With thanks to Zurich Ireland, more than 3,000 second level school students (4th-6th year) will increase their financial literacy by completing the Junior Achievement ‘Finance Your Future’ programme. This interactive and practical five-module programme is facilitated by business volunteers from the world of work in partnership with the class teacher. ‘Finance Your Future’ explores earning potential, balancing personal budgets, future planning, risk, and insurance. In acquiring and practicing the fundamental skills of financial literacy, students also come to realise the importance and impact of their education on their future.
Zurich Ireland have been working in partnership with Junior Achievement since 2021.
Last year Neil Freshwater, Zurich Ireland CEO worked with TY students from Caritas College, Dublin 10, which inspired him to reflect on how key financial concepts are explained to young people, and particularly emerging developments such as digital banks and cryptocurrency. Neil, along with his colleagues Sinead Foxe and Ciaran Fitzpatrick worked closely with the JAI Education team to redevelop the programme content, and pensions expert Neville Dunne shared his knowledge through a video which featured in the programme.
Launched in April 2023, ‘Finance Your Future’ will engage more than 3,000 second level students in more than 160 classrooms nationwide over the next three years. During that time, over 1,000 contact hours of financial literacy education will be delivered by Zurich team members and other business volunteers.
To celebrate the launch of the revised programme, students from Caritas College were invited to Zurich Ireland offices in IFSC to participate in one of the newly designed modules – a debate on banking solutions for young people. Moderated by Neil Freshwater, the students fully engaged in the debate and presented robust arguments on the topic at hand. Afterwards students had the opportunity to learn about careers in financial services from some of the Zurich team – Neville Dunne, Chief Operating Officer, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Head of Operations Governance, and Kam Toor, Head of Internal Controls and Assurance.
Neil Freshwater commented: “Zurich Ireland and Junior Achievement worked in partnership to redesign the programme material to be more relevant for the world we live in today. It now incorporates contemporary examples and activities to help bring the content to life for students. I really hope that this programme has a positive and lasting impact on the students who take part in it. Zurich is committed to creating a brighter future for the communities in which we live and work. Enabling social equity is a key pillar of our Corporate Social Responsiblity strategy and we strive to create a more inclusive society where everyone has the chance to succeed and reach their full potential. Where you are from or where you went to school should not determine how well you can navigate the financial world. The Finance Your Future programme helps students acquire skills and knowledge at an early age to ensure that they develop healthy financial habits as adults, as well as the skills and attitudes needed to shape their own future.”
JAI CEO Helen Raftery said: “Having overhauled the programme to bring it in line with most recent developments, we are indebted to Neil & his colleagues at Zurich Ireland for their expert input. I have no doubt that this generation of students need to have access to learning opportunities like Finance Your Future programme in order to become financially literate adults. Thanks to all at Zurich for supporting our mission to inspire and motivate the next generation. “