Date Published: 01 July 2019
A new home learning course developed by the Rutland Adult Learning and Skills Service (RALSS) is helping military spouses and partners to gain new qualifications in maths so they can access further education and employment.
The online Functional Skills Maths programme aims to help Rutland’s local Armed Forces community to access Level 1 and 2 maths courses – Level 2 being the equivalent of a GCSE grade.
Students have access to the Rutland Adult Learning Centre in Ashwell if needed but are able to complete the whole course remotely, at home, with web, telephone and face-to-face support.
The course is designed and delivered for RALSS by Peterborough Regional College and can be started at any point in the year. Qualification takes between four and 16 weeks, moving at whatever pace is best for learners.
The Rutland Adult Learning and Skills Service is run by Rutland County Council and provides opportunities for adults to improve their skills through a wide range of academic and vocational courses.
“Having served in the Armed Forces myself, I know that committing to traditional onsite evening classes at specified times is difficult for members of Forces families who want to gain new skills and qualifications. The transient nature of postings and the frequent training and deployment activities of partners means childcare often falls to spouses and regular attendance is not always possible. This new course aims to address the specific needs of military spouses and support them into the work or further education by making sure they can develop critical numeracy skills, as well as helping them to improve their overall confidence.”
Councillor David Wilby, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning
The next stage of the programme is to introduce a literacy module, to accompany maths. RALSS is also looking at ways to extend the project to early service leavers and Armed Forces veterans, as well as Commonwealth serving personnel and the wider non-military community.
Army wife Cariad successfully completed the RALSS Level 1 Functional Skills Maths this year, passing her final exam at the Rutland Adult Learning Centre in May.
Cariad’s family has been based in Rutland for the past two years. She now plans to take on further maths qualifications before studying at university to become a midwife.
“This has been a really good course and has helped me a lot,” said Cariad. “I was two marks off a C grade in maths when I was younger and although I heard about the maths offer at RALSS I couldn’t commit to the sessions because of the time and travel involved. I found out later that the course could be done at home, in your own time, which was a much better option for me.
“I started the course in January and it took about two hours of studying each week to get through the work, with a short exam at the end. I did most of the work at night, after the kids had gone to bed. It wasn’t easy but you’ve got to make the effort if it’s something you want to do.
“It takes a while to get back into the swing of learning and to get your brain used to working in that way again but I’ve definitely enjoyed it. I had good support from the teaching staff at RALLS and sent them all my work by email after each section. They’re available to give you feedback and help every step of the way.
“Having gone through the course, I’d definitely recommend it to others. You have to commit to doing the work but the way that it’s structured made it achievable for me – even with a busy family life.”
To find out more about the courses and qualifications available through Rutland Adult Learning and Skill Service, please visit the RALSS website, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01572 758122.