We got chatting to two pupils taking part in an all-day Money Twist workshop at London Nautical School, Lambeth, covering everything from budgeting to bank accounts.
Marking the midway point in MyBnk’s major financial literacy study in Lambeth, backed by JP Morgan and University of Oxford Consultancy, this was a big day – and the perfect opportunity to reflect on the progress made since the one-year study was launched.
Thirteen-year-old Billy Thompson and Adam Alhmamda were only too keen to share their thoughts on the session and their aspirations for the future.
He already has an account, but says he didn’t know how banks worked before the session.
“I knew the gist of banking and saving,” says Adam. “But the workshop really went into all the details – ethical policies, interest rates… The kind of things you wouldn’t focus on usually.”
When he leaves school, Adam would like to go to university and train to be a lawyer with his own place and he’s prepared to start saving now to help make that a reality.
“I think it will be quite expensive, but I’m confident I’ll find a way to cover the cost,” he says. “MyBnk has shown me how to manage my money responsibly and I feel equipped to deal with money in the future.”
Billy, on the other hand, has got his heart set on following in his father’s footsteps to train to be an electrician. He said the workshop gave him lots of useful information that would help him as he grows up.
“I learnt loads about savings, pensions and how taxes pay for public services like the NHS,” he tells us.
Currently he spends his pocket money on snacks and McDonald’s meals and doesn’t have a bank account. “I was surprised to hear about interest, overdrafts and how banks make a profit,” he admits.
Billy says he now feels confident about dealing with money and plans to budget and save more regularly to achieve his dreams for the future.
At this stage in our borough-wide study, it’s all too easy to focus on the facts and figures: 340 hours spent delivering 100 financial education workshops in 15 secondary schools and other institutions, and 5 microfinance banking schemes launched, reaching nearly 5,000 young people.
But while the stats tell us it’s all plain sailing, what really brings home the impact of our work is what the young people themselves are saying – and so far, they’re telling us it’s full steam ahead.