Description of the programme
In this research project, West Kent Housing Association (West Kent) worked with 16-24 year-old current and prospective apprentices and trainees in Kent. The aim was to better understand their financial capability and how this might influence their choices in taking up and sustaining these opportunities. Participants were recruited and divided into three groups; two experimental groups (groups 1 and 2) who each received training, with group 1 receiving additional one to one support; and one control group for comparison (group 3). The training programme ran over a 4 to 6 week period, recruited 155 participants across 5 cohorts, and focussed on a range of money matters relevant to young people including savings, managing money day-to-day, investments, credit cards and debt management.
This is an outcome and process evaluation, exploring three central research questions:
- What elements of financial capability do current and prospective apprentices and trainees believe influence their choices in taking up and sustaining these employment opportunities?
- To what extent can we show that tailored small-group learning and one-to-one support helps this group to improve their financial capability?
- How does improved financial capability actually influence this group’s choices in taking up and sustaining employment opportunities like apprenticeships and trainee roles?
The methodology included questionnaires for both the experimental groups and the control group at certain points of intervention. The first questionnaire was distributed pre-intervention (126 responses from 155 participants), the second questionnaire was distributed immediately post intervention (90 responses), and the third questionnaire was distributed 3 months after the intervention (90 responses). Further qualitative data was gathered through pre and post intervention focus groups and ten case study interviews.
Research question 1:
- The findings suggest there is little evidence that the young people who participated in this research considered that financial capabilities influence their choices regarding taking up or sustaining employment opportunities. However, the young people did recognise that positive and pro-active financial behaviours would positively impact their overall wellbeing longer-term.
Research question 2:
- While it proved difficult to effectively engage employers and persuade them to ‘release’ young people for training, the research findings suggest that tailored small group, face-to-face learning has a positive impact on young people’s capacity to improve their financial capabilities.
- Participants who engaged in the small group training consistently reported increased pro-active behaviours in terms of managing money day-to-day, as well as managing and preparing for life events (including saving) and confidence in their knowledge and skills to engage in financial management processes and make positive financial decisions.
- Whilst engagement in financial capabilities training positively influenced the participants regarding knowledge, mindset and access to support, there was no consistent evidence within the data that the additional provision of one-to-one support significantly impacted these outcomes.
- Participants reported that they sought (or intended to seek) advice from friends and relatives; post training this expanded to include internet and online tools to find out about financial products and compare products. Furthermore, an unexpected finding highlighted how the participants sought to use their new-found knowledge to help and support their friends and family in engaging in positive financial behaviours.
Research question 3:
- Based on the findings in this research, there is little evidence that improved financial capability influenced the young peoples’ choices about whether to take up and/or sustain employment opportunities like apprenticeships and trainee roles. o The findings suggest that employment choices for young people are mostly influenced by family and friends.o Whilst the participants had a good awareness of apprenticeships, there were mixed perceptions of them.
Points to consider
Methodological limitations: The authors acknowledge that the small samples sizes in the groups make it impossible to test for statistical significance.
Relevance: This report is relevant to all stakeholders and policymakers with an interest in financial education schemes among young adults, and particularly those looking to commission or facilitate interventions among potential recruits to young apprenticeships or training schemes.
Generalisability/ transferability: The research, while thorough, is based on small numbers in one geographic region of the United Kingdom. Combined with the lack of statistical testing, its findings cannot be readily generalised to the rest of the UK without further research.
Working with 16-24 year old current and potential apprentices and trainees - full report