The first National Numeracy Day (16 May) has been welcomed by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).
The date will become an annual celebration of the importance of numbers in everyday life bringing together individuals, employers, educators and influencers to improve numeracy.
Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “We want to help ensure that all in our area can benefit from jobs and growth and have the skills required for this.
However, with nearly half of the UK’s working age population having the numeracy of a primary school child, the impact on our economy and the daily lives of our communities is enormous. Everything must be done to tackle the issue as a national priority.”
SELEP, which champions the economies of East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock, has placed skills development at the heart of its work. SELEP’s forthcoming skills strategy will be launched this summer and will tackle areas such as falling English and Maths participation d supporting efforts to reduce the 176,000 people in the area with no formal qualifications (7.5% of the population).
The SELEP area has a range of European Social Fund (ESF) projects designed to support areas such as numeracy skills in the workplace.
The Numeracy Skills support in the workplace project delivered by Skills Training UK and partners offers numeracy skills support to nearly 2,000 employees aged 19 and above to raise their qualification by at least one level and to increase numbers with a level 2.
All participants undertake Functional Skills maths from entry levels up to Level 2, with a goal to increase the number of individuals achieving level 2 or as close to it as possible. Many also undertake vocational and/or career-enhancing activities as part of their regulated or non-regulated learning, depending on the provider and employer needs.
Individuals can also access other short courses to enable them to progress within the workplace.
Christian Brodie added: “By working with our partners we have. This project has already helped 1,450 people and the total number of learners supported on this contract will have exceeded 3,100 by the end of March 2019.
“However, it is vital that core skills are achieved in primary and secondary school, so that people can enter the employment work-ready, as poor numeracy skills cost the UK economy more than £20 billion per year.”
The Watkins Group, a leading building services contractor in the south had two members of staff in its administration team who had excellent administrative skills, but lacked confidence when tackling tasks that required mathematical skills.
Both were enrolled onto the Functional Skills Maths Course (Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW), Supporting skills in the workforce, assessed at being below Level 1). At the end of their study both achieved not only their Level 1, but also their Level 2 Maths qualifications.
“This programme increased the confidence in the two employees and their ability to consider tackling mathematical based queries within their roles,” said a spokesperson for Watkins Group.
Further information about this and other programmes is available at http://www.southeastlep.com/images/uploads/resources/ESF_Overview_for_SELEP_Area_May_2017.pdf