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How to improve the numeracy skills of your workforce

Numeracy Day

Did you know, according to statistics from National Numeracy, 49 per cent of the working-age population of England have the numeracy level expected of primary-school children? The total cost to the UK economy has been estimated at £20 billion a year.

Today is National Numeracy Day today (May 22, 2024), so why not make a positive step forward in supporting your employees with their numeracy skills? Here, Multiply for Business, a fully funded Department for Education programme, outlines the advantages of improving numeracy skills in your workforce and what courses are available.

Here is how numeracy-related errors can affect the workplace, and people’s confidence and efficiency: 

  • Mistakes handling money, balancing tills and organising events.
  • Staff doing things ‘the long way around’ and being less efficient with their time.
  • Staff shunning key responsibilities because of fears about numeracy, putting pressure on others in the team.
  • Staff avoiding or dropping out of apprenticeships because of anxiety about numeracy.

Maths is an important life skill and features in many day-to-day activities, both at work and home. 

By encouraging your staff to enhance their numeracy skills, you are likely to see several business benefits, including: 

  • Improved quality of work and reduced errors
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased employee understanding of role-related facts and figures
  • Improved onboarding process to support new recruits lacking confidence with numbers
  • Motivated employees pursuing different forms of training, leading to progression within your organisation

Fully funded support to develop adult numeracy skills

The Lancashire Skills & Employment Hub offers Multiply for Business courses, a £5.9m innovative programme through the Department for Education designed to help businesses support employees to become more effective in their roles by improving numeracy skills. These courses support adults to develop numeracy skills for everyday life and work.

Through Multiply, employers can support their employees to improve their numeracy skills in a variety of ways including interactive online sessions and practical hands-on learning.  

The length and content of Multiply courses can be very flexible, ensuring the course meets the need of every employer and its employees. Courses can be taught in groups, one-to-one, face-to-face or online, at a convenient time based on the needs of your organisation. 

Some examples of Multiply courses that have supported local businesses so far include:

  • Understanding your payslip and pension
  • Using Excel in the workplace
  • Time management and planning
  • Making sense of numerical data
  • Data for non-data people
  • Finance for non-finance people
  • Numeracy courses to support qualifications required for certain roles.

How the numeracy courses helped a Lancashire health and social care provider

PHX Training, a Lancashire Multiply provider, worked with Springfield Manor Gardens in Preston to develop a bespoke course on the numeracy skills required in the health and social care sector. Staff improved their understanding of time, using the staff rota to calculate hours worked. The team further developed their problem-solving skills through the programme. They thoroughly enjoyed the session and benefited by refreshing their maths skills. 

The care home manager, Rahul, said “Thank you to PHX for giving Springfield staff members the opportunity to take part in this programme”.

All Multiply courses are fully funded. The only eligibility requirements are that employees joining the programme are aged 19+ and do not have a maths GCSE Grade C/4 or a UK equivalent. If they do have a maths qualification, they can complete an assessment to show they are working below a Grade C to achieve eligibility.

Multiply can support your business. If you would like to benefit from this free training offer, please email multiply@lancashire.gov.uk or visit the Lancashire Skills & Employment Hub website to find out more.


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