**The Maths Scholarship Scheme can change your life. Apply today and see how it can enhance your career and change your life**

I began my proposed career path by studying for a degree in architecture. Yes. I certainly have maneuvered around in my career so far.

Having completed that I started working in retail where I spent 5 interesting years. This section of my career began at the House of Fraser group. I was actually based in their head office and worked as a merchandiser.

What does that mean? Well, I was focusing predominantly on sales and profits and finding ways to maximise them. Day to day I operated in the Home Department. I would spend my time basically get the best out of our chosen ranges. It was fun, in many ways, and I had the opportunity to work with different people across the supply chain and across many countries too.

I then moved to Sainsburys. There I managed larger ranges. Sainburys has more stores and there were different challenges of course as a consequence. It sounds glamorous but it was very hard work and took up many hours. But I don’t know, I felt something was missing. I just wasn’t getting satisfaction somehow. I felt that quite strongly as the years passed.

However at that time in my life I just happened to be helping out in the local community. I was tutoring teenagers who were just coming up to GCSE. I had always possessed a reasonable maths proficiency so was very comfortable doing that level of tutoring with the kids. I really enjoyed it actually.

I loved spending time with young people, planning and preparing for sessions. So I thought, why don’t I do this for a living? I suppose it gave me the bug and I could see what possibilities there were. Somehow it hinted at the satisfaction that was missing in my current job.

As I mentioned, my degree was not in maths it was in architecture. You can see I am quite creative. I guess I have been bringing that it into classroom. I use art all the time and see it as more fun to teach maths this way. There are so many links to make and connections are plentiful. All of this inspired me.

At the beginning of this new journey I enquired about my next step and undertook a knowledge enhancement course. I did this at Birmingham, that incidentally has the longest SKE course. It’s 4 years long. There were lots of investigations, placements and assignments. Birmingham was a really good starter and certainly gave me a strong base. Right now I am doing my PGCE year.

Being back in the classroom and being the learner was fab for that year. I know I’ve had the opportunity to look at maths in different ways. It’s all very different to the approach used when I was taught maths at school. I was told to follow rules and then move through to the answer.

So as a student at Birmingham I explored maths and started making connections. It was incredible to develop my understanding as to why things happened. It certainly enhanced my knowledge. After that I made the decision to stay in Birmingham and am doing the PGCE year right now.

It was then I made the decision to apply for the IMA Maths Scholars scholarship. I actually applied because our tutors told us about the opportunity.. They had mentioned a couple of students who had won scholarships in the past. Some came in and spoke to us about the impact of being a scholar. They also told us about the considerable benefits of the Maths Scholars scheme. I mulled it over and then thought, ‘ why not? I have nothing to lose but everything to gain’

I didn’t think I would even be considered of course. I thought the IMA would expect that I would have a maths degree and a higher level than me. I imagined Scholars would be more proficient and be preferred but thought it was worth having a go. After all, if you don’t get it you don’t get it.

So I applied online and actually sailed through the initial online process. But for me the group stage was most difficult. It shocked me, if I’m honest. Well, I just couldn’t believe that I actually passed. Then I was through to the final interview stage and I was so very happy. Guess what? I was offered the scholarship!

In industry there were people who had maths degrees. I always wondered if I was going to be good enough. So winning a Maths Scholars gave me so much confidence. That was just one of the many benefits.

The Scholars network has got me more and more involved with other people. It’s given me loads of ideas about classroom practice and now I’m not so scared. I got to chat to all kinds of scholars and other teachers and also go to conferences. I feel really positive; very positive actually.

If I mention that I am in possession of a Maths Scholars award people are impressed and it has helped me get my job for September. In fact I was offered a job in my 1st placement too where they were very keen and the scholarship also went down well. I guess it does sound impressive to prospective employers.

Yes, I did have a good job and did enjoy it. I still know plenty of people doing the same thing. But I wanted something extra. You know that extra satisfaction. I actually get that from kids. It’s satisfying to work with super confident students who want challenge as well as those who are scared. I’ve found both enjoyment and confidence in dealing with these students. This is the kind of satisfaction I couldn’t find outside teaching. That’s what drives me really. I am so very very busy and take home more work than before but absolutely love being in the classroom. I feel I am born to do this. Whatever happens next I will always be linked to education. You could say I’ve found my zone to work in.

In September I start my first job at St Edmund Campion Catholic school in Birmingham just around the corner from home. I am looking forward to working with a really supportive maths department that are very forward-looking.

There is a good career structure and schools are desperate for good maths teachers; we can almost take our pick. Teaching is a smart move and life changing and I am far happier. Am so glad I made the decision to apply for a Maths Scholars Scheme Scholarship. If you are hesitating then give it a go. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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