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Numeracy skills add up to good job prospects

When was the last time you had to do a bit of mental arithmetic at work? Tot up your hours for a timesheet?  Understand a graph or chart for a presentation?  Last week the BBC reported that 17 million working age people in England have only primary school level maths skills and there are fears that poor maths and numeracy skills are damaging Britain’s economic performance.

A charity, National Numeracy, is asking employers to help workers improve their numeracy skills as part of their plan to help a million adults over the next five years.

So what is numeracy and why does it matter? Numeracy isn’t just maths, it’s more than adding up.

“Numeracy is a proficiency which is developed mainly in Mathematics but also in other subjects. It is more than an ability to do basic arithmetic. It involves developing confidence and competence with numbers and measures. It requires understanding of the number system, a repertoire of mathematical techniques, and an inclination and ability to solve quantitative or spatial problems in a range of contexts. Numeracy also demands understanding of the ways in which data are gathered by counting and measuring, and presented in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables.” (Department for Education and Skills)

If you read the description above it’s easy to understand why many jobs require basic numeracy skills – from using a till to analysing information.  We also know that a lack of numeracy skills stops people getting jobs in the first place and then holds them back when they want to progress in their career.  And numeracy skills play a vital role in our every day life – from understanding which mortgage would be the best for you to working out if a 3 for 2 deal really is good value.

How can you help your child to develop the basic numeracy skills they need to succeed in a future career?

  • The most important aspect of helping your child with numeracy is giving them a positive attitude to numbers and maths, avoid negative language or telling them that ‘maths is hard’. The great thing about numeracy is that it’s all around us – you can have fun with it in the supermarket or playing simple games at home.
  • Find ways to make numeracy and maths fun – there are some great ideas on the National Numeracy website
  • Track down resources – there are books, websites and tutors that focus specifically on  numeracy skills and can embed these skills with younger children. If you have an older child or are an adult who wants to improve your numeracy skills then one to one tutoring is a great solution and can be done in your own home.

If you’d like more information on one to one home tutoring for numeracy in Manchester and Cheshire (covering Sale, Trafford, Wilmslow and surrounding areas) then contact 121 Home Tutors.

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