KPMG – Engaging staff to improve numeracy skills




Company description:

KPMG is a leading provider of professional services in Ireland.  Our firm has 78 partners and 1800 people in offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast.  We provide clients in all sectors of Irish business with a range of Audit, Tax and Advisory services.  The cornerstones of our business are quality of advice, quality of service and quality of our people.


Business issue:

The company wanted to provide opportunities for KPMG staff to make the most of their skills and energies while creating positive impact in surrounding communities. This is central to KPMG’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.


Solution Applied:

Project Bright is an annual internal competition that invites KPMG staff to form project teams that generate solutions for community issues. The winning team is supported by the company with volunteering time and other resources to realise their project plan as well as special leave to support overseas development projects.

In 2013, the four-person Bright Sparks project was selected to address the need for better numeracy skills among junior cert students and to make maths fun, particularly where mathematical ability amongst Irish 15 year olds is significantly below the OECD average and Ireland is ranked 26th out of 34 OECD countries.

The team prepared the course content and rolled out the programme between December 2012 and the end of April 2013. During a series of sessions with the students, the team developed the students problem solving and numerical skills through teamwork, quizzes and tutorials all based around the practical application of maths in the real world.  These sessions were interspersed with two field trips to see maths in action in two client sites: Google and DCC.


Company Benefits:

The team harnessed the experienced skill set of the volunteers who participated in this project.  Lauren Sharp, one of the team members coordinating the programme said:

“It has been an amazing experience to have been able to develop our “Bright Sparks” programme with CBS Westland Row.  It was brilliant to see such enthusiasm and hard work from all the students, but in particular how much fun they had.  In the end, I think we enjoyed it and learned as much as they did!”


Stakeholder Benefits:

Of the Project Bright initiative in 2013, students had the following to say:

“Lisa and Laura made algebra easier to understand.”

“I have never done trigonometry before and they showed us that maths can be useful and fun.”

“The visit to Google was amazing and we saw that everyone there had to use maths.”

Eighty two per cent of the students who participated said that they were more positive about maths after completing the course.


Further Information:

Karina Howley, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility,