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Hello Personal Assistant, Can You Do Maths?

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As the owner of one of those increasingly popular voice-controlled assistants, I get a weekly email from the supplier suggesting new things to ask it to do or help with.

Rather conveniently, this week’s update arrived this morning and includes the suggestion: “[Hello], can you do maths?”  I use the word ‘conveniently’ because among the various tasks on my to-do list today is ‘write a short blog about numeracy’. So now I have an introduction.

Like literacy, numeracy – understanding and being able to apply numbers – is a vital life skill. They are both key foundations of our education from the earliest of ages and go on to support opportunity and achievement throughout our schooling, into the world of work and beyond.

Low levels of numeracy in adult life can be a major obstacle to success. Most employers require at least basic maths skills. And if you struggle with numbers, making successful financial decisions about the money that going to work generates will be very challenging.

But this is the reality for many adults today. In the UK, almost half of us possess the maths skills expected of an 11 year old. This is according to National Numeracy, a charity that champions the importance of good numeracy and provides tools to help people improve.

So when National Numeracy asked Experian to support the UK’s first National Numeracy Day on 16 May we were delighted to say yes. I’m certainly looking forward to working alongside a number of other big brands as well as numeracy ambassadors Rachel Riley and Martin Lewis.

It’s a great fit for Experian, a company with a long track record of supporting initiatives designed to help people make successful decisions, particularly around personal finances. Our learning resource Values, Money & Me is already used in primary-school classrooms around the country to help cement good financial habits from an early age. Similarly, millions of adults track the health of their credit with the help of a free Experian account, and use the built-in eligibility features to secure better deals on financial products.

Like others, we firmly believe that maths skills and financial success are closely linked, so we’re delighted to be helping support and promote National Numeracy Day. We’ll be encouraging as many people as possible to tackle the National Numeracy challenge and, where necessary, to take follow-up steps to brush up on their maths skills and, as a result we hope, improve their financial futures.

Written by: James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs, UK&I