Ballyclare man and Specsavers optical assistant ‘stars’ in Maths Week poster to inspire next generation in the workplace
Aaron Howarth from Ballyclare is one of six young people showcasing the importance of maths in work and everyday life as they star in a specially created poster currently exhibiting in secondary schools across Northern Ireland as part of Maths Week 2021.
The island of Ireland wide festival of Maths is one of the largest worldwide and takes place online from 16 – 24 October. Similar in concept to 2020, this year’s event programme is largely online and features an extensive range of interactive workshops by international maths presenters, resources for parents, quizzes and a weekday twice daily ‘MathsWeekTV’ series of programmes designed to supplement both primary and secondary school curricula.
Maths Week in Northern Ireland is supported by the Department for the Economy and the festival’s six ‘Maths Ambassadors’ demonstrate how practical maths skills are essential to enable young people to enter, progress and succeed in the jobs arena and fulfil their potential whilst at the same time contributing to the development of the local economy.
Aaron who works as an optical assistant with Specsavers in Abbey Centre said, “In my work role I look after customers from their arrival in store, carrying out pre-screening tests, measuring frames and ensuring glasses fit perfectly as well as providing advice on glasses and frames selection and handling money and payments.
“At school I didn’t focus too much on maths and looking back I wish I’d worked harder as it’s so essential for all jobs. I’ve been lucky, as job and personal development in Specsavers is a huge focus and I undertook and passed both my GCSE Maths and English whilst working in store and supported by my employer. Maths really does come in handy for work and life!”
Alongside Aaron, the other 2021 ambassadors are; Fermanagh girl Laura McDermott, an apprentice mechanical and electrical engineer with Tetratech, Chef and co-owner of Holywood restaurant NOBLE, Alex Deonarine who works in digital development in Danske Bank, Jasmine Dines a water and waste water apprentice with Northern Ireland Water in Carrickfergus and programme co-ordinator, Siofra Frost from Catalyst in Belfast.
Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA joined some of the young ambassadors Melter in Holywood to launch this year’s Maths Week.
Minister Lyons said, “I am pleased to support this initiative given how important maths is in everyday life and how it can open up exciting career opportunities. Reaching people of all ages through Maths Week encourages them to maintain and improve their maths skills. They may also continue learning and studying maths, in turn giving them access to many great career opportunities in areas such as IT, games development, engineering and medicine. Maths also helps develop skills in research, analytical thinking and problem solving which can be carried to any job.”
Eoin Gill, co-founder of Maths Week Ireland said, “It’s essential, particularly in this current post pandemic era that we invest in maths skills and encourage and inspire our young people in schools to enjoy maths and see how it can impact on and benefit job opportunities and careers. Our six ambassadors are drawn from a wide spectrum of companies and organisations but each uses maths in their everyday work lives.
“To date over 42,000 pupils from 155 schools across Northern Ireland have already registered for Maths Week 2021 indicating that we should exceed last year’s figure of 56,000 people. We are really looking forward to an exciting and positively challenging series of events, workshops and shows.”
For more information on events and resources visit https://www.mathsweek.ie/2021/
Pictured: Ballyclare man, Aaron Howarth, an optical assistant at Specsavers in Abbey Centre, joins Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA to mark this year’s Maths Week. The annual festival of maths is taking place largely online from 16th-24th October.