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National Numeracy Day: Alba and Cara figure it out

Date: 19 May 2021

Time: 09:00

Two SCFT staff are to take centre stage in today's star-studded National Numeracy Day celebrations by encouraging people to improve their maths skills. 

Alba Fernandez, an associate therapy practitioner, and Cara Mitchell, a nursery manager, will join an expert panel for one of a series of webinars hosted by National Numeracy, the charity behind the awareness day. 

They will take part in the free and open-to-all session about ‘how to use numbers to supercharge your job search and career’, which starts at 10.30am and will be hosted by poet and comedian Harry Baker. 

The session will be live-streamed on the charity’s website and social media channels, along with four other free and open-to-all online events featuring celebrities including TV presenter and mathematician Rachel Riley, and Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Katya Jones. 

Alba and Cara, who are National Numeracy Day Heroes, will draw on their experiences of the charity’s National Numeracy Challenge, a free website that lets users check and improve the maths they use at home and work. 

The website avoids algebra and trigonometry and focusses instead on managing money, working out measurements and understanding percentages. 

After brushing up their skills, users can subject themselves to a more detailed assessment of their ability – the check-up – and use it to find out if they have the ‘essentials of numeracy’, the core maths skills required in daily life and at work. 

Alba said: “Doing the Challenge gave me the confidence to try to do my Functional Skills maths. 

“I was scared to be back again re-taking my maths and studying something that I didn’t enjoy - but I actually did [enjoy it] and now I feel very proud and confident. 

“It helped me to work out better my day-to-day accounts and helps me with work all the time.” 

Supported by the Trust, Alba is now applying to the University of Coventry to do an Occupational Therapy degree apprenticeship. 

Cara said: “Following completion of the Challenge and talking more about maths with my colleagues, I now feel I have a superpower! 

“My new superpower helps me with maths that I need at work as a manager, and I feel much more confident discussing financial queries with other colleagues.” 

Earlier this year, SCFT, which has registered as a National Numeracy Day Champion, became the first NHS trust in the country to have 1,000 staff sign up for the Challenge. 

The total includes more than 400 Care Certificate students, who must each achieve a score of 80 or more to achieve the ‘essentials of numeracy’. 

Jill Durrant, SCFT’s Widening Participation Lead, will address a Health Education England (HEE) network event on 16 June about the Trust’s work to improve staff numeracy via the Care Certificate. 

She has previously addressed Department of Health ministers on the same topic. 

More information about National Numeracy Day is available here and on National Numeracy’s website, which includes details of the charity’s social media channels. 

The National Numeracy Challenge can be taken here.