Sainsbury’s backs LSC numeracy campaign

Retail giant Sainsbury’s is backing a Learning & Skills Council (LSC) campaign to encourage adults to address their numeracy and literacy shortcomings.

The campaign, dubbed Get On, was showcased earlier this month in nine Sainsbury’s stores across the country. Shoppers were given information on local courses and told that if they improved their arithmetic they stand more chance of spotting a bargain.

A campaign spokeswoman told Personnel Today that all major retail chains were invited to take part in Get On but that Sainsbury’s, which has run skills for life training for its own staff, was the first to come forward and were the most enthusiastic.

Chief executive Justin King said the retailer was “delighted” to partner with Get On. “As a major retailer we realise how important good numeracy is, not only in the workplace but also at home.

“To help our colleagues brush up on their maths skills, we launched our Skills for Life programme. It’s tailored to the individual and is all online so colleagues can complete the courses at their own pace. Skills for Life is part of our You Can programme, which provides more than 10,000 colleagues with opportunities to gain skills and nationally recognised qualifications,” he said.

As part of the promotion for Get On, the LSC ran a telephone poll of 1,025 adults to test their basic arithmetic. It found 87% could not do the maths behind typical retail offers. For example, 57% could not work out how much a pack of sausages would cost if the price was cut by one-third, while 43% said they would “often not pick up” discounts because they don’t understand the calculations behind them. One-third said they would buy more discounted goods if they were more confident in their maths.

Meanwhile, Kevin Brennan, minister for further education, skills, apprenticeships and consumer affairs, said Get On was “a great chance” for adults to think about improving their numeracy and literacy.

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