Students from some of north Queensland’s most remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities have taken part in their first workshop on money management, as part of an initiative jointly established by a broker and the MFAA.
Meeting at the NRL Cowboys House in Townsville, the teenage boys were given lessons on basic financial skills such as saving, budgeting, online banking and understanding payslips.
NRL Cowboys House opened in 2017 and now houses 50 teenage boys from those remote communities while they finish studying at schools in Townsville.
The workshops were held by finance broker Mhairi MacLeod, the founder and principal at Astute Ability Finance Group.
MacLeod, who in conjunction with the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) established the School Entrepreneurs Program to improve the life skills and financial literacy of Australian teenagers.
She said it was an honour for her to offer advice about money management to the boys, adding, “It was a fabulous experience working with the boys at NRL Cowboys House and they were all very engaged and interested to know more about improving their financial knowledge.
“I was also invited to dine with the boys and hear their stories, which was truly a gift and a privilege for me. The feedback I received was very positive and I know one of the boys said it was important to save ‘because that way you can get rich’. I hope the message will cut through.”
NRL Cowboys House manager, Gary Cook, said the financial skills workshop was a “fantastic” addition to the centre’s holistic program to provide life-changing opportunities for the students, who come from some of the most remote communities in the country.
He said, “The financial skills workshop is the kind of stuff that is essential for these young men who come from communities that are so remote.
“Learning about how to save and better manage your money helps gives the boys aspirations and some of the older boys are in part-time employment. We’re about closing the gap by providing them with an education and preparing them for their careers.
“These boys are kicking goals at the moment. They have come so far in the past two years. They are a credit to their families and their communities.”
Managed by the Cowboys Community Foundation, the charity arm of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, NRL Cowboys House is a joint initiative between the National Rugby League, North Queensland Cowboys, the Queensland government and the federal government.
NRL Cowboys House Girls Campus will welcome the first intake of 25 young women into its care in January 2019, with an additional 25 students expected in 2020.