NYA Blog: Money skills help to unlock young people’s futures

29 Jan 2018

Britain Thinks and the Money Advice Service recently released research on young people’s attitudes to money management.

They spoke to 500 young people aged 16 to 25 year olds through a survey and a series of workshops. Some of the main findings include:
• Money is important to young people but many do not feel confident about managing it.
• 85% wish they had been taught more money skills at school or University.
• Few seek guidance or help on money.

NYA delivers My Money Now, a money management programme for young apprentices entering the world of work for the first time. Much of the training is delivered by young people too, using youth work skills to help learners understand and retain learning. So far we have trained 386 young people.

NYA’s experience concurs with the report’s findings. Young people are concerned about money but feel at a loss to know how to take control of it. They do not feel they have sufficient knowledge to take the right actions and do not know where to turn to get the right support. Whilst financial capability is now on the national curriculum it is not sufficient and cannot cover the huge range of issues which young people need to grasp.

In NYA’s experience money training which young people may receive when they are aged 13 or 14 years is not enough to assist a young person aged 18 and starting work for the first time. Young people at different life stages require tailored, detailed information around specific issues. Starting a job and understanding a pay slip, national insurance, tax, pension contributions is one key stage. Moving into independent accommodation; understanding a tenancy, damage deposits, and paying rent, is another key stage.

NYA’s knowledge and insight in delivering money training to this age group supports the theory that as well as curriculum based learning, young people should be offered additional opportunities to engage in financial capability, tailored to key life events.

Our trainers tell us that young people’s knowledge of money varies hugely. Some have bank accounts and a regular income, others still get pocket money and have no concept of saving – why would they if they get just a couple of quid a week? We believe training should be outside the school environment and take account of young people’s different attitudes, background, approach.

It is vital that training equips young people with the financial skills and knowledge to navigate the landscape they currently find themselves in. Money competence is an essential life skill. A lifetime of debt can blunt even the best exam results and lead to homelessness, unemployment and breakdown. Training provides the tools for young people to make the most of their cash.

Yet what we are learning from My Money Now is that training young people in financial capability is about so much more than just polishing up their money skills. It is about supporting them to consider their future aspirations, planning who they want to be, what they want to achieve. It encourages young people to think about their lives in one, two, three years’ time. It’s truly an investment worth making.

Find out more about our work with young people and money.