Derby College Chief Executive Mandie Stravino has backed an initiative to increase the number of young people studying Mathematics.
Ms Stravino represented the Further Education sector at an event led by the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan MP to highlight the importance of Maths skills in the workplace.
The Secretary of State for Education urged sixth forms and FE colleges in the East Midlands to offer students the chance to study the Level 3 practical maths qualification, Core Maths, at an event at Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute last week.
She told guests that encouraging students to study the Core Maths course was part of the solution to boosting practical maths skills in the East Midlands which are in high demand among employers.
Analysis of a YouGov poll shows that 85% of businesses in the East Midlands say that employees with practical maths skills have a competitive edge over their colleagues. This is above the national average of 80% showing these skills are valued more highly in the East Midlands than elsewhere.
Derby College is already offering the Core Maths programme and 700 learners are currently studying Maths at Derby College on A level, GCSE and Core Maths programmes.
Mandie Stravino explained: “I fully endorse the Education Minister’s call for Maths to be at the top of the education agenda and we recognised early on that the Core Maths programme was an important initiative to help achieve this goal.
“We work with more than 2,800 employers and the overwhelming feedback from businesses large and small is that Maths skills are vital in all aspects of the workplace.
“Our core objective is to prepare young people for the next stage of their lives whether that is University, work or apprenticeships and to deliver the curriculum that provides the skills that employers need to grow.
“The FE sector therefore needs to offer more options to young people and adults returning to education in this subject, including the new Core Maths study programme.”
Ms Morgan said: “Core Maths qualifications are backed by employers and help students to address the practical problems they may encounter in the world of work.
“These qualifications will provide young people with the skills they need to improve their life chances and compete with the best in the world, regardless of their background. That’s why today I am urging all sixth forms and further education colleges in the East Midlands to make this new practical maths qualification available to their students.”
Mick Blaylock, Head of the Core Maths Support Programme, said: “Confidence in using maths is increasingly important for young people to be well prepared for work, study and life. Core Maths gives students the opportunity to develop problem solving, teamwork and communication skills.
“Today’s figures reveal the demand in the East Midlands for employees with these practical maths skills. We hope our drive to get more FE colleges and sixth forms to offer Core Maths will inspire young people throughout the East Midlands to sign-up to the course and develop the practical maths skills employers’ value.”