Don’t let the grammar ghouls and figure fiends frighten you this Halloween

25 October 2018 | Opinion pieces

Who knows what arithmophobia or numerophobia means?

The word sleuths among you might be able to work it out – they both amount to an irrational fear of numbers.

How about hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia? It’s possibly the world’s most ironic name for a phobia – meaning a fear of long words. Whoever came up with it clearly didn’t have much sympathy for its sufferers.

There’s nothing wrong with getting a little scared at Halloween. Who wouldn’t be a little frightened by eerie costumes, tales of the undead rising up and chilling campfire stories?

But there’s something you can do about being spooked by spelling or being mortified by maths, whatever time of year it might be.

If you’ve said (or heard your staff say) the ghoulish phrases “I don’t do numbers” or “spelling’s never been my thing” then they could come to haunt you.

That’s because any business owner will tell you literacy and numeracy are essential skillsets in running a successful company.

Yet figures by charity National Numeracy show around 17 million adults in the UK have the maths skills of a primary school pupil. And here’s a really scary fact – England ranks almost bottom for literacy in the western world, according to international think tank OECD.

The fundamentals at the heart of a business are built on these core skills – from basics like stock checking and quoting professionally to strategic financial and business planning.

Investing in English and maths often results in improvements to lifelong practical skills – both in professional and personal development. This leads to better communication, efficiency and productivity in business and the possibility of career and salary progression.

City College Plymouth offers courses covering English, maths and ICT that will give you and your employees valuable knowledge.

We’re one of 21 colleges to be named a Maths Centre of Excellence, because our innovative and engaging approach yields relevant and confidence-boosting results. Our courses are friendly, affordable and designed to help people improve their professional and personal lives.

Don’t let nightmares about struggling with English and maths at school hold you back. To discover how the College can help you support your organisation’s training needs, please contact the College’s Business Engagement team on 01752 305026 or e-mail employers@cityplym.ac.uk.

Sadly, we can’t do anything about being scared at Halloween.

Pauline Hands
Director of Marketing & Business Engagement
City College Plymouth

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