Boy, does Wales need skills in managing money!
The poorest nation in the UK with the highest proportion of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET). And the maths skills of our 15 year olds aren’t up to much either, according to the European benchmark, PISA.
With little money to go around, every penny must be made to deliver in full. Do we all do this? More importantly, are all young people equipped to do this?
Deciphering interest rates; being able to see beyond attractive advertising to understand the staggering percentage rates behind pay day loans; making – and sticking – to a budget; knowing what value for money means… there’s a lot to learn, especially for a young person just starting to take on the responsibilities of adulthood.
Help is at hand: the Money for Life programme
Thanks to the sponsorship and support of Lloyds TSB, there is now a UK-wide financial capability programme, Money for Life, to help young people who are in further education, work-based learning or the adult community learning sector to get to grips with money skills.
ColegauCymru / CollegesWales is proud to coordinate the programme in Wales, in partnership with the NTfW.
The Money for Life programme provides fully-funded qualifications for young people’s mentors, and, for the young people themselves, there’s the Money for Life Challenge competition. The goal of the Challenge is to find the most successful and innovative projects young learners can use to improve their money management skills and those of their friends, families and communities.
Wales’ teams win on UK stage
The first ever Challenge was in 2012. Following a hugely entertaining, enthusiastic and educational Wales Final in March, a team called ‘Don’t Buy Posh, Save Your Dosh’ from ACT Training in Bridgend was crowned winner, with ‘Money Maze’ from Gower College Swansea winning the People’s Prize.
Many of the finalists and the winning teams were then given an opportunity to showcase their new skills and resources to Assembly Members at a reception in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. And ‘Don’t Buy Posh, Save Your Dosh’ then went further afield, to the Money for Life Challenge UK Final in London… and won there, too!
It’s not only Wales’ learners that are getting themselves known. Project manager of Money for Life in Wales, ColegauCymru’s Julia Owens, is likewise in demand across Britain. Her understanding of the issues, and her dynamism matched with her approachability have ensured that Wales is punching above its weight compared to the rest of the UK.
Dashing around Wales motivating learning providers and community groups to get involved, she’s also made time to ensure that the Money for Life programme develops an even wider reach long term. With Welsh Government officials, she’s been feeding her earlier focus group work on how to motivate young people; she’s been contributing to a toolkit of resources available through the programme’s accredited courses; and she’s working with the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) to find ways of making the learner-centred resources available to all.
Her influence has reached Scotland, too. Last spring, she was invited by the Scottish Government’s Employability and Tackling Poverty Learning Network to speak on using motivation techniques to change financial behaviour. And last month, she was back, speaking at the Scottish Learning Festival. She’s also been filmed for a BBC Learning production on financial advice for young people, clips of which will also appear on the Radio 1 website.
Next stop: the Palace of Westminster
Julia Owens will be at the Palace of Westminster next week to support Money for Life Challenge UK winners, Patsy and Paige of ‘Don’t Buy Posh Save Your Dosh’, where they’ll be addressing MPs at a special reception.
More news on the programme will follow shortly, but for now, here’s a quick rundown of the successes of Money for Life in Wales. Wales’ young people need financial capability skills… and they are starting to develop them… very succesfully.