Maths In Action At Forge

Business leaders from across the UK and Ireland convened on Ormiston Forge Academy recently to inspire leadership amongst girls using real-world maths and the construction industry.

Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath hosted the Maths In Action day with a group of 25 female students. High-level representation from the construction industry included Jewsons, ISG, Prologic and Protec International Ltd. Rebecca Simkins, Head of Maths at the academy, said, “It’s vitally important that we show our young women that they can be leaders, that maths is a subject for everyone and that the successful application of maths in a business environment is a key skill.”

The day kicked off with an introduction to the construction industry from Craig Mincher who is the Head of Supply Chain Systems and Process for ISG, an international construction services company delivering fit out, construction, engineering services and a range of specialist solutions. The girls then had an inspiring presentation on the challenges and benefits of being a female senior leader from Di Barnes, the National Director for Academies at Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) who sponsor Forge.
She said, “The Maths in Action day at Forge provided a fantastic opportunity for Ormiston’s future female engineers, scientists and high flyers to come together to explore real life challenges with the intention of building this amazing group of young women’s confidence. A great day was had by all.”

The students took part in a dummy reverse auction competing to win a contract. Prologic, an e-procurement company, had created the scenario especially for the day, it held many real-world challenges for the teams. During the day the students learnt about profit, loss and sustainability as well as key concepts such as the best price not always being the best fit. After a very competitive pitch and auction stage the teams picked up tips on presentation and team-work as part of their debrief with the professionals.

Craig Mincher from ISG said, “I was astounded with the ability of the students to quickly grasp business concepts, such as profit, cash, price and cost. Their logical thinking and acumen to deliver strong ‘cash-backed’ business cases, which at the same time, enhanced the customer experience, was awe-inspiring.  It takes weeks for many professionally qualified business executives to grasp such concepts.”

At the start of the day 85% of students rated their confidence as a one on a scale of 1 to 4 (1 being the lowest). By the end of the day 95% rated their confidence as a 4 and their desire to study A level maths had increased four-fold. Shannon Roche, 15, from Halesowen said, “I never thought I’d get this excited about Maths”. Students were joined by their parents at the end of the day, for a formal presentation, to celebrate successes and reflect on a new-found numerical passion.

Principal Andrew Burns said, “I’m passionate about maths and I know how hard it is to make it sparkle. We did that today! I’d be hard pressed to find a better example of bringing the business world into education with better results. We have a group of young women, with the potential to go to the best universities and have brilliant careers. Today we showed them that it is possible, we broke down barriers and will continue to do so with the help of our influential, caring and dedicated partners; to whom I am eternally grateful.”

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PHOTO (left to right): Craig Mincher – Head of Supply Chain – ISG plc, Dermot Coyle – owner – Prologic, Natasha Chifamba, Edit Fullingham – Key Account Manager – Protec, Bill Kiely – Business Development Manager – ISG plc, Eyna Sadeqa, Zara Ali, Seren Gelencser, Memory Bhuna, Jade Willetts, Dana Beetison, Laheba Rawdah, Rebecca Simkins – Head of Maths – Ormiston Forge Academy, Paul Murray – Sales Manager – Jewson

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