What is financial learning?
NIACE uses the term financial learning to describe the broad range of activities we undertake aimed at supporting adult learners to develop the financial knowledge and skills they need in everyday life as well as providing empowering opportunities for learning. This includes a variety of topics related to practical skills for managing money including:
NIACE also sees developing an understanding of the wider economic context around individual and household finances as an important aspect of financial learning, enabling people to participate effectively as active citizens. NIACE's Financial Learning team is also taking a lead in the development of Financial Learning as an emerging academic discipline and a curriculum subject in its own right.
Subjects related to financial learning include:
- personal finance
- financial capability
- financial literacy
- economic wellbeing
- personal economics.
- Our work is also closely linked to the financial inclusion agenda as many people find it difficult to access financial services or remain ‘unbanked' as a result of low levels of financial skills. Research has shown that poor financial capability is often linked to low levels of language, literacy and numeracy skills.
Learning Through Life, the recently published report of the independent inquiry into the future for Lifelong Learning proposed that financial capability should become one of the four core elements of a new citizens' curriculum along with digital, health and civic capabilities.
About NIACE’s Financial Learning Work
A core focus of NIACE's Financial Learning work is on developing and bringing together innovative practice, resources and training to support the delivery of financial learning. We work to enable practitioners to interact, share ideas and find out about policy best practice. By financial capability practioners we mean not only teaching practitioners but also people working in a wide range of roles that might involve helping clients to develop financial skills. Often as trusted intermediaries like housing workers or youth work intermediaries, these people have an important role in helping clients to move from dependency on advice to action on their own behalf, as well as further learning. Our main aim is to provide support to practitioners to increase their own levels of skills and subject knowledge and confidence in their ability to deliver financial learning.
NIACE is continuing the groundbreaking work of the Financial Literacy project started by the Basic Skills Agency. This looked at innovative ways of using a financial context as an effective way of delivering Language, Literacy and Numeracy in six different settings - prisons, the workplace (working with trade unions), Family Learning and Children's Centres and the voluntary sector. A series of published 'Financial Literacy in Context' reports are available outlining the research findings from each context, including information about the needs of learners identified.
The Financial Literacy Resource Centre
All resources are mapped to the adult curriculum levels and the Adult Financial Capability Framework. Users can search the list, add materials and leave comments and ratings.
The Personal Finance Qualification Centre
This searchable database provides information about the 32 personal finance qualifications currently available from Entry Level 1 to Level 5 and suggested routes between them. It was developed in collaboration with the Financial Education Accrediation Group. This group convened by NIACE is made up of people involved in the production of accredited courses in Personal Finance subjects. The aim is to share knowledge and promote joined up thinking in this area.
As part of NIACE's commitment to more, better and different learning for adults, the Financial Learning team undertakes projects in a range of contexts and with different groups of learners. These include older people, offenders, families and learners in the workplace and community. The aim of these projects is to develop effective ways of addressing the specific financial skills needs of these groups, emphasising the links between Financial Learning and learners' own families, jobs or situations. More details about individual projects can be found via the links on this page.