Mathematical skills are important to the contemporary workplace, but the transfer from studying for a GCSE-level qualification at school to workplace application is not always straightforward.
Students learning maths at school need to gain these skills in such a way that they are confident in applying them when they enter work - a lack of mathematical competence means an inability to function fully in modern, technology rich workplaces.
It is fundamental that learning pathways focus on giving students the skills to apply "simple math in complex settings" - involving sense-checking answers, the use of spreadsheets and computer-generated graphs and collaborative work. At the moment, many workers lack the mathematical knowledge to fully understand the techniques they are using, to control technology at their disposal or understand the outputs from the tools they use.
“To be numerate means to be competent, confident, and comfortable with one’s judgements on whether to use mathematics in a particular situation and if so, what mathematics to use, how to do it, what degree of accuracy is appropriate, and what the answer means in relation to the context.” - Diana Coben
Professor Jeremy Hodgen, and Dr Rachel Marks. 2013. The Employment Equation: Why Our Young People Need More Maths for Today’s Jobs.