Description of the programme
Move On’s Financial Capability Peer Educator Workshops aim to help disadvantaged youth in Scotland to improve vulnerable young people’s skills, attitudes and behaviour in relation to money, particularly relating to becoming financially independent. Main topics include benefits, drawbacks of moving away from the family home, budgeting, understanding priority and non-priority debt and opening/managing a bank account. Between April and December 2017, Move On delivered 21 financial capability workshops to 223 young people aged 12-18 across Edinburgh and Glasgow. Of the 21 workshops delivered, 13 were one-off workshops and 8 were part of longer, life skills programmes. Five Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) trainees (all in their early 20s) co-delivered workshops alongside a member of Move On staff during the evaluation period.
The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh (CRFR) completed an external evaluation for Move On’s programme. This included both a process evaluation and outcome evaluation in order to determine:
- The impact of the programme on CJS peer educators, aged 16 to 29;
- The impact on the financial capability awareness and knowledge of secondary school pupils ages 12 to 18;
- The effectiveness of delivering Financial Capability Workshops on a one-off basis compared to delivering workshops as part of a long-term life skills programme.
The data collection involved:
- 6 focus groups with 33 participants after attending the workshops
- 10 interviews with Move On partners (school staff or professionals from local authority or third sector organisations) who commissioned Move On to work with young people;
- 11 interviews and 1 focus group with Move On staff;
- Interviews with 5 current and 4 previous peer educators (both volunteers and paid CJS trainees);
- 223 workshop participant responses to surveys completed before (n=223), immediately after (n=200) and a few weeks after (n=95) workshops.).
- Move On’s organisational context that focuses upon homelessness and employability clearly informs the financial capabilities message that they seek to transmit to young people participating in workshops.
- Capacity to support the financial capabilities workshops is not consistent across the Glasgow and Edinburgh offices and staff / trainees would appreciate ongoing training.
- Engaging with young people who are disengaged from school and other services is a key strength of Move On’s work, emphasised by all stakeholders.
- Many peer educators felt a strong sense of commitment to Move On, and as older young people living independently, peer educators have the life circumstances required to provide evidence of opportunities for putting these skills into practice.
Knowledge, skills and attitudes
Learning retention: Young people who participated in workshops were able to identify, and provide evidence for, specific learning that they had gained, including prioritising and avoiding debt, keeping track and budgeting.
Council Tax comprehension: Young people’s awareness of council tax, and sense that it is a priority, changed slightly following the workshops. Greater change was evidenced for those who attended a longer life-skills programme (14% overall improvement) than a one-off workshop (3% overall improvement).
Confidence managing money: Far fewer participants stated that they were “not at all confident” or “not very confident” in managing their money at the end of a workshop (a drop from 24% to 8%).
Confidence communicating about money: There was a marked increase in the percentages of life skills programme participants stating they discussed financial matters with friends (39% to 61%), parents or carers (44% to 71%) and siblings (20% to 40%).
Elevated impact on peer educators: Peer educators described behavioral changes far more powerfully than workshop participants. In particular, peer educators talked about budgeting and making efforts to stay out of debt. Several peer educators believed that if they had not volunteered or worked with Move On then they would have been in debt.
Points to consider
- The CRFR research team adopted a contribution analysis approach acknowledging that interventions such as these workshops exist in a complex context of other interventions and initiatives to support young people and their financial capabilities.
- Move On’s workshops are primarily preventative and, since the evaluation took place over a tight timeframe and with no control group, it is impossible to say what choices young people would have made if they had not attended the groups.
- A decision was taken not to ask young people for their names when asking the clicker questions in order to maintain confidentiality and make it more likely that young people would answer honestly. The downside of this decision was that it is not possible to link before, after and post data with individuals, or ensure consistency among the group.
- Whle the quantitative results should be treated with caution, this evaluation provides important learning outcomes for other organisations that intend to run similar interventions.