Broker says 'booyah' to financial literacy

May 9, 2017


A finance broker based on the Central Coast has extended her work in promoting financial literacy to school students by bringing her guidance to disadvantaged children in Queensland.

Mhairi MacLeod, founder of Astute Ability Finance, is set to lend her experience to the Booyah Project – a 20 week community initiative supported by Queensland University, Queensland Police Force and the Police & Community Youth Clubs (PCYC).

With 11 ‘cohorts’ or intakes across Queensland, each made up of 10 children, MacLeod will be starting on the first three this week in Logan, the Gold Coast and Redlands.

“The project has different sections including mental health and community spirit. We’ve put in the financial and entrepreneurial aspects,” she told Australian Broker.

The program uses elements from the Entrepreneurs Program that MacLeod wrote for the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) as well as the MFAA’s Global Money Week initiative.

“With the disadvantaged kids and the projects I’m working on in the schools, I’ve managed to combine my program with a little bit of the financial literacy angle in Global Money Week.”

Since a lot of the children may not be employable, MacLeod believed they were better off becoming self-employed. She strove to help them achieve this goal.

“Working with these disadvantaged young teens and adults, my programs are very tailored. My first presentation with Booyah on Tuesday is with 10 boys. They won’t put boys and girls in the same group because their needs and wants are very different.”

Each group in the program has different characteristics with regards to their age, desires, mental health issues and criminal records.

“The attendees are part of a program which the police and university have taken on board and tailored to these disadvantaged kids. Some of these kids are coming out of correctional services and they’re back into mainstream living and the community.”

“They’re selected kids. These are kids who have been recognised. They want to give it a go and give it a crack and make sure that they can be something.”

The program has real effects on participants’ levels of aggression, criminal activity and more with over 35% experiencing greater self-esteem and 41% who did not re-offend even six months after graduation from the program.

MacLeod said her participation in the Booyah Program will be on an ongoing basis in the 11 cohorts across the state. However, she would like to hand some of these cohorts over to other brokers once the year is done.

“I’ve partnered with Tracy Kearey from Home Loan Connexion. She’s coming with me to see how the program works. We’ll then hand some of the work next year to Tracy and her brokers in Queensland.”

She continued, saying that the type of broker suitable for these programs would have to have a dedicated, flexible mindset.

“I don’t want a broker to take this on board as a one off. Any broker that we source for these projects will be prepared to put effort in – even if it’s one cohort – and they’ll do that one cohort two or three times a year. They need to be committed to that.”

Even with three presentations a year, this was only three hours out of their life, she said.



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