My name is John and I work at Hymans Robertson. I recently volunteered to facilitate Mencap's Money Management programme which teaches a group of young people with a learning disability how to handle their finances. Pretty different to my day job! Here's how it went.
On the first morning I waited with trepidation as the learners slowly arrived at the Hymans Robertson offices at One London Wall.
During the first session everyone introduced themselves, explaining what they did and what their favourite activities were, and agreed some office rules and do’s and don’ts – one being to be punctual. Everyone then had an M&S Hymans provided sandwich lunch – a real treat!
Explaining what Hymans do, what is a ‘pension’ and what is an ‘actuary’, is no mean feat to youngsters with a learning disability, who may not have come across these terms before. In fact, that was their homework after session 1 – to research who Hymans are and what do they do.
The second session, the following week, was much easier as everyone had met everyone else the week before, and any initial barriers had been broken down. The first part of the session involved each learner feeding back their research (which involved some amazing responses), and me agreeing, correcting and/or expanding on their answers. Inevitably it got into what are ‘pensions’ and ‘actuaries’. My long-winded responses sounded very complicated and I seemed to lose the learners (and the tutors!)
The rest of the session concentrated on the subjects of saving and borrowing – how to borrow money, how to save, and what the pros and cons are of each. We discussed lots of very useful information and had some really interactive discussions.
Hopefully this information will be useful to the learners, who didn't have much experience with these topics before, and will hopefully be useful for the future.
After two sessions, that was me done, and I passed the rest of the Money Management programme onto a colleague. I found the time very rewarding and completely different to my day job, which involves large amounts of paper shuffling!
Any initial apprehension soon evaporated, and it brought me immense joy to see smiley bubbly faces as they left, no doubt looking forward to session 3 the next week.