Why do you think good numeracy is important at work?
It’s a way of boosting confidence in the workplace. When it comes to things like measuring and giving out doses, it’s the difference between getting something completely right or wrong. It’s also about day-to-day life; from setting alarms and getting up in the morning, you’re starting with numeracy, right from the start of the day numbers play an important part.
How did you begin to get members engaged with numeracy?
I worked with Sally (National Relationship Manager at National Numeracy) to set it up. The first campaign was during Maths Workout Week. Our membership department sent a bulk email to all the members in the Yorkshire & Humberside region. Over 360 of them signed up for the National Numeracy Challenge in the first week which we were really pleased with.
We followed this with another campaign at the beginning of the year, to find the person with the biggest improvement in their numeracy score. There was an incentive with that, a £100 voucher, to entice people to sign up!
Did you do any face-to-face numeracy sessions?
During Maths Workout Week in October, we ran a ‘Power Up Your Number Skills’ one-day numeracy workshop. We did lots of different fun and interactive number-based activities, using adding and subtraction, multiplication tables, building a tower. At the end of the morning we had time to log on the National Numeracy Challenge website and register to start the process.
You found that vouchers helped?
Motivating people to log on and improve their numeracy skills is not always easy and the incentive does really help. We ran a campaign to coincide with National Numeracy Day in May offering two vouchers, and the results showed 480 new registrations and around 80 improvers.
Overall though it’s good to know there can still be engagement without an incentive, so we need to make sure there’s a mix of both.
What have the results been like?
We’re most definitely pleased. Over 1000 people have signed up to improve their numeracy in less than a year. We’re hoping to keep that going, doing face-to-face learning as well as online.
We are now looking to embed National Numeracy Challenge into the longer courses we run here, and also hope to run a big campaign next year for National Numeracy Day.
How do you see good numeracy impacting peoples’ lives?
Numeracy is definitely a priority for confidence.
When a person comes into a confidence building course you can see improvement just within sessions, there’s a complete difference in them – they’ll tell you they can speak their own mind and what they’re feeling as well at work, which is the hardest thing.
Next year we’re doing a Numeracy Champions’ workshop, to see if people who’ve used the Challenge can be a champion in their workplace, to continue growing confidence across UNISON.
Photo credit: Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk