As part of Maths Week Scotland, we are highlighting math and numeracy programmes recognised on the SCQF. The second of two blogs is from GEMAP Scotland who offer financial inclusion and money advice services. Their 'Personal Financial Awareness Programme: Money and Me has been credit rated by Glasgow Kelvin College at SCQF Level 4 with 2 SCQF credit points.
Here at GEMAP we believe the key to preventing serious money worries in the future and resolving current worries is education. Calculating income tax for the month, or how to budget effectively are skills that aren’t taught in traditional schools where the emphasis is on passing exams and people are expected to automatically have this knowledge as soon as they become an adult, which in turn has created a revolving door of generational mistakes being repeated. There is a dire need in communities for people of all ages to be educated on personal finances and to show people that there are options and that they aren’t backed into a corner with only one option to choose.
As it is maths week in Scotland we have to recognise the maths that is applied to every-day life from the group of school kids budgeting their lunch money to afford more sweets to students living from SAAS payment to SAAS payment, to getting your first wage slip and not having a clue why you are paying tax and national insurance, to the couple buying their first home together and thrown into the confusing world of mortgages.
This qualification teaches the participants not only knowledge on these subjects but also the practical skills that are pertinent to managing money successfully, for example converting how much a bill is costing per month into how much this is costing yearly.
In the daunting world of personal finance there are many jargon words that people don’t know the meaning of such as; credit, diligence, standing order, A.P.R (Annual percentage rates) etc. these jargon words/phrases cause most people to feel overwhelmed, often leading to people ignoring the problem hoping that it will disappear. Throughout this qualification, we break down many of these words and ensure that the participants understand them with the aim that the participant feels more confident to deal with the problem that they are having.
Throughout this course, we show the participants how to convert payments into weekly/monthly/yearly this is one of the most invaluable skills that anyone could have as it allows the participant to think about how the financial choice is about to impact them long term. Another skill that is taught during this course is how to calculate if the income tax you are paying is correct, this is vital knowledge as it's estimated that 44% of employees have overpaid income tax this year, that is roughly 14.3 million people in the UK that have paid too much tax. Its part of the course to be taught how to use percentages to calculate how much you should be paying in tax.
Being able to take control of your own finances has a monumental effect on our participants not only by building up their knowledge but by giving them the confidence to manage their own finances. The main goal for the individuals that take part in this course is to have them take control of their own finances and to save money. We encourage people to save as it can assist with planning and organising future purchases without having to rely on loans or other forms of credit. Saving also opens up doors for opportunities that they may not have had before such as a holiday or new car.
The unique thing about this qualification is that it is not just based on knowledge it is based on real-life events such as understanding your wage slip, saving to go on holiday, or buying a new car. It gives our participants back their independence by being able to manage their money and making positive choices backed by what they have learned so they are not living from wage to wage/payment to payment and not relying on forms of credit to get by.
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