Stewart Ivory Financial Education Trust (Sifet) was set up in 2003 as part of the Stewart Ivory Foundation, and its programme every year reaches more than 18,500 students across every local authority in Scotland.
In 2020, the Trust concluded that to meet the growing needs of a larger cohort of young people, it needed to pass on its expertise to an organisation with greater resources, and it chose YE Scotland.
The move will see YE Scotland take on the delivery of Sifet’s programmes to S6 pupils across more than 250 schools, supported by the Trust’s financial education officers who will operate under the YE Scotland banner.
In addition, YE Scotland will receive around £500,000 of Sifet assets, which will be used to continue and extend the provision of financial education to young people throughout Scotland. It is proposed that the Sifet offering will be integrated with YE Scotland’s own financial education and enterprise programmes stretching from primary through to secondary schools and college students.
Once the transfer is complete, Sifet will cease to operate. The combination of resources comes as Scotland looks to stimulate significant change in the education system, and all policy-makers across the UK are being urged to introduce the teaching of basic money skills in primary schools.
In evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People, which reported earlier this year, more than half of UK teenagers have struggled with debt before their 17th birthday, and more than two thirds of young people lack the confidence to plan their financial future.
Additionally, those leaving school without an effective financial education have been deemed to be at high risk of financial abuse, fraud and debt, from an early age.
YE Scotland, which describes itself as Scotland’s leading provider of enterprise education, said the transfer of assets is an opportunity to extend its reach whilst embedding Sifet activity in its in its own “ladder of enterprise” via Scotland’s Financial Schools.
YE Scotland chief executive Geoff Leask described the now-approved tie-up as a “game-changer” for financial education for young people. “The Sifet resources and depth of reach add significant value to our portfolio of resources. The prospect now exists to implement a new blended financial education model of delivery that ensures that financial education interventions are not delivered in isolation, but through a more holistic approach that achieves a greater impact in the longer term.
“In Scottish schools, we will now have the opportunity to draw on a greater reserve of financial expertise along with Sifet’s respected connections with teachers to build out our programmes.”
Sifet chairman and financial services veteran Hamish Buchan said: “We are very proud of what Sifet has achieved since its inception in 2003 and its reach and success have been remarkable for a small organisation. This has largely been due to the generosity of our donors including, in particular in recent years, Stewart Investors.
“YE Scotland’s plans for the expansion and enhancement of Sifet’s activities through integration with its own well-established and respected programmes are very exciting.”