Financial literacy is essential for success in life and young people who are not equipped with the tools to tackle financial challenges are at a disadvantage. Knowledge is the best tool to help young people think about their future and align their financial savvy with their aspirations.
Using our connections with schools and colleges in the city to find young people that want to help us break this cycle, we're going to pilot a hands-on money management bootcamp that will demonstrate the long term benefits of decisions they can start making now. We'll be covering things such as:
- Student finance
- Avoiding credit card debt
- Renting vs Mortgaging
- The value of pension contributions
- Gambling vs Investing
- Future authoring
Young people often struggle with envisaging a long-term plan for their future, and this often manifests itself in low ambitions for futures stuck in minimum wage positions for extended periods of time. By working with young people to discuss their goals for the future, we'll work backwards with them to figure out what actions they can take now to help them get that fancy car in a few years time, or get the latest phone and pair of trainers without running the risk of having the bank turning up knocking on their door!
Typically we work with young people between the ages of 16 to 18 and support their development in this time, helping them develop all sorts of skills that help them take their next steps and putting them in the best position possible for that job or university interview to help them get to where they want to be.
This project will equip the participants with a set of long-term skills that they can use alongside everything else we offer to help put them in a position where they can continue making a positive difference to their communities beyond their time with us, rather than falling into the 9-5 grind and having their aspirations and hopes worn down as happens to so many people. The potential legacy of this project is immeasurably huge!
Element Society helps young people achieve the unbelievable by running programmes that make young people feel inspired, included and that their prospects have been improved. Our work is led by young people in the city, and many of our ongoing projects have come directly from ideas that young people have come to us with. Current work we're doing includes:
- Facilitating young person-lead workshops to help young people support each other with their mental health.
- A support/community group for young women to help break walls and open doors to new career opportunities.
- Employability sessions to help stop young people from falling into long-term unemployment after leaving education.
- Social action projects run by young people that encourage each other to stop the spread of Covid-19 by continuing to wear masks and keeping their social distance.
- Running workshops that help people recognise the signs of child exploitation and signpost people to the relevant places.
Since we started up in 2013, over 4,200 young people in Sheffield have done one of our programmes, contributing over 180,000 hours of volunteering work to the benefit of the city and people in it.
Since the start of the pandemic, we've still managed to support over 125 young people in a face to face, Covid-safe environment, and have worked in collaboration with Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday Community Foundations to deliver virtual workshops that have helped over 1,000 school leavers prepare for life in further education and beyond.
Many of our projects start off as small-scale pilots like this and grow naturally through the enthusiasm of the participants by becoming an attractive proposition to funders, so getting funding for the initial start-up costs for these initiatives is absolutely crucial!