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New £4million fund to help South Holland adults with maths

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A new £4million fund aims to help adults in our area to brush up on their numeracy skills.

The cash is the county’s portion of the government’s Shared Prosperity Fund – and will fund courses for adults aged over 19 who don’t already have a maths GCSE at grade 4 or above.

Some sessions will be online but county bosses say in-person classes will be available in South Holland and our employers can arrange bespoke sessions to boost their workers’ skills.

Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services, Lincolnshire County Council. Photo supplied. (17565088)
Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services, Lincolnshire County Council. Photo supplied. (17565088)

Figures from the Legatum Institute show that South Holland ranks 339th of 379 areas for education and 38th of 40 districts in the East Midlands for this.

South Holland is 373rd of 379 areas in the UK for the number of adults with at least ‘level 4 qualifications’ - and ranks among the bottom 40 local authorities for pre-primary and primary attainment in numeracy.

Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for adult learning at the county council, said: “This is a huge amount of money over three years – and more than we expected. It will make a real difference to the prospects of adults in Lincolnshire who are being held back from their dream jobs. Good maths skills are so important in adult life, but we know about half of working age people haven’t developed numeracy skills over primary school levels.

“There are already free numeracy courses available in the county, but this money means we can arrange new courses, and work with businesses to be innovative in how they are delivered.”

The county council says improving numeracy skills is linked to someone’s confidence and leads to higher wages, and better wellbeing.

They also hope this investment will help fill vacancies – with many firms struggling to fill roles in our area over the last couple of years.

Coun Colin Davie, executive councillor for economy at the county council, added: “Many of our businesses are telling us that they are struggling to fill vacancies with qualified staff.

“We want our county to offer highly skilled and trained employees and in return they have a range of good quality and well-paid job opportunities. This really is a key part of efforts to boost our county’s economy and attract and keep businesses here.

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

Councils will receive the cash ahead of the rollout of the government’s Multiply programme this autumn.

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. Employers will be able to work with councils to design and deliver programmes to suit their workforce – at no cost to them.

To find out more about the existing help available to boost maths skills in Lincolnshire, visit the website www.2aspire.org.uk

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