A financial literacy program founded by Queensland broker Mhairi MacLeod has been taken up by more than 80 schools, youth and community groups in Western Australia.
The School Entrepreneurs Program — an initiative started by Astute Ability Group founder and principal Mhairi MacLeod and the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) — has so far been delivered to over 80 schools, youth and community groups in Western Australia.
The program, which has Richmond AFL player Alex Rance as an ambassador, sees finance brokers voluntarily teaching students in high school or other institutions entrepreneurial and money management skills. Some of the topics in the program include setting up a business; developing business plans; product development; marketing strategies; human resources; and strategies for profit, loss and future business direction.
“Finance brokers are ideally positioned to deliver this program due to their financial literacy and competencies as well as their business management and administration experience,” Ms MacLeod said.
“How it works is they partner with a local high school or similar institution, and then work as business advisers alongside the teachers, helping students develop, launch and manage a mock start-up business.
“The standard pre-designed program can be delivered over the course of six to 10 weeks, for an hour each week... Although the program has been pre-designed, brokers can easily tailor it to suit their students’ needs or their own style.”
Ms MacLeod said that the adoption of the program in Western Australia was the “biggest” in the nation.
“More than 80 WA high schools, youth and community groups have now joined the School Entrepreneurs Program since the relaunch, while the interest from brokers has also been significant with 130 nationwide looking to get involved,” the Astute founder said.
She added that the need for the program was made apparent by the results of an OECD international student assessment report last year which found that around 20 per cent of 15-year-olds in Australia lacked basic financial literacy.
“Thousands of young Australians have benefitted from taking part in the program and acquiring knowledge and skills which will make them more self-sufficient and better prepared for adulthood,” Ms MacLeod said.
“We hope there will be even more support with government funding and employer subsidies to grow the program to its full potential to teach all Australian high school students about money management and business.”
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