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Tutors complete unique financial literacy pilot programme

First group of tutors complete unique financial literacy pilot programme

Whitireia Polytechnic tutors say programme has provided them with vital money skills to pass on to New Zealand students

Wellington, 5 September 2013 – Yesterday evening 12 tutors from Whitireia Polytechnic were recognised for completing a unique one-year pilot designed to provide them with improved financial literacy skills and the confidence to share their knowledge with students.

The programme was supported by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income, Visa and Whitireia Polytechnic following research that found nearly half of Kiwi tutors did not have any specialist training or professional development in financial literacy.

The tutors have completed three papers in Personal Financial Management through the Massey Financial Education Centre and were recognised at an event held in Whitireia yesterday evening.

The programme stemmed from a national research[1] project in 2011 between the Commission and Visa, which examined ways to increase the quality of formal financial education in New Zealand.

The research found tutors providing financial education tended to be adult educators without specific expertise in financial literacy. Less than half (47 per cent) of financial literacy tutors had received training or professional development, and what they had received was not exclusively linked to financial literacy.

Retirement Commissioner, Diane Maxwell, says the pilot was a win-win for tutors.

“If teachers are uncomfortable with their own financial know-how, they are not going to be comfortable teaching it to their students. This pilot programme ensured they benefited from it personally, while also learning to introduce financial literacy into existing courses and the conversations they have with their students,” says Maxwell.

Caroline Ada, Visa’s Country Manager for New Zealand and South Pacific, says few skills are more important than the ability to save, budget, and understand the value of money.

“Nowadays, young people are interacting with money and making consumer choices from a much earlier age. Teaching the tutors creates a culture of financial literacy for Whitireia and helps students get the information they need to manage their money,” says Ada.

The tutors took part in the pilot to be able to better equip their students, but during the course they also found it helped with their personal finance knowledge.

One of the tutors, James Houkamau, Academic Support Co-ordinator, Whitireia Polytechnic, says improving his own financial literacy has increased his capacity to offer financial advice to students he most often meets.

“I would have benefitted from having this knowledge much earlier in my life, so it’s important for me to pass it on to the students I interact with. After this course, I can say to them ‘I know where you are, I know where you’re going and I can advise you on how to better manage your own money’.”

The pilot programme, which was funded by Visa, is part of an ongoing partnership between Visa and the Commission to improve overall financial literacy among all New Zealanders.

This ceremony was one of many activities throughout Money Week, an initiative by the Commission. During the week Visa has also launched the Practical Money Skills website, as part of its ongoing commitment to financial literacy education.

Visit the website at www.practicalmoneyskills.co.nz.

[1] The research report was conducted by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income, with support from Visa. The research was conducted in October to December 2011, using an online survey and a series of interviews with key players in the financial education and financial literacy sector.

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