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Bank on a money skills project

Money makes the world go round, they say. It's certainly a subject that's hard to escape with a daily barrage of news stories around the subject of debt, people having to make cutbacks, and the adverts urging us to spend more (TESS, 8 June).

Finding your way around the money maze, understanding how to manage your money effectively, is a crucial life skill. Yet there is still often a lack of financial training for our young people.

Research shows that young people often struggle to get the support they need to manage their money effectively. An independent study commissioned by Barclays revealed that money skills developed between the ages of 16 and 25 are critical in helping young people to handle their finances for the rest of their lives.

Barclays Money Skills "champions" is an innovative new project that aims to involve 100,000 of the hardest-to-reach young people in the country and equip them with financial training and money know-how.

Working with a group of respected youth and information charities, it is not only equipping young people with money skills but also giving them the tools they need to share this information with the young people they know.

This peer education approach means that training up to 5,000 "champions" will allow the project to transmit money know-how to many thousands more young people who might otherwise never learn these vital skills.

It will also be a massive confidence booster for the many youngsters not in employment, education or training who become "champions". Not only will it improve their financial ability, it will also enhance key life skills such as communication, presentation and leadership skills, which will hopefully help them to go on and find employment.

The project has been piloted in eight areas already and is now rolling out nationwide. Anyone interested can find further information at www.barclaysmoneyskills.comchampions

Fiona Blackie, chief executive of the National Youth Agency.

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