“Really enjoyed it. Students were very excited by the day, we felt very privileged to have had so much input from so many interesting members of your company. I am sure the rest of the programme will be a huge success and look forward to maintaining contact.” Melanie Mortimer, Teacher at Lister Community School
RedSTART, the Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship programme for young people, started on 19th December 2012. This ambitious programme aims to, eventually, provide free financial education to all under 25 year olds in the U.K. On this first day, a class of sixteen 12-13 year old students from Lister Community School, Newham, visited our offices at Redington for a full education day.
Before the day I had the preconception that the young students aged only 12-13 would be light-hearted and optimistic. But surprisingly to me, when asked: “what do you think you might want to save money for?”, one of the first answers to come back was: “a funeral”! And although they seemed interested in the potential growth and risks when investing in assets, the lesson that really captured their imagination was on personal liability and financial risks. The consequences of not managing personal finances and the potential of losing personal wealth captured their attention more than potential returns from growth assets. In RedSTART, the last thing we want to do is scaremonger; however, we do want to demonstrate the need for sound financial planning for a secure future. Perhaps those who took on sub-prime mortgages would have thought twice if they had been given such education.
One successful day with a class from Newham is a drop in the ocean in addressing the dearth in financial literacy in the UK: so what now for RedSTART? Over the next year, we plan to roll out similar education days to other schools in London. Our partners at ELBA, the East London Business Alliance, are liaising with schools in the East London area so that we can do at least one education day each month in 2013. Currently, we have enthusiastic volunteers from the Redington workforce teaching the students. However, as the programme grows and gathers momentum, more educators will be needed. Using the RedSTART framework and contacts we are currently making, we expect that the education days will be taken on and taught by other organisations so as to scale and grow the scheme. An important aspect of RedSTART is the continuation of learning. We are now building a website where students will be able to access learning materials so that the education days are not just a one-off event.
All in all, we have had a great start but there’s still a long way to go to becoming a widespread scheme. We are excited about developing RedSTART and to quote Steve Jobs, we are committed to making “a ding in the universe”. Ready or not, RedSTART is coming!
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