NatWest’s Financial Capability and Young Workers Report reveals that 44% of apprentices struggle to keep up with bills and commitments.
Over half of employers (55%) admit to having come across young workers or apprentices in financial difficulty, while 45% of employers say employees have approached them having experienced financial difficulty.
The report also shows that 23% of apprentices find it tough to stick to a budget (compared with a national average of 17%) and 90% of employers agree they should play some role in their employees’ money management skills.
NatWest is calling on policymakers, employers and training providers to recognise the importance of financial capability and provide this vital life skill for the next generation of employees and business leaders.
Andy Briscoe, Chair of the Money Advice Service and Chair of the FinCap Board, said: “Just as employers support apprentices to take their first steps on their career path by teaching them the skills to succeed in the workplace, they can also play a critical role in helping apprentices to develop the money management skills that are so important at every stage of life.
“It is great to see NatWest champion this work and show once again that it is only by working together - as employers, businesses, and communities - that we can support people to develop the financial capability they need to make the most of their money throughout life."
Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said: “Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for people from all backgrounds to earn as they learn. As part of our inquiry into the quality of apprenticeships and skills training we will be looking at what more can be done to ensure this and make sure they have the right support to climb the ladder of opportunity.”
In total, financial stress costs the UK economy £121bn and 18 million working hours in time off work each year.
How NatWest supports young people with financial management
NatWest offers all staff access to a variety of tools and templates to support their financial management skills. Having reviewed its apprenticeships programme, the bank plans to include financial capability training for their apprentice new starts in 2018.
NatWest recently expanded its MoneySense programme with new material for children and young people aged 12-18 focusing on consumer rights, fraud and scams, and the risks and rewards of saving, investing and borrowing.
The MoneySense programme aims to reach another 1 million young people by end of 2018, and demonstrates the importance of building financial knowledge, skills and behavior from an early age and into financial independence.
Kirsty Britz, Director of Sustainability at NatWest, said: “Many apprentices are gaining financial independence for the first time. Early decisions made with poor information or a lack of understanding can have long lasting implications.
“If apprentices are to deliver the most they can for the UK economy, and if they are to live up to the expectations of commentators and policymakers, they must be as well prepared for working life as possible.
“A financially fit and healthy workforce means improved employee wellbeing, increased productivity, and is beneficial to business overall.”
Recommendations from NatWest’s Financial Capability and Young Workers Report
Financial capability support, training and education to be delivered across all post-16 settings, via colleges, training providers and universities.
Employers to include financial capability training and support as part of their employee induction process.
Financial capability training, support and education to be classified as Job Training and built in to future apprenticeship standards and curriculum.
Education Select Committee to consider including financial capability within the scope of its current review on Apprenticeships.
Government and business membership groups to proactively communicate apprentice pay rules to employers, with training providers supporting apprentices to understand their rights and responsibilities regarding apprenticeship pay.