Neil Challis, Harry Gretton, Ken Houston and Neville Neill
Generally speaking, humans develop skills as they mature. They will employ skills when they are competent and comfortable with them and using them will lead to an improvement in their quality of life. Children develop speech and then they can more easily tell their parents what they want; they develop dexterity and then they can more readily enjoy their toys. In this chapter we are concerned with developing certain key skills in mathematics students, skills that we describe as transferable and that will enable students to improve their quality of life.
Professional mathematicians require good transferable skills, such as reading, writing, speaking and working with others, as well as subject-specific knowledge. They may be applied mathematicians, in one or more of a variety of guises such as scientists, engineers, economists or actuaries, and will be working with others, using mathematics and mathematical modelling to solve problems and answer questions that may arise in industry, commerce or a social context. If they are pure mathematicians, they will almost certainly be employed by a university with some requirement to conduct research and to teach. Those mathematics graduates who become schoolteachers will certainly need good interpersonal and leadership skills, along with several other attributes that they may not get through an undergraduate mathematics education! Some mathematics graduates will go into general employment, and they, like their peers will need all of the aforementioned transferable skills.