A COUNTRY-WIDE campaign has been launched to increase maths skills for adults.

As part of the Multiply programme, which has been launched across Essex, residents aged 19 and over can sign up for free classes to improve their skills and even gain a qualification.

From managing personal finances and helping children with schoolwork to using numbers at work, maths is an everyday life skill.

Essex County Council has been given almost £8million from the Department for Education to deliver and manage the Multiply programme over the next three years.

This includes delivering 14,200 new opportunities for residents to improve their maths skills by March 2025.

The launch of the national programme in Essex follows a study of numeracy skills levels across the country .

Essex was ranked just 114th out of 151 authorities in England.

Councillor Tony Ball, Essex Council's member for education excellence, lifelong learning and employability, said: "Multiply is a great opportunity for residents of Essex to increase their maths and numeracy skills.

"We forget how often we use maths in our everyday lives, from measuring out a recipe, working out what we can afford to buy, to understanding bills and payslips."

Just a half of Essex's 16 to 64-year-olds hold qualifications in any subject at NVQ3 or above, compared to the national average of just over 60 per cent.

The campaign has already gained support from consumer champion Matt Allwright and TV presenter and maths guru Johnny Ball, who will attend an event in Essex in the coming weeks.

Matt said: "This is a great opportunity to improve maths and numeracy skills.

"By understanding where your money goes, you'll be much better placed to manage your finances and search out the best deals. 

"I couldn't do my job without a good grasp of maths.

"I'm always working out price increases and converting them to percentages, and broadcasting live means you have to calculate timings quickly, or you can run out of time or have an awkward silence."

For more information about the Multiply programme in Essex, visit bit.ly/3GjzE6r.