The Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) has launched the School Entrepreneurs Program – a new initiative which brings brokers into the classroom to teach financial literacy and help high school students achieve future business success.
The MFAA hopes to tap into its network of more than 12,000 brokers to participate in the program at state and private schools during 2017.
A pilot program was held in 2015 at the Tumbi Umbi Campus of Tuggerah Lakes Secondary School which has also enrolled in the program for next year.
Mhairi MacLeod, founder and principal of Astute
Ability Group and creator of the program, ran the pilot at Tumbi Umbi with a mixture of 15 students from years 7 to 10. On completion of the program she reached out to the MFAA, which was was eager to conduct a full roll-out. The association launched the program last week.
“As a finance broker, I work with people of all ages. Over the years it was becoming more and more apparent that financial literacy was lacking in the younger generation,” she said.
MacLeod said the program was born after a “fortuitous” meeting with a high school commerce teacher, who told her that a financial literacy program would be of great benefit to her students.
To participate, MFAA brokers can find a range of tools on the association’s website that enable the conversation between broker and school about how to run the training program.
“They’ve got to have a connection with one of the schools,” MacLeod told Australian Broker
. “Using the tools that we have available, what they’ll be doing is looking at their own local areas, talking with the teachers in the local community and seeing who has an interest in taking up financial literacy.”
For brokers wondering how to confidently impart the proper knowledge in the classroom, McLeod gave the following tips:
- Make it real by describing the journey of your own business complete with highs and lows
- Work closely with the teachers to fit the lessons with the school curriculum at that particular point in time
- Keep it relaxed and use open forums to encourage communication between students and yourself
“It’s about engaging and making it real,” she said. “What the teachers and the students like is that they’re receiving guidance from local business leaders. They gain confidence, learn new skills and understand that business isn’t smooth – it’s about the highs and lows.”
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