers. Local government is best placed to engage residents who would benefit from increasing their numeracy skills to get on in life and work.”
Businesses that develop their employees’ numeracy skills can also boost productivity, increase profits and improve employee retention.
Local employers will also benefit from the scheme, with courses and activities tailored to a particular area or jobs at no cost to them offered to their employees to help boost their numeracy skills.
Research also shows that sectors with a high proportion of workers with basic or advanced numeracy skills have experienced the most rapid growth in employment over the last decade.
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Story posted 1 February 2023