What have your previous experiences with maths been like?
It stems back from childhood. My Dad would comment on me using a calculator to work out sums. He was a tradesman who could work things out in his head. I also got intimidated in school, taught in Welsh – I’m English – so I started to avoid classes. I got a D at GCSE, had a maths tutor and managed to get a C grade in the re-sit.
What is your role and how does it involve maths?
I’m a pharmacy technician in a hospital, so I have to calculate medication doses on a daily basis. This can also include working out volumes, and in past years I worked in radio pharmacy, which meant calculating decay factors of radioactivity and volumes of syringes for patient administration in the nuclear medicine department.
How did you come across the National Numeracy Challenge?
I came across it through my partner. He has no issue with maths and scored 98% first try. I had a go and was quite ashamed that I only got 68%. I was embarrassed and said it was because I was rubbish at maths.
I decided to have a look at the learning activities that were available, gave it another go and got in the 70s. This gave me the push I needed to keep going and third time lucky – I scored over 80%. I am definitely more confident now, but I still revisit the website to keep my hand in.
What would your advice be to anyone who has always felt anxious about maths?
I think that my advice to anyone who is afraid of maths is not to be embarrassed and to keep trying. Ask for help if need be, anyone that laughs or makes comments, what are they unsure of? No one is perfect. With practise and determination anything is possible, even if it did take me from my school days until now!