New research that we commissioned has revealed that over a third of adult Britons (35 per cent) tend to rely on a calculator to perform sums over 100, while one in five (18 per cent) struggle to do basic addition and subtraction in their head.
The results of the study by YouGov of more than 2,000 adults was timed to coincide with the launch of our nationwide Schools Roadshow which, together with the Royal Air Force, aims to challenge 25,000 young people’s perceptions about maths and how it relates to engineering in the real world.
While over a third of Britons have jobs that involve working with numbers on a daily basis (38 per cent), 15 per cent are embarrassed by their lack of arithmetic skills. Despite 50 per cent of those polled acknowledging that some of life’s most important decisions require a good grip on numbers, nearly a third (30 per cent) said their own formative experiences with maths in the classroom had been uninspiring. Unsurprisingly, 17 per cent wish they had taken maths lessons more seriously during their school days.
Speaking at the launch event at St Marleybone Church of England School for Girls in London, Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director at BAE Systems said: "Maths and science are crucial to the success of Britain's youth and our nation's future but it appears that we start to lose arithmetic skills as we grow up. Good maths skills open up so many opportunities both personally and professionally. With increased competition for jobs it is more important than ever that students keep working at maths and the sciences - continued study of these subjects will likely lead to rewarding and sustained employment in the engineering and technology sectors.”
Wing Commander Mike Harrop, Chief of Staff at the Royal Air Force College said: "The Royal Air Force is delighted to be able to continue working with BAE Systems in this critically important aspect of education. Maths skills are an essential element of everyday life and underpin engineering and technical careers throughout the UK and globally. The BAE Systems and RAF Roadshow demonstrates that maths can be fun, as well as showcasing the diverse appeal of STEM careers."
Jem Stansfield, the well known science and technology TV presenter and 2013 Schools Roadshow ambassador added: "Maths is an incredibly important part of everyday life with some of the most common yet important decisions requiring good numerical abilities - even though we may not have realised it when we were kids. Whilst many students find the subject uninspiring, the BAE Systems and RAF Schools Roadshow really demonstrates what an interesting and exciting topic maths can be!"