So-called ‘Mathematics-anxiety’ can be a key inhibitor for some adult learners considering higher education. The Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) in Dublin hosts the ‘Centre of Expertise for Adult Numeracy/Mathematics Education’ mathematics research group which is a hub of EPISTEM, formerly known as the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning. Members of this group identified the key issues that informed the design of enabling-mathematics courses for adults returning to higher education; how to structure their re-engagement, and how to adapt the re-engagement process to practical time constraints. This article outlines how insights from the successful Primer Mathematics module for mature students taking the FLexible AccesS to Higher Education Higher Certificate in Electronic Engineering at ITT were used to identify the key elements of a model to shape such courses. How these key elements were used to design and implement a new module in preparatory mathematics for students entering all modules in ITT, as part of Certificate in Preparatory Study for Third Level, is explained. The positive impact of this new module on student learning is evaluated using student feedback. The article concludes with a discussion of the emergent strong, positive correlation between favourable progression rates for those who completed the module, compared with those who did not.

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