Could more maths lessons mean more job opportunities for young people in Jersey and Guernsey?

The Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are two of the offshore financial capitals of the world.

Finance is an industry where numeracy skills are crucial.

And today UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said he wants all pupils to study maths up to the age of 18.

In a speech on Wednesday laying out his priorities for 2023, Mr Sunak said we need to "reimagine" our approach to numeracy.

“One of the biggest changes in mindset we need in education today is to reimagine our approach to numeracy", he said.

“Right now, just half of all 16 to 19-year-olds study any maths at all. 

"Yet in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our children’s jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before", he added.

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said we need to 'reimagine' our approach to numeracy.

With the financial sector accounting for 40% of Guernsey's GDP and 38% of Jersey's, some experts on the island think more time studying maths could equate to more opportunities for young islanders.

Amy Bryant, deputy chief executive of Jersey Finance, told ITV News there are many transferrable skills to be gained from the subject.

She said: "Numbers are all around us. From helping in our day to day lives, from thinking about budgeting, to thinking about saving for treats, thinking about explaining football stats", she said.

"It's really important that we have a base level of numeracy to help day to day but also to help in our work lives too", she added.

'Numbers are all around us': Amy Bryant of Jersey Finance told ITV News it's 'really important' we have a base level of literacy.

Rishi Sunak hasn't clarified exactly what his maths policy will look like and how it will be implemented.

David Laws, executive chairman of the Education Policy Institute said the changes wouldn't be possible if a shortage of maths teachers wasn't addressed.

“While there is a good case for more maths education in sixth forms and colleges, it will take many years to recruit the necessary teachers,” Mr Laws said.“It is likely to take five to 10 years to make a reality of the maths commitment, but there are urgent education issues which need addressing now.”

Eight million adults in England have primary school level maths. This, the UK government has argued, puts us behind countries like France and Canada.

Some shoppers at Central Market in St Helier agreed that maths skills were key. ITV News spoke to Russell, who is currently studying maths at school in Jersey.

"It's a really useful skill to have", he said.

"I'll definitely be studying it further."

Could you answer these primary school level maths questions? We tested shoppers in St Helier.

One market trader, who didn't want to be named, is in her forties. She said she wished maths education had been better when she was growing up.

"I know we have calculators in our pockets these days but it would still be really useful to have better maths skills. I count and have to use maths everyday", she said.

So although some in the UK education sector have concerns about Rishi Sunak's plans for more maths - and how he'll achieve them - others think that better numeracy skills could help add and multiply work and life opportunities.