On a construction site, Pythagoras is everywhere!

We talked to Johnny, an Engineering apprentice based in the North of Scotland, about his maths journey.

What are you doing now?
I'm working away from home in Keith in Moray as an apprentice on construction sites whilst studying Civil Engineering at uni.

How did you feel about maths at school?
In primary school, I went through phases of liking it and not liking it. At high school, I quite enjoyed it at the beginning, but in S3 I kind of lost track, which put me in a rough situation for S4. In my Nat 5 prelim, I only got 30%.

What helped you to improve your maths skills?
I knew I wanted to do engineering. I studied hard and signed up for after-school maths sessions and I got my Higher. Then I went to college and did civil engineering, and that taught me a lot of the basic principles of the subject. I understand maths better now that I use it in real life. If you're ordering concrete for a foundation, it's worked out by metres cubed. It's quite nice being able to see what you're taught in school in real life.

What would you say to someone struggling with maths, but wanting to do engineering?
Go to college or do an apprenticeship and you can build your way up. I've heard of people on site that have started out as labourers they've eventually got into the engineering side. A lot of people on my degree course started out with an HNC from college and they're doing really well in their companies.

Age 19+ and live or work in Aberdeenshire, Glasgow, Highlands or Fife? The WEA have a range of FREE online numeracy courses.

Take part at a time and pace to suit you and get optional free support from one of our numeracy tutors.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Johnny, WEA Learner