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Young people shaping how we teach personal finance

Young people are at the heart of our charity and it's important that their voices are heard. That's why we held a youth focus group session on 9 July 2022, to help us improve how we teach personal finance on our WYZ Money course.

We welcomed 15 young people who volunteered their time on a Saturday morning. We ran a highly interactive session where the group shared ideas about hot finance topics and, importantly, how they want to learn. The group was made up of young people from a range of age groups, ethnic and social backgrounds. This was an excellent opportunity for young people to develop communication, collaboration and leadership skills.

Insights to shape finance education

We encouraged honest feedback on a number of topics and all suggestions were welcome. To preserve the anonymity of the contributors, we have removed names from quotes.

"In school, we get lots of tests, which just encourages us to memorise things. To really learn, we need to apply our knowledge to real-life situations." - Student

Young people shared their views on a wide range of areas - from the types of teacher, which re-confirmed that ethnic representation on screen is key, to how the course can be tailored to support various educational needs. We heard from young people about what's working in schools and what isn't - and where our course is plugging a vital educational gap.

"It's important for me that I'm taught by someone I can relate to. If I see someone that looks like me, I feel like they'll understand some stereotypes I face. That's helpful." - Student

We also explored why personal finance was an important topic and whether the group felt it should be part of the mainstream curriculum. The unanimous view was that personal finance is critical and it's never too early to start learning.

"It's important for us to learn about personal finance early, so we can prepare for the future. I like how WYZ Money also helps us to recap what we've learnt along the way."

Developing young people to become leaders

We strive to provide development opportunities for young people in all that we do. Our focus group was no different, as young people worked collaboratively to reach the same goal. They also developed communication skills when they explained their point of view - or in some cases, engaged in healthy debate with someone with a different perspective. Some young people were also persuaded to reach different viewpoints, because of the strength of others' arguments! The group also developed the skill of networking with their peers, which will pay dividends in their future careers.

"The discussion was great and it was nice to meet new people. I'd love to be part of any other Open Palm opportunities." (Student)

We're really proud of our young people, who have now gained excellent experience to add to their budding CVs.

As always, we couldn't have delivered the focus group without the planning and coordination of our volunteers. Huge thanks to all who supported.

If you'd like to get involved in upcoming opportunities, you can join our mailing list or volunteer with us.

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