Evaluation Scotland Wales
The UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing is taking forward the work of the Financial Capability Strategy Opens in a new window


Money Smart / Arian Smart

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The project was run by Youth Cymru working in partnership with vocational training providers ITEC , ACT Training and Educ8. 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 becoming more financially capable.

The results of this consultation informed the creation of a new, bilingual (English and Welsh) financial capability toolkit for young people. The young apprentices named this Money Smart/Arian Smart.

The target group for delivery of the toolkit included young, vulnerable, marginalised individuals who had often failed to engage meaningfully with financial 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 overcome these and delivering an intervention using a peer or near to peer delivery approach.

The study

The project initially planned to use a randomised control trial (RCT) to better understand the impact on individual’s financial capability from delivery of the toolkit. This would have involved a peer education approach compared to tutor-led delivery, as well as a group with no intervention. However, practicalities meant this was not possible, so the extent to which peer to peer approaches can enhance financial capability among young adults was compared with more traditional tutor led methods.

An external evaluator (Clearview Research) 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.

The Money Smart Project was delivered to 180 young people throughout Wales in 2017. Clearview Research processed the evaluation packs that included 70 tutor-based delivery participants and 83 peer-to-peer-based delivery participants and using a random selection formula deleted 33 entries (10 from tutor group and 23 from the peer-to-peer group) to have 60 from each group and 120 in total for the purposes of the evaluation.

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

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. However the effectiveness of this approach relies heavily on a number of factors. 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 peer’s 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:

  • Adult tutors have key skills, experiences and abilities needed for appropriate behaviour management required to successfully manage the learning and engagement of 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 feel 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. However, due to relatively small numbers (60 in each group) and in some instances very small measured changes, the findings expressed as percentages are not reproduced here.

Points to consider

Methodological limitations:

  • While the report makes mention of a control group of ‘different types of trainers’ (i.e. a quasi-experimental approach), there is no control group to benchmark the observed changes against (i.e. a group where there was no intervention).
  • The evaluation method was changed as there were difficulties in identifying a control group for an RCT from within this setting.

Generalisability/ transferability:

  • The numbers of responses collected from surveys and feedback forms are relatively small, and in some cases the measured change is also minimal. Therefore, the quantitative results should be used with extreme caution for informing future interventions.· This research was only undertaken in Wales, not in the rest of the UK.


  • This report is relevant to all stakeholders and policymakers with an interest in evaluating financial education programmes among young people.

Key info

Client group
Programme delivered by
Youth Cymru
Year of publication
Contact information

Julia Griffiths, [email protected]