Boost your earning potential: study English and maths

Adults literacy skills in the UK are surprisingly low – here's how studying English and maths at college could help you get ahead

Promoted by Wigan & Leigh College
Monday, 29th July 2019, 10:17 am
Paul Onofrio

It seems obvious, but everyone needs English and maths skills to manage their lives, their homes and to hold down a job. If you want to progress to any higher level of education beyond Level 1 or 2, or to progress in your career, you need English or maths skills.

According to the National Literacy Trust the latest available data for England suggests that a staggering 1 in 6 adults in England (16.4% or 7.1 million people) have very poor literacy skills.

On course for healthy career progression

Beverley Smith

Brushing up on your English and maths skills may also boost your earning potential with a promotion at work or a change of career.

That’s just what Beverley Smith found when she studied a free Maths GCSE course at Wigan & Leigh College.

The 35-year-old from Wigan is an NHS Senior Dispenser.

“I didn’t get a good mark at school and I need the qualification to progress my career,” said Beverley. “It really helps with my numeracy in the workplace.”

Knowing there’s a realistic prospect of improving your career and your earnings is even more important for adult learners who may have left a job to take up studies, have family commitments, or just want to start earning right away.

There is powerful evidence that adults who keep learning enjoy better health, are more productive and have more secure and better-paid jobs. And people recover better from mental ill health if they engage in learning.

As long as someone is learning something they are passionate about, their learning and curiosity spill across to benefit work, family and social life.

Equally, in our ageing society we need people to work longer, and to keep learning to minimise their demands for health and care.

Supporting adult studies

More than 3,500 adults joined the Wigan & Leigh College community last year, including 39-year-old father of two, Paul Onofrio, from Wigan. Paul returned to learning in a bid to secure employment when his children are older.

The stay at home dad is on course for a new career studying GCSE English and is receiving extra support to help with his dyslexia. Having always worked in practical jobs, he now has his sights set on a career in health and social care.

"My kids won't need looking after forever, so I'd like to do a job that's interesting and is less of a practical role,” said Paul.

Paul is delighted with the additional learning support he’s had since starting the GCSE English course at the College.

"I have never had this much support before. The team tested my dyslexia when I started and suggested I use a yellow sheet to cover over my work. It makes the letters stand out more, which makes a big difference."

Paul has been aware of his dyslexia since high school. As part of his support package he is also given more time to complete exams.

“It takes me a bit longer to transfer my thoughts from mind onto paper,” added Paul. “It also takes me longer to take in written information.”

Study for free

Whatever your reason for returning to learning there’s never been a better time for adults to study. With many courses heavily subsidised, depending on circumstances, lots of adults study for free

Ready to make the move towards a better future? Wigan & Leigh College is holding an adult advice and enrolment event on Tuesday 27 August, 2-7pm at Parsons Walk Centre, Wigan. Find out more at