Residents in Greater Manchester are benefitting from budgeting courses being delivered in Urdu and Punjabi to help with everyday math skills.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) launched the city-region’s Multiply scheme in March 2023. Funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), it aims to equip residents with essential life skills, build confidence with numbers and gain a qualification in maths or numeracy.
Locally, Multiply has been designed to boost residents’ confidence to access more skills in a way that suits their needs so that they can go on and achieve their goals.
In Greater Manchester, Multiply delivers a range of projects with the largest engaging residents with short courses with a view of them progressing onto further learning such as maths qualifications.
And, with more than half of learners enrolled onto this strand identifying as being from racially minoritised communities, one course tutor recognised the critical need for language inclusivity. She started to offer bi-lingual classes in her area to ensure residents speaking English as a second language could fully benefit from the course.
Michelle Handley, Senior Training and Curriculum Manager from the Growth Company, said: “This is one of the inclusive courses offered under the Multiply contract, that we deliver across Greater Manchester in local communities. It engages residents in learning through enjoyable, informative courses, alongside access to accredited programmes.
Nadia Hussain delivers the ‘Making Better Choices & Budgeting’ class as part of the Growth Company and Manchester Athena’s Multiply offer, aimed at helping residents in Oldham with essential skills for managing the cost of living, job search, application skills, and budgeting. She realised that learners, predominantly from the local Pakistani community, were experiencing language barriers leading them to prematurely disengage with the programme.
Since November 2023, Nadia has supported residents with budgeting and numeracy confidence as part of a trial delivering the course content in Urdu and Punjabi.
She said: “In the past few months of running the courses, we've achieved a 100% attendance rate. Delivering the course in learners’ native language alongside English allows them to fully benefit while also providing them with a comfortable space to practise their English skills.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with participants eager for the next course and enquiring about further learning opportunities.
“The concept of ‘maths skills’ can be daunting for many individuals, but the ‘Making Better Choices & Budgeting’ course is designed to help learners become more confident using numbers effectively in daily life, whether at home or work.”
The introduction of the Multiply course in Urdu and Punjabi is a great example of the programme’s flexibility around residents’ circumstances and demonstrates GMCA’s commitment to ensuring everybody has access to learning opportunities.
Learner Majida Shaheen, 42, from Oldham, said: "I've learned budgeting skills that allow me to better manage my household finances and help my kids with their homework. Connecting with other women in my community through this course has also been very beneficial."
Nazia Azeem, aged 48, from Oldham, said: “The accessibility of Multiply in Urdu and Punjabi has not only simplified learning but also made it enjoyable. I've already recommended it to my cousins and friends, and I want to encourage more women in our community to participate.”
Mehwish Rani, aged 33, from Oldham, also experienced boosted confidence as a result of the of the course. She said: “The course in my native language has significantly boosted my understanding and confidence. It's encouraged me to practice my English and equipped me with essential skills like using a calculator, understanding percentages, and making better choices while shopping.”
Greater Manchester offers a variety of courses through Multiply, catering to diverse numeracy needs. These include sessions to boost numeracy confidence, aid parents seeking extra skills for helping children with homework, and support individuals grappling with the cost-of-living crisis, where numeracy training could enhance their quality of life.
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Greater Manchester’s Lead for Technical Education and Skills, said: “The significance of delivering Multiply courses in Urdu and Punjabi extends far beyond language inclusion. It’s about breaking down barriers to education and skill development, ensuring accessibility for all backgrounds.”
Joanne Roney, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, emphasised the city's dedication to inclusivity and accessibility in education. "The Multiply programme reflects our commitment to empowering all residents, regardless of background or language. This initiative underscores our belief in nurturing diverse, skilled communities, enriching the vibrant fabric of our city."
- Residents are benefiting from tailored maths courses to help them learn new skills and overcome language barriers.
- Around 60% of learners enrolled onto Greater Manchester’s Multiply programme since its launch identify as being from racially minoritised communities
- Learners say they feel more confident as a result and are more likely to complete their course
Multiply will continue to deliver tailored courses to meet our residents needs up to March 2025. Click here to find out more about our Multiply offer.
Find out more about the city-region’s Multiply offer by visiting www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/multiply