Fear of maths

We were really excited to hear one of Ufi’s projects - Citizen Maths - discussed on BBC Radio 4 this week. It was featured on ‘More or Less’ which aims to help us make sense of the statistics which surround us. It is presented by Tim Harford, an economist and journalist, who also writes the ‘Undercover Economist’ column in the Financial Times. So we can see why Tim would be interested in a maths project!

Tim Harford interviewed Noel-Ann Bradshaw of Citizen Maths and asked why she thought that people happily confessed to being no good at maths, but were less willing to admit to difficulties with literacy. She said that problems often start at school, where people might struggle with classroom approaches to learning maths. They end up afraid of maths - thinking it is just too hard. She explained that Citizen Maths offers adults an opportunity to have another go at building their maths skills. It offers a free, online course to help people learn maths in a new way. People can work when and where it suits them, at their own pace, to get to grips with maths using short video lessons, demos and online apps.

While ‘More or Less’ tries to help make sense of facts and figures we hear every day in the news, Ufi is also aware of how a difficulty with numeracy skills is affecting people’s ability to take up vocational training opportunities and limiting their job choices. With Citizen Maths and the game based Stardash Studio app (a project with National Numeracy), Ufi is investing in different approaches to helping people overcome problems in learning maths.

This is not an area where one approach will work for everyone and we will use what we learn from these projects to provide wider lessons on using digital approaches to improve numeracy. With new tools we hope to see fewer people held back at work by a lack of numeracy skills, and a positive impact on those organisations who need people with these skills.

To find out more, visit www.citizenmaths.com.

Ufi commits £1 million to Manufacturing Skills projects

Ufi is excited to announce that it is committing £1 million to its Manufacturing Skills Fund (MSF), investing in projects that use digital technology to improve how vocational learning is delivered in the manufacturing sector.

Following a call for applications for funding, the MSF is investing in seven projects that will use emerging learning technologies to equip manufacturing workers with the skills they need for a rapidly changing industry. Ultimately, the projects aim to boost productivity and competitiveness of UK manufacturing.

The Manufacturers’ Organisation, EEF, recently found that almost three-quarters (72%) of manufacturing businesses are concerned about finding the skills their businesses need, and 73% have faced difficulties finding appropriately trained workers in the last three years.

Manufacturers face huge challenges when looking to upskill staff. Vocational training usually means time taken off the job for staff, which can be a real financial and resource burden – particularly for smaller businesses. As a result, there is a strong demand for training that is easy to access, adaptable to developments in technology, and cost effective for employers. The seven MSF funded projects will harness digital tools to address these barriers to high quality vocational training.

Rebecca Garrod-Waters, Ufi CEO, commented:

“Technology can be seen as a challenge for business.  Our investment in these projects provides a major opportunity to demonstrate how digital solutions  can help to upskill employees. We believe digital technologies play a significant role in helping meet current and future vocational skills requirements. The Manufacturing Skills Fund will demonstrate new and creative ideas that can transform how vocational learning is delivered for the UK manufacturing workforce.”