The Numeracy Employer Engagement Programme is designed to help pupils in secondary schools recognise the importance of having good numeracy skills in the working world, improving their employability while making them more confident with numbers.
Launching the programme, education minister Huw Lewis said: “Sometimes in the classroom it’s hard for learners to see how what they are learning can be used in the real world. That’s why this new scheme is so important and innovative.
“By having employers work with young people and teachers in the classroom, demonstrating the practical application of maths and numbers through a range of subjects, it will help them realise the importance of having strong numeracy skills in the future.”
The Welsh government has said it is committed to improving standards of literacy and numeracy across all age groups. This new scheme is one of a series of activities organised as part of the five-year National Numeracy Programme.
As part of this commitment Mr Lewis has also agreed to consider the findings of a new report from the Arts Council of Wales (ACW), which is urging the Welsh government to use arts education to boost literacy and numeracy.
It said arts subjects should not be seen as a luxury but instead should be used as an “enabler to drive up standards”. The ACW stressed the value of engaging young people in “creative practice”.
The education minister acknowledged the findings and said they would be used as part of a curriculum-wide review.
The report said: “The current, and very necessary, emphasis on literacy and numeracy is narrowing the focus of schools and limiting the opportunities for young people to engage in creative practice that can – ironically – lead to improved standards in these areas.”
The ACW said it was also worried that teachers “bombarded with other directives” and facing tighter budgets were unable to make the arts a priority.