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Dee’s Story

25 Feb 2019

Dee, a former civil servant from East Lancashire, tells us about how the National Numeracy Challenge was a stepping stone to an important career change.

What have your past experiences with maths been like?

When I was at school, I found maths fascinating but then I got a teacher who was, in hindsight, about to retire and had probably had enough of gobby teenagers! So I didn't push myself and didn't take steps to enlighten myself.  I left school just before I was 15 to start working and then was married at 18. Maths didn't really get a look in other than ensuring the bills were paid. The jobs I had required a degree of maths but nothing major, although I worked on the market so when adding up in your head you had to be quick. 

How did you hear about the National Numeracy Challenge and why did you decide to give it a go?

The National Numeracy Challenge came through on an internal email and I was at a point in my life where major changes were happening. I was being made redundant and I needed another job so this came at an opportune moment to add to my CV.  So I started working on the tests.  I found it a bit overwhelming at first but then I realised that was old unconfident memories rising, so I broke my sessions down to a point where I could fully understand the questions and give the correct answer. 

Forget what was said to you at school, forget what your preconceived notions are…just do it and keep on doing it until you get that pass.

How has improving your maths had any positive effects on your life?

I think getting the certificate gave me such a boost to my confidence around maths that it's made me look at other areas I can improve. As I was filling in applications for jobs I really took the time to break the job specification down.  Out of seven jobs I applied for, I got five interviews and have secured a post! 

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about improving their numeracy?

Anyone thinking about giving the Challenge a go I would say this - forget what was said to you at school, forget what your preconceived notions are about the Challenge. Just do it and keep on doing it until you get that pass. It's such a boost to yourself. You can pat yourself on the back and say, "I did it!"

Liked Dee's story? Read more numeracy stories here

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