From education to employment

Wealthify enlists TikTok stars in schools campaign to engage young people with money skills

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  • Wealthify partners with two social media influencers and financial education charity, Young Enterprise, to launch an innovative schools campaign to combat low financial literacy levels
  • Until 2029, more than 6 million UK children will gain access to a government-funded Child Trust Fund — worth an average £2,100 when they turn 18
  • But young people (16 to 18-year-olds) have the lowest level of financial understanding of any UK age group, with more than half not having heard of a Child Trust Fund
  • Teachers say a lack of time and resources means they can’t cover financial education topics in class, despite it being on the secondary education national curriculum for nearly ten years
  • Future Skills is a comprehensive pack of free educational resources for teachers of 16 to 18-year-olds, designed with input from teachers

Digital investment platform, Wealthify, is today launching a groundbreaking campaign aimed at tackling low financial literacy levels in young people.  Partnering with financial and enterprise education charity, Young Enterprise, Future Skills provides free resources to help teachers equip 16 to 18-year-olds with essential money skills, just as they approach financial independence.

In what the charity say is a first for them, the campaign enlists the help of viral TikTok sensations, Kyron Hamilton and Maddie Grace Jepson (who co-star in the four-part educational video series), and is designed specially to engage young people with financial education topics. The campaign has been launched in response to findings from Wealthify’s research with independent think tank, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The research, which benchmarked UK financial literacy levels, found that young people (aged 16-18) were only able to answer 20% of the questions about everyday finance.

The campaign is also deliberately timed to coincide with the maturation of Child Trust Funds.  Over the next seven years, more than 6 million UK children will gain access to a government-funded Child Trust Fund (CTF) — worth an average of £2,100 when they turn 18. However, less than half of children aged 16-18 (49%) are aware of CTFs, with the Public Accounts Committee estimating that £1.7bn’s worth currently remains unclaimed. 

Andy Russell, CEO of Wealthify comments:

Child Trust Funds create a unique opportunity to motivate young people to learn about money and we have to grab it with both hands.Financial literacy levels in this country are too low, and it’s affecting people’s long-term financial health.As a father of three, I believe we have a responsibility to use this moment to equip the next generation with the knowledge and confidence to form healthy money habits that can last them a lifetime.”

Time-poor teachers

While developing Future Skills, Wealthify and Young Enterprise surveyed and interviewed over 100 UK teachers of 16 to 18-year-olds to understand the barriers they face in teaching financial education. The key issues flagged by teachers were lack of time and resources, and a low level of understanding of most financial education topics amongst students — including with basics such as budgeting, saving, credit, and banking. Teachers also said they lack confidence helping young people plan for the future (65%), delivering engaging financial education activities (69%), and teaching responsible attitudes to saving (69%).

One sixth form teacher from the North-West in testing the resources, said:

The [Future Skills] resources have been really helpful because I didn’t even know about all this money that students can get their hands on, so it’s been really good to tell them about it. The majority of the parents at schools haven’t got a clue about any of this… most of our kids come from deprived areas, so the fact that they might be able to have access to some money is really, really good.

A once-in-a-generation opportunity

Launched by the Labour government in 2005, Child Trust Funds were opened for every child born in the UK between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.  The first children eligible to claim a CTF turned 18 in September 2020, and many thousands more will do so over the next seven years.  The average CTF is worth £2,100.

However, awareness is very low, with 1.3 million* (58%) 16 to 18-year-olds saying they don’t know how to claim theirs — and 1 in 4 (25%) describing their understanding of the eligibility criteria as ‘poor’. Similarly, fewer than 1 in 5 (15%) teachers have taught students about Child Trust Funds, and there was uncertainty amongst most teachers about the importance of the topic (65%).

The Future Skills teaching resources lead with Child Trust Funds, with Kyron and Maddie explaining to young people what they are and how to apply.  The aim is to use the CTF as a moment to encourage young people to actively engage with their finances by thinking about what they might do with that money once it’s in their hand. A prize draw (one running each term and worth the same as the average CTF) has also been launched by Wealthify to ensure all children – including those not eligible for a CTF because of where they were born – have a chance to get their hands on some money to kickstart their financial independence.

Sharon Davies, CEO of Young Enterprise, said:

The money in a Child Trust Fund has the potential to be life-changing and the lack of knowledge about them does reveal the importance of financial education and financial planning from a young age. The money can be utilised in various ways, such as investing in an adult ISA, funding driving lessons, education or even starting a business.

“That’s why Young Enterprise, in collaboration with Wealthify, is proud to announce the launch of free tools to help teachers educate their students. These resources are specifically for young people to understand Child Trust Funds, and how they could make best use of them for their future. Through education and guidance on CTFs, our goal is to make money relevant and empower young individuals to make informed financial decisions.”

A National Financial Quotient

Building on their work with CEBR to create a national financial literacy benchmark, Wealthify is now looking for ways to expand the Future Skills campaign to have a lasting positive impact on young people’s access to financial education.

Andrew Russell, CEO of Wealthify adds:

Despite financial education being on the secondary school national curriculum for nearly ten years, too many teachers are telling us that they don’t have the time or resources to teach it — and many young people leave education without the essential money skills they need.  We’d like to see adoption of a national benchmark – similar to IQ – to monitor improvements in financial literacy over time; perhaps an FQ?  If business and government work together to increase access to high quality financial education –and we jump on the opportunity created by Child Trust Funds – then we have a real chance to close the financial literacy gap for the next generation of young adults.” 

Secondary teacher in Maths from London said:

“It’s really engaging. I certainly learned a lot from it, given that I didn’t even know what a Child Trust Fund was initially. I like that the two presenters are relatable people from popular social media channels. My students were excited about having this pot of money that they never knew they had, and they could access it and it’s all free. So, they found it really informative in terms of how to do that.”

The comprehensive teaching materials are video-led, with accompanying PowerPoints, lesson plans, worksheets, and digital activities for the students to complete. All can be accessed via the Future Skills hub: find here.

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