The provision of financial education to young people in Scotland received a massive boost this month as OSCR approved the transfer of Stewart Ivory Financial Education Trust's (SIFET's) assets and activities to Young Enterprise Scotland (YE Scotland), signalling an expansion of financial education throughout Scottish schools.
Set up in 2003 as part of the Stewart Ivory Foundation to promote financial awareness and understanding in school leavers, SIFET's programme reaches over 18,500 students across every local authority in Scotland annually. In 2020, the Trust concluded that to meet the growing needs of a larger cohort of young people, it needed to pass on its expertise to an organisation with greater resources and chose YE Scotland. Once the transfer is complete, SIFET will cease to operate.
The move will see YE Scotland take on the delivery of SIFET's programmes to s6 pupils across more than 250 schools, supported by SIFET's financial education officers who will operate under the YE Scotland banner. In addition, YE Scotland will receive around £500,000 of SIFET assets which will be used to continue and extend the provision of financial education to young people throughout Scotland. It is proposed that the SIFET offering will be integrated with YE Scotland's own financial education and enterprise programmes stretching from primary through to secondary schools and college students.
The combination of resources, which will create one of the strongest networks for the delivery of financial education to young people, comes as Scotland looks to stimulate significant change in the education system and all policy makers across the UK are being urged to introduce the teaching of basic money skills in primary schools.
In evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People, which reported earlier this year, more than half of UK teenagers have struggled with debt before their seventeenth birthday, with 67% of young people lacking the confidence to plan their financial future.
Those leaving school without an effective financial education are at high risk of financial abuse, fraud and debt from an early age, while the COVID-19 pandemic has also multiplied the economic pressures on young people, with 6 in 10 young people say COVID-19 has made them feel more anxious about money .
For YE Scotland, Scotland's leading provider of enterprise education, the transfer of assets is an opportunity to extend its reach whilst embedding the SIFET activity in its own 'ladder of enterprise' via Scotland's Financial Schools (SFS). This connects financial education with the wider delivery of practical life skills and entrepreneurial teaching, as well as in collaboration with its extensive public and private sector partners.
This is a game changer for financial education for young people. The SIFET resources and depth of reach add significant value to our portfolio of resources. The prospect now exists to implement a new blended financial education model of delivery that ensures that financial education interventions are not delivered in isolation but through a more holistic approach that achieves a greater impact in the longer term.
In Scottish schools, we will now have the opportunity to draw on a greater reserve of financial expertise along with SIFET's respected connections with teachers to build out our programmes, including the Circular Economy Challenge for primary schools, the flagship Company Programme in secondary schools and our Bridge 2 Business programme for colleges.
We are very proud of what SIFET has achieved since its inception in 2003 and its reach and success have been remarkable for a small organisation. This has largely been due to the generosity of our donors including in particular in recent years, Stewart Investors.
The transfer to YE Scotland will now take the provision of financial education to young people across Scotland to a different level. YE Scotland's plans for the expansion and enhancement of SIFET's activities through integration with its own well-established and respected programmes are very exciting. This transaction comes at a time when financial education for young people has never been more badly needed and it presents a fantastic opportunity to combine resources to make a greater impact
Our Vision is for Scotland to be a place where all young people are given the opportunity to have a rewarding future in work and life - no matter where they start their journey.
Our Mission is to inspire and equip young people, irrespective of their background, to learn, develop and reach their full potential through enterprise education.
In everything that we do, we will work with the following values: Integrity, Enthusiasm, Creativity & Collaboration.
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