National Numeracy launches Challenge Champions

National Numeracy launches Challenge Champions: a new volunteering initiative to help improve the UK’s everyday maths skills.

This week – Volunteers’ Week – sees the launch of National Numeracy’s Challenge Champions, a new volunteering opportunity to encourage people to help others in improving their everyday maths skills.

Challenge Champions will help National Numeracy meet its target of a million people improving their numeracy over the next five years through the UK-wide National Numeracy Challenge launched in March.

The Challenge has been developed against a backdrop of research indicating that the UK is failing to keep up with other countries in its levels of maths and numeracy. Government figures also show that virtually half the working-age population have the numeracy skills expected of children at primary school. Over three-quarters are below the level equivalent to the maths GCSE that many employers regard as necessary for work.

Challenge Champions will operate in workplaces or other organisations to support colleagues and friends taking part in the Challenge Online, a confidential, easy-to-use website designed to improve everyday maths skills. The Challenge Online is central to the National Numeracy Challenge.

Volunteers don’t need to be mathematicians to become a Champion. They don’t even need to be particularly good at academic maths. But they do need to feel confident in their own numeracy so that they can help others.

Anyone can sign up to be a Champion. Volunteers need to work through a self-study module which takes three to four hours to complete. After that they can start to encourage others who may be struggling with their numeracy and support them through the Challenge Online.

Many people are affected by previous bad experiences of maths, particularly at school. The National Numeracy Challenge aims to build understanding of the value of maths, together with the belief that everyone can improve and the perseverance to keep learning even when it seems difficult.

National Numeracy is working with a growing network of employers, unions, training providers, education and community organisations to improve everyday maths skills through the Challenge. Volunteering as a Challenge Champion offers an active way to get involved.

Partners already on board and getting started with the scheme include TUC unionlearn whose director, Tom Wilson, said:

"Whether it's shopping, payslips or financial decisions, numbers play a big part in everyday life. We are helping Union Learning Representatives to become Champions so they can help others improve vital numeracy skills."

Find out more and get your organisation involved as Challenge Champions.