Entering the world of work and dealing with money can be a daunting prospect. Budgeting, saving, renting, mortgages, pension plans, student loans – the subject of finance can be a scary one. Often, it’s an unknown subject for many young people leaving the education system and taking their first steps towards independence.
Since 2012 we have been sponsoring WizeUp – a not-for-profit organisation which aims to prepare pupils approaching school leaving age for life outside education by teaching them essential skills needed for managing personal finances.
The sessions, led by financial education expert and former City banker Ed Flack, take place mostly in schools, sixth form centres and colleges and cover everything from budgeting and credit ratings to taxation and flat sharing.
Ed’s invaluable knowledge has been passed on to hundreds of local students since we first became involved. And our association has not stopped there – we have introduced WizeUp to other building societies like us and Ed is actively delivering sessions to students across England and Wales as a result.
As the sessions continue, so too do the positive comments from both the schools and students…
John Redmond, vice principal at Sir Frank Whittle Studio School in Lutterworth, said:
“Ed was superb at making all the topics covered engaging and students sent us emails afterwards saying things like ‘the speech was useful in terms of financially how much companies rely on credit ratings and how much going to university can affect you financially’ and ‘I found this really useful and have learned many new things’.
“I am very grateful to Hinckley & Rugby Building Society for this support as school budgets are tight and Ed’s work was of the highest standard.”
WizeUp’s visits to Dorothy Goodman School in Hinckley, for children with learning difficulties, went the extra mile with a practical visit to our Castle Street branch, with many of the pupils using an ATM for the first time on the way and having the chance to practise opening an account.
Joanne Linwood, senior life skills teacher at Dorothy Goodman School, said:
“The students had a truly fabulous day. They all learnt that you have to earn money before you can take it out and, for most of them, this was the first time they had ever used a cash card at an ATM or learnt how to open a building society account.”
In addition to WizeUp, the Society has also formed a partnership with Citizens Advice Leicestershire to deliver a financial advice project at local schools and colleges.
In April 2018 we sponsored a two-day Money Matters event at South Wigston College, aimed at preventing debt and its devastating effects by providing young people with the skills needed to make good financial decisions. This was followed by a second session at Stephenson College in January 2019.
As well as sponsoring the event, two members of our senior branch staff delivered a session at South Wigston on the importance of saving and achieving financial balance to the day’s lessons.
Margaret Brough, diversity hub trainer at Citizens Advice Leicestershire, said:
“The programme is an early intervention model that takes a holistic approach to money matters.
“The programme will help build confidence and increase self-esteem so that young people believe they can make a difference for themselves and others in their communities. Our thanks go to Hinckley & Rugby Building Society for its support.”
In 2017, our financial risk manager Rebecca Griffin attended Lawrence Sheriff School in Rugby to lead a presentation to accountancy students who are preparing for their first steps into the world of work.
During the 45-minute presentation Rebecca talked about further study options for the pupils as well as drawing on her own personal experiences and career path, providing an insight into the decisions and challenges the students could face in the future.
Following the session Rebecca commented:
“The pupils all seemed really engaged and asked lots of questions, which was great.
“I hope I’ve provided them with some knowledgeable insight and information which will be of some help to them as they prepare for the world of work.”
A careers day at a Nuneaton secondary school in January 2017 proved to be an eye-opener for pupils as they thought about the direction to take once they leave school.
Three senior managers from our Principal Office visited Nuneaton Academy and set tasks for the pupils to work on in groups, before presenting the results to their peers.
Sally Chapman, the organising teacher at the school, said:
“The visit went very well and has encouraged students to think about life and careers outside of school.”
Sally added that there had been some very positive feedback from the students, with one saying:
“It was a good experience to have and I can use the skills learnt in my career.”
Our managers also seemed to get a lot out of the session too, with people development Manager Sam Roberts commenting:
“I really enjoyed the experience – it felt like we were giving them some knowledge about life outside of school.”