“Multiply” courses adding up for adults in Milton Keynes


Adults in Milton Keynes who feel they need support with their numeracy skills can take advantage of free courses being offered by Milton Keynes College in partnership with the City Council. And companies can get involved too, by putting forward staff members for the training. Funding has come from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Government statistics suggest a staggering 17 million adults – 49% of the working-age population of England – only have maths skills equivalent to those of primary school children.

Project Director for Adult Learning at the College, Di Cook, says, “Once they’ve been away from school for a while, people often don’t like to admit that they experience difficulties with everyday numeracy skills. It can be such a barrier to getting on in life, but just because someone struggled to get to grips with the subject at school, doesn’t mean they can’t pick it up successfully in later life if they have the courage to come forward for help.”

The College has already received a lot of interest from companies with employees wanting to have courses put on in the workplace.

“Sometimes employers want something tailormade around budgeting or finance to support their staff in their personal lives, especially in the current climate or they want to develop work related numeracy skills to support individuals to be able to progress in the workplace,” Di says. “Sometimes businesses want to offer functional skills courses to staff as they have people who wish to undertake internal apprenticeships as candidates can be held back because they don’t have the required skills in maths.”

People signing up for the courses don’t have to commit to taking exams if they don’t feel ready for it, especially if they’ve been out of education for some time and need help getting back into the habit of learning. Di says, “It doesn’t have to be about sitting a test or exam; the important thing is helping people to develop skills which will make them more confident and their lives easier. Sometimes people approach us just because they can’t help their kids with their maths homework and want to be able to do more but some do want to get a qualification to support them in career or educational progression

Di says the benefits for people who take the plunge and improve their maths skills cover a very broad range. “Having usable maths skills isn’t just for doing the weekly shop or helping with kids’ homework. All the evidence shows it improves social mobility, self-esteem and job prospects.”

Suzanne Gibbs, Curriculum Manger for Multiply at Milton Keynes City Council says, “It’s an incredible and very welcome opportunity for local adults to get the Maths support that may have been denied to them in their earlier years. We at the Council want to support and encourage our community in their life opportunities. MKCC will be delivering innovative Maths and Numeracy short course sessions that relate to their daily lives such as household budgeting, money management and supporting their children with their Maths homework. We also intend to help our local community make sense of data that is often included in news stories which could further enrich their lives as they can then make better informed decisions. These sessions will be flexibly timed during the day or evening and will instil confidence and an increased ability for attendees to go forward and progress to an array of job opportunities. We aim to teach the confidence to embrace and engage with Maths. There are no exams – instead, just a better understanding of how Maths works”.

Applicants must be adults aged 19 or over and not already have GCSE Grade C or 4 in maths (or an equivalent qualification.

Individuals or businesses who want to find out more should contact: