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“I walked in proud, because I had confidence in my maths” – Ijeoma’s story

26 May 2020

By Lizzie Green, Communications Assistant

Ijeoma is a healthcare assistant. She spoke to us about how using National Numeracy Challenge has changed her life, both at work and at home.

How did you find maths at school?

I did not enjoy maths at school. I found it extremely difficult and often just switched off from it. I did not get a very good result. I tried and tried again, and I eventually got the equivalent to a GCSE C grade in my home country. When I moved to the UK I still wasn’t confident. In adulthood I could never help my daughter with her homework. I was worried that if she failed, she would tell them “Mummy did it for me”.

How did you feel about engaging with maths again as part of your care certificate?

When we were told during the training about numeracy being a module on the care certificate, I completely freaked out. I just thought to myself, “healthcare is my passion but if that’s what I have to do to get there, I’m never going to.” Everyone around me didn’t seem to struggle with maths, but I just kept quiet. It took me a very long time to pluck up the courage to try the Challenge

What was your experience of taking the Challenge like?

I took my time to answer the questions, and when I got my score at the end I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I would do worse, however it still wasn’t enough to pass the module. I had another attempt and scored even lower, but I wasn’t deterred. I kept learning and trying and eventually, I passed. I was so happy, I was jumping round the house. It was such a relief!

I have the confidence to take my Functional Skills Maths, and even my maths GCSE!

How did this impact you?

Not only do I feel like I can confidently help my daughter with her homework, it also gave me such a push at work. Before I started working at the trust, my maths was poor. Now, I have the confidence to take my Functional Skills Maths, and even my maths GCSE! I have recently been offered a job at a different trust, and part of the job description was a maths test. Before, I would have packed up my bags and left, but this time I walked in proud, because I had confidence in my maths after doing the Challenge. Now, I feel ready to go on to study nursing, which is a dream come true. 

What would your advice be to others?

Whatever you set your mind to, you can do it. Maths is not as difficult as it seems, you use it every single day without even thinking about it. If you fail, you can try again. Learning is a continuous process. It is crazy to think that before I took the Challenge, maths could have held me back from going for a job interview. What National Numeracy are doing is amazing. 

Start improving your numeracy – register on the National Numeracy Challenge now!

National Numeracy has developed an online tool to help you improve your numeracy and boost your confidence. This interactive website is free to use at home, at work or on the move. You can assess your current level of numeracy – completely anonymously – and then begin an online journey to getting the Essentials of Numeracy.