ITE students get training to teach financial planning to fellow students

Padauan Berwin Ela and Atikah Ramlan were among the Institute of Technical Education students who attended a 14-hour financial planning course conducted by lecturers from the Singapore Management University. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - In a novel move, Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students are being trained to teach their fellow students financial planning, in a bid to give the students a lift in life.

After completing a 14-hour course conducted by lecturers from the Singapore Management University (SMU), these ITE students become trainers, running roadshows or workshops for their fellow ITE students.

A total of 42 ITE students have been trained since the programme started in the three ITE campuses this year. Another 30 are expected to be trained next year.

The ITE project is a spin-off of a financial literacy programme that Citibank Singapore and SMU have been running since 2012 to teach young people how to manage their money.

The trainers' programme started with SMU and polytechnic students. It was extended to ITE students this year.

Besides the 42 ITE students, about 210 SMU students and 80 polytechnic students have been trained and are running programmes in their university and polytechnics.

Extending the programme to ITE can give the students there a leg up in life, said Ms Cheryl Chen, Citibank Singapore's vice-president and head of corporate citizenship.

"We believe that with financial literacy training, the students, some of whom come from disadvantaged families, can have a better chance to improve themselves and the lives of their families," said Ms Chen.

ITE students who have completed the course said they found it useful.

"I thought it would be boring, but it was actually quite fun," said student Padauan Berwin Ela, 19.

"I learnt to plan a budget and save upfront, rather than save what I have left after spending my money," he added. "This is the idea of 'paying myself first'."

His fellow student Atikah Ramlan said the programme had taught her not to spend all her pocket money.

"I get $10 in pocket money from my parents every day," said the 19-year-old. "I used to spend it all, including buying desserts (after my meals). Now I skip desserts and try to save half of it.

"My father was a taxi driver who now drives Uber. It is not easy for him to earn a living and I can help him by not spending so much," she added.

Besides learning financial planning knowledge, the two students said the programme has also got them thinking about careers in the financial sector.

"I want to be an accountant," said Atikah. "I am the only child and I want to support my parents."

Ela has set his sights on being a financial planner. "I will be able to help other people with financial planning after I graduate," he said.

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