300+ Students to Complete the Irish Funds TY Financial Literacy Programme Pilot by May 2023

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

300+ Students to Complete the Irish Funds TY Financial Literacy Programme Pilot by May 2023

The Irish Funds Financial Literacy Programme (TY Programme) was initially approved by the Irish Funds Member Council in 2019.  The approach for bringing the Programme to life was agreed with the Irish Funds executive and the IST Steering Group in early 2020 and feeds into the strategic objectives of Irish Funds’ mission to enhance external perception of the industry and its social impact.

'It is an enjoyable programme, the presenters are telling us useful, real life information that we can apply to our own lives.  The presenters are very professional and very enthusiastic and this has come across well to us and made the presentation more interesting.'

In developing the TY Programme, Irish Funds set out to create stronger financial awareness for Transition Year students to assist with the perception of industry and make students aware before they make career decisions.  In 2022, we developed a framework for the programme.  The Financial Literacy aspect of the programme broadly maps the key elements of the Joint EU/OECD-INFE Financial Competence Framework for Adults, adapted for TY students (Money and Transactions, Planning and Managing Finances, Risk and Reward and Financial Landscape).  It is an experiential modular Programme that combines:

  • Financial Literacy

  • Life Skills

  • Real life Funds and Asset Management examples. 

  • Digital Finance; and

  • Sustainable Investment

We also researched many of the existing TY Programmes and agreed to add in the key differentiator with the inclusion of the four optional “Soft Skills” building blocks; Critical Thinking, Resilience, Communication Skills and Taking Responsibility.   

Delivery Method

The six interactive modules are brought to life using real examples presented in the class by combining the expertise of a business teacher, or other agreed teacher from the school; Eibhlin Johnston, as facilitator of the Pilot; and a funds and asset management Industry Lead from one of the member companies of Irish Funds. 

12 Schools, 14 Member Firms and 20 Industry Leads

In August 2022, we sent our TY Brochure to schools all over the Country.  Our aim was to  deliver the Pilot in twelve schools.   We chose schools based on agreed requirements around diversity; gender, geographic and social background. 

When the schools were chosen, we reached out for member support; the result, 14 member firms and 20 Industry Leads from six counties.

Interactive Programme

Feedback from each school is critical to the team in Irish Funds who have been working on this initiative for more than 12 months.   As this is a Pilot programme, we continue to tweak the slides and materials after each delivery date.   “The modular programme works in our favour as it allows us to adapt to the needs of each class of students”, says Eibhlin.  

A survey is sent to each school to obtain feedback from the Teachers and Students.   We immediately responded to the request for more interaction, with relevant handouts, video clips and “real life” case studies

 “I had a conversion with a TY student who attended a career workshop yesterday. She was balanced in her response in that she admitted her "generation’s" attention span can be limited.  However, when I probed her about other workshops, she was very positive about the Financial Literacy Programme. It was in her words, well "spaced " and more importantly interactive. So high regards to the team”. – Feedback from TY co-ordinator, Loreto Kilkenny

The Modular Programme has been updated to respond to the “limited” attention span.  We also plan to incorporate these handouts into a “journal” for the students and expect it to be available for the students in the Final three schools, scheduled for April and May 2023.    

Playing the Game

The future programme will include a Gamification element where students will pick their own mini portfolio.   We have introduced the Nasdaq, Euronext and the London Stock Exchange to the Programme in Module two.  Without fail, the students really love this section.   The students have created mini Technology, US Equity and Irish Portfolios.   The students really engage in the Risk part of the Programme.  Using the game of Monopoly allows us to  introduce the concepts of Investment Risk, Diversification and long term investment; allowing the students to experience this concepts when developing their portfolios. The mini Portfolios make it easier to introduce the concept of the various parties to the Fund, the Administrator, Investment Manager and Depositary.

Visiting Member Companies

The combination of the TY Programme and a site visit to the offices of the member companies has been really well received by both the students and the schools.  Two visits happened “organically” as we delivered the programme.   It would be great to see this aspect of the programme develop as the TY Programme expands.  On 24 February, twenty Transition Year students from Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG, in Cork, completed the Pilot TY Financial Literacy programme.  The final module was delivered in Clearstream's offices in Navigation Square, Cork, where the students got to see the world of Financial Services in "action". David Brosnan, Managing Director at Clearstream Global Securities also dropped into the students in the Boardroom for a chat.   

25 students from Castletroy College successfully completed the Irish Funds TY Financial Literacy Programme in February and in March the students visited the Northern Trust Limerick Offices, welcomed by Roisin Cahill and Mark Flynn. The students had an introduction with the General Manager, followed by a walk around the offices.

The Future -  2023 and Beyond

Each of the schools that have completed the pilot Programme has indicated an interest in running the Programme in 23/24.  We are already engaging with these schools.  We will continue to refine the slides and supporting documents for the next school year.  Ultimately, the programme will be available on an interactive educational platform.  We will also look to further develop the gamification element of the programme.    We are also exploring the option of Virtual Reality elements which will allow the students to see into the world of the Investment Manager and/or the Administrator. 

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Eibhlin Johnston

Eibhlin Johnston, Author, Speaker and Transformational Coach, established The Resiliency Hub to disrupt the way we think, coach and work. She has over 15 years’ coaching experience. The Resiliency Hub combines coaching and training, and the IHeart Resiliency Training for young people and their parents.

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Michelle Spencer

Michelle Spencer is the Director of Member Services at Irish Funds. Prior to joining, Michelle spent 20 years working in the financial services industry, mostly in senior operational roles at two leading investment funds services providers.