TEENAGERS do not recognise the importance of achieving a maths GCSE to their future career aspirations, according to recent research.

Whilst hoping to join the ranks of highly-skilled professionals such as teachers, doctors, engineers and video game designers, many young people did not recognise that maths would be a pre-requisite to achieving their preferred careers.

The Nationwide Bulding Society asked 2,000 Year 8 and 9 pupils whether they felt a maths GCSE (Grade D or higher) was a necessary requirement for a number of careers and the results indicated a worrying mismatch in perceptions: Around 30% of young people didn’t think they needed a GCSE in maths to pursue a career in accountancy.

Loading article content

Almost half (47 per cent) didn’t think that maths was necessary to become a nurse.

More than half (51%) didn’t think the maths was needed for a career in plumbing.

These findings are worrying as the minimum level maths GCSE expected by the Government is now a grade C.

Students failing to achieve this will potentially have to continue their maths studies. The achievement of a C grade is also seen as essential to many entry level jobs across a wide range of industries, including many apprenticeships or training courses such as plumbing, nursing and accountancy.

Adults with poor numeracy skills are twice as likely to be unemployed as those who are competent and more likely to suffer financial difficulties2.

Stephen Uden, head of citizenship at Nationwide, comments: “It is worrying that many young people fail to recognise the importance of numeracy skills as a basic requirement for a wide range of future careers.

Our Talking Numbers* programme aims to rectify this. By highlighting the importance of numeracy, we are working to improve the numeracy skills of 200,000 young people by putting numbers in real life, everyday situations. Working with teachers, parents and pupils we will provide the crucial foundations of numeracy skills, delivered in the ways that young people have told us they want to learn them, whilst also highlighting their importance to future life and careers.”