Description of the programme
The aim of the LMA project was to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of 200 youth practitioners to deliver financial capability support to young people (aged 16-24) that are facing transitions such as moving to independent living, employment, education or university. LMA consists of two days training and a post course written assignment. Online resources were also available and included a dedicated website, case studies and tools. The course was co-designed with youth practitioners in an attempt to make the training more useful and effective.
LMA builds on the learning from a similar training developed as part of the Money for Life project, which develops the financial capability skills of community workers to support people they work with and provides them with an accredited qualification.
This study aimed to understand whether co-creation of course design with youth practitioners improves their knowledge, skills and confidence in delivering financial capability support. It also looks at the impact this support has on developing a young person’s financial capability when they are facing transition. It is hoped that this will help practitioners design future training and better understand challenges faced by young people.
The core research question for the study was: ‘To what extent do financial capability resources and accredited training for youth practitioners, co-created with young adults and youth practitioners, help support young people to manage their finances and make effective financial decisions at key transition points, such as starting work or living independently?’
- 200 practitioners took part in the training; of whom 167 achieved accreditation.
- Practitioners believed that the programme was improved by being co-created with practitioners and young people, and that this improved their own confidence and practice.
- LMA improved the confidence of youth practitioners to deliver financial capability support and enabled them to apply pre-held skills and knowledge.
- Although used by less than half of practitioners, the online resources were useful in work with young people and will continue to be used.
- Resources and materials reflecting different types of young people and the challenges they face, such as being on benefits and facing multiple transitions in a short space of time, would be useful for future courses.
- Building the skills, knowledge and confidence of youth practitioners to deliver financial capability support is reported by practitioners to have had a positive impact on the financial capability of the young people they work with. Practitioners reported that knowledge and confidence was key to enabling them to deliver information and support suited to young people’s specific needs.
- Practitioners are key to providing the Money Advice Service (MAS)/What Works aim of connection to financial products and services for young people. Practitioner support is most effective when using different tools and techniques to build young people’s ability, based on their needs and circumstances.
- LMA has helped practitioners improve the money management skills of young people. However, a young person’s planning for future life events relies on them personally being able to increase their income and/or reduce their spending as well as improve their motivation to make change.
- Practitioners attribute positive change in young people to their own improved confidence.
Points to consider
- No control group was used. It was felt that to measure a practitioner group not involved in the programme would have been too much work.
- Practitioners were able to choose which young person to work with to report on the outcomes of their work, which may indicate selection bias. This may have resulted only in young people who had had a positive experience being selected.
- Practitioners were also asked to make judgements on their own improvement as well as that of the young person, which could have resulted in more positive recording of outcomes through optimism bias.
- The timescale of measurement was very short, while changes in financial capability should ideally be measured over time.
- Limitations in the methodology above should result in caution when generalising from these results.
Evaluation of Life, Money, Action! for Money Advice Service - full report