Skip to main content

Your Stories

Nurturing number confidence in a GP surgery: Jess’s story

13 Mar 2024

By Lizzie Green, Communications Officer

As a Care Co-ordinator Administrator for a GP surgery in Bradford-on-Avon, Jess was on the lookout for ways to support her team. She also wanted to build her own skills and knowledge.

Through the Multiply initiative at Wiltshire Council she trained as a Numeracy Champion. We spoke to Jess about her time on the course, how she's making simple but effective changes at work, and passing on the positive message.

Maths had felt like a school necessity

Honestly, I’ve always felt fine with maths. Not amazing, not awful, just fine.

Maths just felt like a school necessity. When I was in school it was always either that you were a “Maths person” or an “English person”, and I was more of the latter. So when I finished my GCSE I thought, “That’s good, it’s all done with now.”

But one of the things I picked up through the Numeracy Champion training was how much we all use maths throughout the day. Even if you think you’re not doing it there’s a lot you’re doing subconsciously.

I was talking to my colleague this morning, and we were saying that maths is throughout your day, literally – you use it to set your alarm to get up in the morning. It’s everywhere.

And at work there’s a lot of data – I handle a lot of holiday requests and rotas, which means managing timings and schedules. So, I do use it a lot, even though I didn’t particularly like it at school.

Supporting my team to get confident with maths

I found out about the Numeracy Champion training through the Multiply scheme. At Wiltshire Council someone came and did a talk about how there were spaces for this course.

I was pretty new in my role – I’m a Care Co-ordinator Administrator in a GP surgery – so I was trying to pick up anything that might expand my skills or knowledge. I thought that if I did the training then I could support the team – in numeracy or in other ways – and give others more confidence to pick it up themselves.

Joining a community of support

The Numeracy Champion training was very good – the sessions were great, with a mix of people that I would never have spoken to before, so it was really interesting.

I missed one session because I had work commitments, and the training team sent me the recording so I could catch up, which was really considerate.

And there’s support following the course as well – I joined one of the Champion forums the other day where we had a chat about what’s new, and what we’ve all been up to. So it doesn’t just end when you get your Champion certificate.

It’s like you’ve joined a little community, which is really nice.

Making changes in the workplace

A simple but effective change I’ve made is to put that I’m a Numeracy Champion into my email signature – that way people know they can come to me for support, or might be prompted to give the National Numeracy Challenge a go.

We’ve also put up a big display of our health and wellbeing team – we have social prescribers who help patients with financial issues, like debt advice, and employment. I’m going to put something about the National Numeracy Challenge on there and let them know that I’m a Numeracy Champion.

We’ve also got a “Chatty Café” which we do once a week, so I’m going to take some resources along to that. Anywhere we go, I take a little thing with me – you never know!

It’s about letting people know that this is a safe space to talk about their worries with maths, and that it’s nothing to be ashamed about.

When I was on the training call there was such a variety of ages and genders, so it’s definitely not limited to any one group of people.

The benefits of numeracy training to you as an individual

I would definitely recommend becoming a Numeracy Champion! It’s really good to have under your belt.

It’s building your own skills, as well as other people’s.

It helps you in your current role, and it’s good for building confidence and knowledge. Plus it looks great on your CV! I would really recommend anyone to do it.

Spreading the message that we all need number confidence

We should all build our confidence with maths because we really do use it every day – which means it’s really valuable, but also that we’re probably more capable than we think already.

For me it made me feel a lot more confident in myself, knowing that I can’t be that bad at maths because I use it to look at figures for work.

I was talking to a colleague who’s doing maths with her daughter, so it’s also something we should be aware of and passing on to friends, family and colleagues. The “If I can do it, you can do it” mentality!