A Marketing College that teaches Maths? Really?

It is a requirement that all apprentices must have a qualification at Level 2 in English and Maths – that is the equivalent of a GCSE. Over 8% of our apprentices do not have a Maths qualification so we are delighted to have recruited expert Maths tutor, Dr Nigel Upton, to help them achieve this.


Lost in the jungle

As Nigel explains,

“There are many reasons why students struggle with Maths and come away from school with a negative view of the subject. It is a bit like being in a jungle – if you can understand what the leader is saying and keep up the pace then that’s ok, but if you lose sight of where you have been and where you are going, then you are lost.

If someone comes back to pick you up then you can move ahead again, but otherwise you are just lost. The difference is that, with Maths, no matter how long you have been lost, it is always possible to complete the journey and become confident in using Maths.


Which Maths qualification?

The College is recognised by Highfield Assessment for Maths tuition, and our apprentices take the Highfield Level 2 functional skills qualification. Functional skills Maths covers essential skills needed for day to day life such as working out a sale discount, understanding what an interest rate on a loan means and understanding the percentage of responses to a marketing campaign.


How do you teach Maths?

There is an assessment at the beginning to establish what Maths the apprentice remembers and then a personalised learning programme to plug the gaps. Nigel teaches over a 10-12 week block with weekly, one hour, one-to-one tutorials. He uses the ‘flipped classroom’, where the student reads and practises in advance, then uses the tutorial time to deepen understanding and get guidance from the tutor. We supply an appropriate textbook and an electronic pad for solving Maths problems during tutorials.

Nigel keeps the tutorials light-hearted and focuses on Maths examples that are relevant to a career in Marketing.

"There is a focus on building confidence and a ‘can do’ attitude to Maths. The pace is adjusted to make sure the apprentice has a solid understanding of each Maths topic.

Nigel Upton is a fantastic teacher. He will take you through each part step by step and won’t rush or push you on if you are not ready. Nigel was very supportive and was very clear when explaining topics I found hard to understand.”

- Marketing Apprentice


Learn more about Dr Nigel Upton

Nigel teaches Maths to children aged 11-16 and to adults. Nigel has a PhD in Maths, he is a qualified Maths teacher and previously was a Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He is passionate about making Maths accessible to everyone and says he gains huge satisfaction from seeing the apprentices grasp Maths skills. You can find out more about him: cambridgestudies.org.


An apprentice’s view

Annys Kirk is our first apprentice to gain the Functional Skills qualification and we asked her to explain her experiences to encourage other apprentices:

“The day I got the email with my pass mark for Functional Skills Level 2 was euphoric. A weight had been lifted, something that had been there probably for many years but also such a big sense of achievement.

I know that having to repeat something you feel you should have passed at school makes you feel embarrassed, fearful and annoyed. With questions such as: What if I don’t pass? Why am I taking this again? Why didn’t I pass when I was 16? But don’t let those demons stop you!

After years of working out who I was, and what I wanted to be, I built confidence - confidence from my achievements, and confidence that I now know how I will apply myself and take on challenges. If there is one thing you should think about when those demons creep in, think about how you got into your position today. You are knowledgeable, you are intelligent, and you can you achieve this.

The Functional Skills course is not like maths when we were at school. The equations usually relate to scenarios that we would find ourselves in as adults. The modules are broken down into stages. You will get significant one-on-one time with your tutor and there are other students on the same journey, who are on-hand on the Teams chat to support you.
Remember, you know who you are, take the course at your own pace, be open and honest if you are struggling (we all struggle at times) and you will pass this.”

Congratulations to Annys on her successful result.

For more information about our apprenticeships, please contact Charlotte Lestienne, charlotte@marketingcollege.com.