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Money Smart / Arain Smart

Evidence type: Evaluation

Description of the programme

[This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the evaluation report. Further amendments may be made to this Summary, pending review by the Evidence Hub partner]

The project was run by Youth Cymru working in partnership with vocational training providers ITEC , ACT Training and Educ8.  Funded by the Money Advice Service What Works Fund, it ran between April 2017 and March 2018 and worked with young adults aged 16 – 24 who were accessing vocational training centres and in transition to independent living.

The project employed three young adults as youth work apprentices and supported them to become peer educators. They undertook consultation with 200 of their peers to explore the barriers young adults face in behaving with financial capability.

The results of this consultation informed the creation of a new youth-shaped, bilingual financial capability toolkit. The young apprentices named this Money Smart/Arain Smart. This toolkit was delivered over a 3 month period to 120 young adults at ITEC centres in Cardiff, Blackwood, Cwmbran and Llwynypia, ACT Training Centres in Caerphilly, Cardiff and Swansea, and Educ8 in Ystrad Mynach.

The target group for delivery of the toolkit included young vulnerable, marginalised individuals who had often failed to engage meaningfully with financial literacy education and experienced barriers in translating financial education into financially capable behaviours. The project aimed to address this by identifying the barriers they experienced, developing a resource to directly address these and delivering an intervention using a peer or near to peer delivery approach.

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The study

The project initially planned to use a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) approach which, sought to better understand the impact on financial capability of three sessions delivered from the toolkit, using a peer/near to peer approach compared with a tutor/ adult delivery and also a no delivery. However, practical issues meant that the planned RCT changed to a quasi-experimental comparison group design that set out to explore the extent to which a peer to peer delivery method can enhance outcomes for young adults as compared to a tutor/adult delivery method. An external evaluator Clearview Research (Clearview,2018) was recruited to advise and provide expert support with the evaluation design, methods and resources as well as providing in-depth analysis of all data collected.

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What are the outcomes?

Intended outcomes were that young adults:

  • understand and acknowledge their barriers to financial capability
  • have a changed mindset towards financial capability
  • understand their reasons for financial capability
  • have more self-control and hopefulness
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Key findings

The main findings of the evaluation indicate that peer or near to peer financial capability education does support and impact on the mindset of young adults who are transitioning to independent living “to some extent”, however the effectiveness of this approach relies heavily on a number of factors that impact on how the education is delivered. These include a requirement for support and training inputs including:

  • An appropriate level of training and support to ensure peer educators can present, train and facilitate the learning of their peers confidently and competently, managing behaviour and engagement.
  • An appropriate level of training and financial literacy education for the peer educators, providing them with comprehensive skills and knowledge to enable and facilitate their peers learning. 
  • Ongoing personal and at times emotional support for the peer educators that recognises their own individual challenging circumstances ensuring their engagement, motivation and consistency of delivery.

It was also found that a tutor delivery approach could, in this context, be more effective in addressing the financial capability education of this target group. The success of this relies on:

  • Adult tutors having key skills, experiences and abilities needed for appropriate behaviour management required to successfully manage the learning and engagement of a challenging groups of young adults.
  • Adult tutors have more experience and contextual knowledge, which they can draw on allowing for more insightful input into the application of the resources during delivery.
  • Young adult participants feeling more confident in the validity of the information when delivered to by adult tutor.

The evaluation also found that the toolkit was effective in impacting on the knowledge and confidence of the young people in both groups.

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Points to consider

  • The evaluation method as indicated was changed as the rigour of a RCT could not be met with the parameters of the vocational training settings. There were difficulties in identifying a representative no intervention group from within this setting.
  • The project took place within a very specific context and transferring the result to varied different settings beyond this would be inappropriate. 
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Full report

Money Smart / Arain Smart - full report