Thousands of students benefit from specialized finance classes

Esther Klijn & Abi-Gayle Fearon with St. Bernard students Reece Wright-McDonald, Ciava Walsh and Harvey Aitken

Secondary school students across the Furness Peninsula received a lifelong lesson in finance when members of a local accounting firm’s team stopped by.

JF Hornby & Co agreed earlier this year to be a supply partner for the Furness Education and Skills Partnership’s Build My Skills initiative.

The accounting firm’s team just completed a tour of the area’s secondary schools, where they spent three weeks speaking to hundreds of 10th graders.

The sessions were held by Accounting Assistant Esther Klijn, Accounting Manager Paula Boyd, Accounting Assistant Catherine Steur and Chief Accounting Assistant Abi-Gayle Fearon.

Esther said: “It has been great to be able to speak to the young people in so many schools and give them insight into how they need to control their personal finances as they leave school and begin their journey into adulthood.

“There is so much to consider when it comes to savings, salaries, bills and stewardship of money, and as the leading accounting firm in the region we see it as our responsibility to provide young people with the knowledge they need .”

Earlier this year, new data showed many young people are struggling to manage their finances.

The number of people seeking help with debt service (including current accounts) rose by 205 percent from 951 in 2016/17 to 2,899 in 2020/21.

Figures show that in the last five years alone, the number of requests for help from 16 to 24 year olds received by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has more than tripled.

JF Hornby & Co Managing Director Paul Hornby said: “Financial literacy is so important. The meetings that we have held will not solve the very real problems related to young people and finance. But they will start the conversation and encourage them to think about money management.

“We believe that the key to young adults having a positive relationship with their finances is to provide them with insight and support before they enter the world of further education, training or employment.

“This is just the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and productive partnership with FESP and the Build My Skills initiative.”

The Build My Skills program includes more than 20 schools. Sessions are held throughout the school year, covering a variety of areas to equip and inspire young people. Other companies involved are BAE Systems, 32West, Oxley Developments, the NHS, GSK, Cumbria Council Police, Barrow Raiders and Barrow AFC.

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