Brokers are being urged to take up a new School Entrepreneurs Program that teaches school pupils and young adults financial literacy while placing the broker front and centre as a trust adviser.
Set up by asset finance broker, founder and principal of Astute Ability Group Mhairi MacLeod, the full School Entrepreneurs Program is now being offered to members of the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) following a trial period.
Launched this week, the full program encompasses six modules (which can be run over one-hour sessions over six weeks or over a full term) covering a range of topics including: how to read a payslip; setting up a business; developing business plans; product development; marketing strategies; human resources; and strategies for profit, loss and future business direction.
It also includes suggestions for brokers on how to engage a school or youth community, and the relevant information, checks and requirements needed for working with children.
The School Entrepreneurs Program aims to provide young adults with an understanding of how business and finance work and enhance financial literacy.
On Tuesday, it was also announced that Richmond Football Club player Alex Rance will be the face of the program in Melbourne, promoting the need for children to become financially savvy.
Speaking to The Adviser, program developer Mhairi MacLeod commented: “Financial literacy in this country is really at a low and I believe that the sectors that really could benefit from it are our youths and the disadvantaged.
“From those in schools to community groups and even correctional services, there are a lot of young adults who really need to get a better understanding of financial literacy, which leads to a greater wellbeing as they move into adulthood.
“As brokers invest heavily in the local community, it made sense to me to have brokers teaching these skills to students, which will then be reinvested back into the community long-term. This isn’t a short-term game. It’s about longevity and being socially responsible — giving back to communities is a huge thing, because, without that, communities don’t grow.”
Ms MacLeod piloted the program at a range of different institutions, including Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Tumbi Umbi Campus, the International Football School in Kariong and through Juvenile Justice Community Services in Sydney.
She added: “The test was really to see what demographic it suited and the end result was everybody benefitted from it. So, the program is rolling out now and I encourage all brokers to take it up and work on it with their community.
“There are a lot of brokers already doing multiple types of community service, but I wanted to share what I had developed for brokers so that they could just pick it up and run with it with all the necessary tools.”
Ms MacLeod continued: “This is my give-back to the industry and I feel that, as a broker, if we start giving back to one another and giving one another the tools to get out into the community, we have a much stronger profession and look a lot more professional. We can be much more than just about writing a home loan or writing the car loan.”
The MFAA’s head of marketing and communications, Stephen Hale, commented: “The MFAA identified that many of our top brokers had invested their time in community programs. But we also found we had many MFAA members that wanted to run community initiatives but didn’t know where to start.
“So, three years ago, we invested in a partnership with Astute Ability Finance to further develop the School Entrepreneurs Program and make it available exclusively to MFAA members.
“We have worked with Mhairi and other brokers around the country to set up a program that tackles the key social issue of financial literacy through the fun and engaging activity of students running a mock business.”
Highlighting that the program relies on brokers playing a key mentoring role, Mr Hale said: “Hopefully, the program will contribute to the development of the next generation of Australian business owners. It also makes our members feel good about their role in the community.”
The School Entrepreneurs Program is available free of charge for MFAA brokers and comes with 12 CPD hours for the six-hour program (reflective of the preparation time for, and delivery of, the sessions).