Free courses to improve maths skills across the West Midlands

Adults across the West Midlands who want to improve their maths skills and boost their career prospects will be able to sign up for free flexible courses under the new Multiply scheme.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has been awarded £16.7 million to fund a wide range of online and face to face courses, to help people in work improve their numeracy, secure better paid jobs and help manage cost of living challenges.

The grant, from the Department for Education’s Multiply investment programme, will be used to work with local authorities, colleges, training providers, universities and employers to develop a range of courses and initiatives which will be launched early next year.

Improving maths skills helps adults find employment, unlock new job opportunities at work and improve their earnings – leading to improved job satisfaction, security and wellbeing.

As maths courses are already widely available for unemployed adults, this new funding will be targeted at those who are in work – to enable them to progress with their current employer or move on to better paid jobs. 

The programme will include face-to-face and online support, intensive seminars and evening and weekend sessions to fit around people’s existing work commitments. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said:

“A key part of my mayoral mission is to equip local people with the skills they need to succeed at work and thrive in their lives and careers.

“Thanks to our Adult Education Budget, we’re already supporting thousands of people of all ages to improve their maths through further education courses, apprenticeships and training schemes. 

“The Multiply programme will further support our efforts tackle our regional economic challenges by improving people’s ability to use maths in their day-to-day lives, boosting skills and qualifications and meeting the needs of employers.”

Research from the Learning and Work Institute estimates that one in four (24%) adults in the WMCA area have poor English and maths skills.

Around two-thirds of these are already in work and therefore need more flexible provision to fit around work and family commitments. Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio lead for productivity and skills added:

“Improving maths skills is essential if we are to close the skills gap, improve our productivity as a region and grow our economy.

“It’s also great for individuals, not only to increase their chances of securing a well-paid job or promotion, but also to give added confidence in dealing with day-to-day concerns such as managing our personal finances.”


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