The scheme promises to boost both number confidence and numeracy skills amongst adults, through free personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses. As such, it provides welcome recognition of the role that basic numeracy plays in opening-up opportunities for individuals, and the benefits it can bring to the economy and society as a whole at this critical time.
Crucially, the focus on innovative and flexible approaches that help build confidence, as well as skills, makes this a game-changer for those adults typically not yet ready to access existing courses. While we have a rich and vibrant adult education sector in the UK, when it comes to vital skills such as numeracy, for decades we have fallen short in reaching, engaging and supporting the half of the adult population who struggle. The ‘Multiply’ scheme has the potential to drive innovation where it is most needed, at a scale that can start to make a systemic difference – enabling adults across the country to take that first essential step on the ladder towards qualifications, jobs, and a wealth of other opportunities.
Over the past decade we’ve learnt that for those with low numeracy, building confidence goes hand in hand with building skills, and that emphasising the real-world value of numeracy is key. Support must be tailored to people’s needs, be easily accessible and highly flexible.
At National Numeracy, we are both encouraged and excited by the ‘Multiply’ scheme – it could be exactly what we have been calling for, and we look forward to working with government and partners across the sector to ensure it has the biggest possible impact and a truly lasting legacy.
Photo credit: HM Treasury