Our News

13 November 2012

Learning to Manage Money: a Westminster Reception

Cardiff and Vale College Student Financial Support Manager Felix McLaughlin has explained how the College helps students take control of their own finances at an important reception in Westminster.

Felix was speaking as part of the Money for Life programme. The UK-wide programme is supported by Lloyds Banking Group and coordinated in Wales by ColegauCymru / CollegesWales in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).  It aims to develop vital money management skills in trainers as well as learners across the further education (FE) sector, including colleges, work based learning providers and a wide range of organisations that are rooted in their local communities.

At the reception in Westminster, Felix spoke of his passion for helping college students take control of their own finances. Having worked in the private financial services sector before moving to Cardiff and Vale College, he was shocked to discover a long line of students beating a path to his door who were desperately in need of financial support.

Surprised to learn of some students’ inability to budget, understand financial jargon, and their lack of confidence with managing money, he felt compelled to help.  First, he undertook the two professional development courses offered by the Money for Life programme, Teach Me and Teach Others.  Then, he started delivering Financial Capability sessions in tutorial sessions and organised drop in appointments with Money Advice Service (part of Citizens Advice Bureau).

The next step has been to work with departments in the College to introduce legal clinics to

complement the CAB clinics. The clinics will be organised in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and local law firms Thomas Simon, Darwin Gray and STTEPS, an information and support service for young people and families who are at risk of becoming homeless. The Pro Bono Partnership – named after the practice where law firms offer their services free of charge “for the public good” was launched earlier in November.

Also addressing a host of MPs and invited guests at the Westminster reception was 16 year old Paige Sparrow. From being “not very good with maths” and a person who was intimidated by authority and public attention, Paige attributes her new-found confidence, money skills and public speaking ability to the Money for Life Challenge. 

The Challenge is a competition that aims to find successful and innovative ways to improve the money management skills of learners, their friends, families and communities.  Paige was a member of the “Don’t Buy Posh, Save Your Dosh” team from ACT Bridgend that won first the Wales final and then the UK Grand Final, which was held in London earlier this year.

ColegauCymru’s Julia Owens, the Money for Life coordinator for Wales, said: “The Money for Life programme provides opportunities for those working with young people and the learners themselves to gain confidence and vital skills.  I am delighted that financial literacy is now being recognised as an essential skill and that we in Wales are making full use of the Money for Life programme and the support of Lloyds Banking Group.”