From education to employment


  • £270 million investment in adult numeracy in England to help people progress and secure great jobs
  • Targeted funding for local councils and mayoral combined authorities to tailor support for the needs of their community and local employers
  • Investment comes ahead of the wider roll out of the government’s Multiply programme this autumn, which will level up opportunities for more people

Adults looking to improve their numeracy skills are set to benefit from a £270 million investment in new courses, helping to level up opportunities for more people to progress and get good, well-paid jobs.

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.

Those who improve their numeracy skills are more likely to be in employment, have higher wages, and better wellbeing.

Local councils and mayoral combined authorities across England will receive the cash boost ahead of the rollout of the government’s flagship Multiply programme this autumn.

Multiply will offer adults who do not already have a GCSE grade C/4 or higher in Maths, and need to improve their numeracy, free flexible courses that fit around their lives. Courses are expected to be available this autumn in person or online, at work or at home, and either on a part time or intensive basis. These courses will equip adults across the UK with the numeracy skills they need to fulfil their potential.

Employers who could benefit from boosting their workforce’s skills will be able to work with their Local Authority and training providers to deliver Maths GCSEs or work-ready Functional Skills Qualifications as well as design and deliver bespoke programmes for their workforce – at no cost to them.

Minister for Skills Alex Burghart said:

“As the son of a maths teacher, I know that, with the right support, everyone can do maths. That is why making sure everyone has good maths and numeracy skills is central to the mission of this government.

“Poor numeracy holds people back in their lives and careers. Multiply will be a launchpad for people to progress into better paid jobs that will help our economy grow.

“This £270 million of government funding will unlock potential and level up opportunities for people across the country. We will give this money to local areas based on need so they can find the right solutions for their communities.”

There is already help available for adults to improve maths and numeracy skills including fully funded maths courses up to GCSE to enable people to get the maths skills they need.

Multiply will build on this by offering a range of free training options helping people to build their confidence with maths in their everyday and working lives.

Businesses that develop their employees’ numeracy skills can also boost productivity, increase profits and improve employee retention. Research 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.

The funding announced today for England is part of a £2.6 billion investment through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is designed to help spread opportunity and level up the country. Up to £559 million in total from Fund will be invested across the UK to support the delivery of the government’s Multiply programme.

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