The Minister for Education and Children has highlighted the value of Junior Achievement Isle of Man (JA IoM) in preparing young people for entering work and managing their finances.
Graham Cregeen MHK was speaking as a study of the impact of JA IoM’s work with schools was published.
A Manx charity that’s part of a global organisation, JA IoM works with primary and secondary schools to deliver programmes such as Learn to Earn, for 13 and 14-year-olds, and Get a Job and It’s All About Money, for 14 to 16-year-olds.
The Programme for Government pledges to provide young people with the skills needed to contribute to the Island’s economy and to have an education system that’s aligned to the needs of employers.
JA IoM’s impact study for the academic year 2016/17 reveals that the charity worked with 5,456 students, delivering 340 sessions, thanks to volunteers from business and commerce, who contributed 2,480 hours.
Learn to Earn encourages younger teenagers to explore career choices and understand the importance of personal qualities and behaviours in the workplace, of gaining work experience and of rates of pay.
97% of those who participated in Learn to Earn said it helped them understand the skills employers seek, 94% said they better understood the type of role they’d be suited to and 84% found an accompanying booklet on job options helpful.
Get a Job helps young people navigate recruitment. Prior to attending the programme, students were on average only 47% confident that they could put together a good CV but, at the end of the programme, were 88% confident that they could do this.
Students also felt only 42% confident writing a covering letter to a potential employer prior to the programme but were almost 80% confident afterwards. Only 27% of students felt they knew what to ask a potential employer at interview. This rose to 98% as a result of the programme.
It’s All About Money introduces young people to the essentials of budgeting, borrowing, spending, saving, tax, pensions, scams and other aspects of controlling their finances.
95% of participants said they better understood how to manage their money after attending. The average confidence level of students in understanding a bank statement rose from 64% prior to the programme to 90% afterwards. They were 66% confident in budgeting prior to taking part, and 88% afterwards. And while only 22% of students knew what a payday loan was and less than 60% knew how to identify an online scam, these rose to 93% and 99% on completion of the programme.
JA IoM also runs an enterprise challenge for nine to 11-year-olds, mock interview workshops for 14 to 16-year-olds and the Company Programme for sixth formers, who form companies and market goods and services, competing against young people from 38 countries.
Junior Achievement receives some financial support from the Government but carries out substantial additional fundraising to deliver its programmes.
Minister Cregeen said: ‘One of the roles of school is to prepare young people to be successful contributors to the Island’s economy.
‘JA IoM is invaluable in helping us to prepare young people for the world of work and teach them about the financial responsibilities and pitfalls that go with earning money.
‘The impact survey proves that after taking part in JA IoM programmes, young people feel much more confident in considering their employment options, presenting themselves to employers and managing their finances.’