Funded adult maths programme boosts confidence for 70% of North Yorkshire learners

Christine Brass and the Better Connect team and delivery partners from Craven College, Coterminous CIC, Rural Arts, Up for Yorkshire, Go4It, Supplementum, Coast Tuition and NYBEP

Funded adult numeracy programme Multiply has supported 880 learners since its launch, with 70% gaining confidence in using maths and 20% progressing to further education or targeted services. Better Connect has worked with partner organisations across York and North Yorkshire to ensure that Multiply positively impacts the community.

The government-funded flagship numeracy skills course was created to help people over 19 who don’t have a maths GCSE at grade C or equivalent. It offers courses, activities and 1-2-1 support in the local community that helps people improve their numeracy skills, manage their money better, improve their confidence, and open up better employment opportunities. The courses are available for individuals or employers who want to upskill their workforce.

The Multiply programme will run until 2025 and is led by a dedicated central team created as a partnership between the Adult Learning Service of North Yorkshire Council, City of York Council, the UK government, and Better Connect.

The Better Connect team held an event on 22 March in York to mark two years of running the project. The event gathered participants and 17 local delivery partners to celebrate the positive impact of the maths skills sessions on York and North Yorkshire residents.

Multiply participants that have used the skills training to propel them to success include refugees Mozhgan Omari and Ahmad Wahid, supported by Craven College – parents of 11 children who escaped Afghanistan and settled in Skipton in 2021. Mrs Omari and her eldest daughter Sonia, signed up for Multiply to learn about budgeting, booking systems and food hygiene. They aimed to improve the important skills needed to set up their pop-up restaurant serving authentic Afghani dishes. They’ve since hosted four pop-up restaurants, garnering support from the local community and winning the ‘biggest achievement’ award from Multiply.

Miss Omari had high praise for Multiply and explained: “Multiply courses have transformed our lives, and we have learnt so much, “On Saturday last weekend, we held our fourth pop-up restaurant at Embsay Village Hall, and it was a sell-out. We served authentic Afghani dishes, including kabuli pilau, Afghan rolls, qorma kofta, sabzi and many more. I want the people of Skipton and beyond to taste the flavours, aromas and culinary traditions of our homeland cuisine. “We have been touched by the support of people who have opened their hearts and homes for our family.”

Another learner, Kian Gurney, joined Multiply to understand his finances, support his family better and reduce his dependency on alcohol. The programme has helped him to review and understand his finances, develop a CV and secure voluntary work, which led to paid part-time employment. Alongside, he’s also started a retail job and is no longer alcohol-dependent.

The overall project has been given £2.6 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to improve the numeracy skills of working-age people in the UK. Multiply’s main goals are to help people gain confidence and progress to further support or provision or access to further adult education-funded programmes or education training.

Christine Brass, Multiply Programme Manager at Better Connect, said: “I love getting together with the partners and hearing what they have to say. They’re always so inspirational. Everybody’s keen to be more joined up, to maximise the use of resources and to get involved with other partners on the Multiply programme. I think if we do that, we’ll reach far more people.

”Our delivery partners are offering a diverse range of free courses for adults in 2024, including business and entrepreneurial-focused courses, cooking classes, crafts, and more. We hope to reach even more people and businesses this year and continue helping people improve their numeracy skills in fun ways.”

To learn more about how Better Connect supports the Multiply programme, visit their website.

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