Four young people from Dundee have completed a pioneering project to improve their numeracy skills.
The group has been participating in the Government-funded ‘Multiply’ project during free sessions delivered by Dundee Science Centre.
Over eight weekly sessions, the group enjoyed various activities aimed at building confidence in numeracy skills, from working in the gift shop and on reception to supporting the Science Centre team in delivering science experiences, both in the centre and on outreach. All four also received barista training to make various hot drinks for visitors.
One of the participants was David Low (23) from Dundee.
David, who had been attending college, left his course after encountering difficulties with online learning. Acutely aware that he needed to build skills to boost his CV, he enrolled on the Multiply programme.
Reflecting on the experience, David said, “I always struggled a bit with maths at school, partly because of how it was taught through repetition rather than skills. But I was also aware that basic maths and numeracy skills are necessary for most jobs. I was attracted to the programme running at Dundee Science Centre as I knew it would be more practical and focused on real tasks than how I’d experienced maths at school.
“I enjoyed working in the café most of all, completing orders and serving visitors. Maths is everywhere but, for me, it’s so much easier to grasp through doing. The programme also boosted my confidence in meeting new people and, because it took place in a real-life work setting, it’s helped with planning ahead and managing my own time.”
With his newfound confidence, David is now continuing his search for employment and hopes to find a balance between work and pursuing his passion for game design.
Caitlin MacInnes, STEM Development Lead at Dundee Science Centre, said, “It was a real privilege hosting the group as part of the Multiply programme. For various reasons, many people find numeracy tricky and, because of previous experiences, it can be off-putting.
“Tapping into all departments of the centre, we created a varied package of activities which were very much person-centred to remove barriers and build skills and confidence. As well as exposing the group to workplace skills like reception and coffee shop work, we also got them involved in the science activities and experiments that we showcase to families and individuals as part of their visit.
“Maths underpins so many areas of everyday life and, if you can develop skills almost without realising it, that’s a brilliant thing! Science has the power to teach so many other transferable skills through fun, numeracy being just one, and that’s where the real impact shone through for the group. It’s been wonderful seeing them grow in confidence throughout the process, and we can’t wait to see where they go from here.”
On completion, the four learners received a certificate from Dundee Science Centre and the barista training beginner’s course qualification from Coffee Conscience.
Multiply is a new up to £559 million programme to help transform the lives of adults across the UK, by improving their functional numeracy skills through free personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses.
With the launch of Multiply, all local areas across the UK will be able to receive funding to deliver bespoke adult numeracy programmes over the next three years. Target learners are adults 19+ who have not previously attained a Level 2/ SCQF Level 5 or Higher Maths qualification.