It’s one of the great conundrums facing the insurance industry – how to get more young people interested. For the most part, discussion centres on attracting young workers to a sector often viewed as dull and “unsexy” – but beyond that lies a need to educate young people about personal finance in general, ensuring they make better decisions that could influence not only their careers but also their personal futures.
‘My Professional Finance Skills’ is a pro-bono initiative aimed at delivering financial education and awareness workshops to schools across the UK. The Personal Finance Society is set to deliver twice as many sessions across the country in 2020 as it did in 2019 and is looking for CII members to help them achieve this goal. In the 2020/21 academic year, PFS organised 500 sessions across the UK and aims to continue to change how students understand and interact with money and personal finance.
Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS and managing director of engagement for the CII, detailed how outreach activities had limited impact and reach in the past due to their emphasis on raising the profile of the insurance and personal finance professions. So, the idea of developing a fully-fledged pro-bono initiative aimed not just at highlighting career opportunities but also delivering financial education workshops across the UK came about.
“By not solely focusing on a career but financial education, the initiative is able to transform how students understand money and other areas of personal finance that are rarely covered in detail at school, including the growing problem of scams via social media,” he explained.
Richards detailed how, due to the demise of insurance salesforces, many young people have never actually met a financial advisor or insurance professional face-to-face.
“My Personal Finance Skills allows students to engage with a profession they might not have ever considered and join up with the importance of protecting against potential risks,” he said. “The delivery of the programme also helps schools fulfil some of the Gatsby benchmarking criteria with regards to career provision.”
The success of these workshops in helping students understand the importance of financial planning, he said, is why the next logical step is for CII members to become ambassadors for incorporating ‘discover risk’ into this education programme.
The CII created the Discover Risk game, he outlined, and CII members are invited to sign up as education ambassadors to help educate young people about how insurance is integral to good financial planning.
Chartered financial planner, Hazel Bowen, who has volunteered with the initiative, said it was enjoyable to deliver the sessions themselves and to see students learning new information that will help them in the future.
“It is also great,” she said, “to promote our profession and encourage youngsters to get a taste of the job we do and hopefully inspire some to consider financial planning as a career.”
Financial planner Tilly Quiqley said: “The students were really interactive and interested and engaged in the topic. I found it interesting that even the teachers were shocked at some of the information in the presentations.”
This academic year, more than 750 PFS members signed up to be ambassadors, and more than 250 sessions will be delivered to 7,500 pupils. Richards encouraged any CII members who have not signed up to do so.
He stated that this initiative is an opportunity to give back to the local community and positively influence the perception of the profession with the public and policymakers. ‘Educating Champions’ can positively impact a child’s future, he said, whether through career aspiration or improving understanding of key areas of personal finance and risk.