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Adult maths and numeracy boost for Wiltshire

Adults across Wiltshire who want to improve their maths skills will be able to benefit from new courses and targeted support thanks to government funding.

Published 9 November 2022
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Adults across Wiltshire who want to improve their maths skills will be able to benefit from new courses and targeted support thanks to government funding.

Wiltshire Council has been awarded a cash boost of £2.1 million from the government's £2.6 billion Uk Shared Prosperity Fund (opens new window) to offer tailored courses that meet the needs of the local community as part of the rollout of the government's flagship Multiply (opens new window) programme. Funding has been allocated over a three-year period (22/23 - 24/25).

The Multiply funding will be offered to adults who do not currently have Level 2/GCSE maths at grade 4 (previously known as a C grade) through a variety of schemes and courses which will give learners a chance to develop numeracy skills to be more confident at home and work.

Officers from the council's Employment and Skills team are already working with local organisations and businesses to develop courses and provision using the Multiply funding, which include:

  • Wiltshire College offering courses to develop confidence with numeracy
  • Wiltshire Citizens Advice will provide support with money and budgeting to assist with the current cost of living crisis
  • Libraries will be offering numeracy courses across Wiltshire

Grant funding of up to £10,000 will also be available to small businesses or organisations who would not normally have the appropriate funds to develop their own initiatives to help upskill their staff and roll out projects.

Businesses can use the grant funding to support employees to become more effective in their roles at no cost to them. This will be through improved maths skills, offering bite-sized courses or interventions directly targeted to support individuals. Businesses that develop their employees' numeracy skills can also boost productivity, increase profits and improve employee retention. 

Projects could also target those individuals and communities who have not traditionally engaged with maths skills often because of previous poor experience, lack of confidence, or lack of opportunity

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Education & Skills, said, Maths and numeracy skills impact on all of our daily lives. Taking small steps towards improving our maths doesn't have to be scary and ultimately it can have a big impact on our work and life prospects.

Our officers are working with organisations such as Wiltshire College and Citizens Advice to develop and roll out courses and encourage people to take the first steps to develop confidence with numeracy and budgeting, whether this is for work or home. With the current cost of living crisis and the need to balance household budgets, learning new skills has never been more important.

As part of our business plan, we have committed to ensuring that Wiltshire residents have the right skills to prosper and to support in improving confidence and knowledge. Securing this funding and developing free numeracy courses will be key in meeting in this target. Courses will be tailored to encourage people to take that first step at a pace and level suited to them.

The additional funding available to businesses will also cater for employees who are looking to upskill and look to further their careers within their current workplace environment. We encourage organisations to come forward with their proposals and take advantage of this great funding opportunity.

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.

Further information on the Multiply scheme and courses offered, plus guidance for business applications is found

Applications for a Wiltshire Council business Multiply grant must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 30 November via the online application form. Applications will then be reviewed and assessed by a panel with grants being paid from December onwards.

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