Maths teachers from across Swindon and Wiltshire have been working with local employers to show students the career opportunities available with Maths. Since the beginning of March, students from seven local secondary schools have been meeting ‘Maths Ambassadors’ – who bring each maths topic to life by explaining how it is relevant to their work.


For some topics, students are also engaging in problem solving and creative tasks set by businesses to develop their employability skills and to show how maths skills are important in a broad range of careers. Teachers are hoping to take their students to meet the ‘Maths Ambassadors’ and to see maths in action at their workplaces. Employers involved in the project include: Apetito, Blueflame Digital, Wiltshire Council, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and QinetiQ.


The project is funded by central government, via the Department for Education and the Careers and Enterprise Company. It is one of 10 such research projects across the UK, the result of a successful bid by the Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub Team.


Shona Taylor, Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub Lead, explains: “Maths is important for all jobs and for daily life, but students sometimes view maths topics as too abstract and irrelevant. Our proposal was to bring employers into the classroom (virtually of course), to help students to see the value of their learning, and the exciting opportunities that come from studying maths. We’ve been overwhelmed by the commitment of teachers and employers to support this new approach”.


Councillor Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at Wiltshire Council, said: “This funding provides a real opportunity for young people to see how maths operates in the real world and how it can lead to fulfilling careers. Having these role models can open up a world of possibilities for young people and I’m pleased Wiltshire Council is part of this exciting work.”


Employer-led sessions will continue for the duration of this academic year, when the approach will be evaluated by researchers at the Careers and Enterprise Company. Students completed a pre-project survey and will be surveyed again at the end of the project to assess the impact.


The Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub hopes that the data will show improved student confidence in maths, and increased ambition to pursue further study and maths careers. The outcomes will be published nationally and shared locally to give teachers and employers the evidence they need to adopt this new approach – using real world careers to bring to life the maths curriculum.


Paddy Bradley, CEO of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire have a genuine need for people with strong maths skills, and the energy, passion and enthusiasm to share with teachers and students across the region. What the Careers Hub is offering, through this project, is an easy mechanism to link employers with teachers to inspire the future workforce”.


Councillor Tim Swinyard, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Place, said: “This is a joint project between both councils and the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. We’re working together to encourage schools to adopt this approach, and to bring in businesses that can support them. Seven schools are involved this year and we hope to see many more take up this fantastic opportunity in future years.”


Any schools, colleges or local businesses keen to get involved in the project, this academic year or beyond, should contact the Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub: [email protected].