Liverpool is the largest city in the country to have launched a scheme that will help improve numeracy skills among its adult workforce.
The National Numeracy Challenge is a UK-wide initiative that aims help one million adults over the next five years, by working with organisations from workplaces and adult education to voluntary and community groups.
Councillor Nick Small, Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills, told JMU Journalism: “I think across the UK we have come a long way in adult literacy but we have not moved as far on numeracy. Evidence shows that if you have good numeracy skills you are much less likely to be living poverty, so we really want to help the workforce across the city improve their numeracy skills.”
Government figures currently estimate that around 155,000 working-age adults in Liverpool have numeracy skills roughly equivalent to the level expected of children at primary school. This means they may struggle to properly budget or check the pay and deductions on a wage slip.
Cllr Small said: “I think it is important that we are seen to get more people into work and give them the skills they need to allow them to progress into better jobs, and I think the numeracy scheme will clearly help with that. Most people need numeracy in some way to do the day-to-day jobs, so this scheme will help get more people into work.”
Merseyrail, Liverpool Adult Education Service and the City-Region Employment and Skills Board are just some of the companies that have agreed to sign up as challenge partners using the scheme to highlight the importance of maths for the growth and development of their workforce. The scheme will encourage staff who have signed up to take the free ‘Challenge Online’ which will allow users to confidentially access and improve their numeracy skills.
Cllr Small added: “There is a lot of stigma attached to literacy, but that is not the case for numeracy, people are quite happy to say they don’t do maths, so it’s an individual barrier that people need to get over, they may have had bad experiences in school and colleges and I think that’s why this scheme is so important.”