Earn as You Learn is a programme run by 3BF which pays secondary school students the living wage to attend extra-curricular classes in which they are taught financial literacy and skills applicable to a career path of their choosing.
Chantelle Foketi, a teacher at Te Ara Poutama, is the coordinator of the programme at her school.
“It’s almost like a mini apprenticeship, on a very minor scale in that they are earning while they are learning.”
“They’re learning lots of computer based skills, from data entry to web development to graphic design.”
Foketi says that her students have picked up skills other than those included in the programme’s curriculum such as time management and decision making.
“They’ll have their friends coming up to them in class and saying ‘hop on the game after school’ and they say they can’t because they have work.”
Foketi thinks that the incentive of money drives a commitment to the programme that replicates the commitment to a career, which has had a positive impact on her students.
“Even though it is on a much smaller scale, these kids are learning how to balance work and play.”
“Personally, I’ve noticed the kids involved in the program have become much more responsible and accountable.”
Earn as You Learn encourages students to develop skills which they themselves find interesting and/or will greatly benefit them when trying to enter their industry of choice.
However, the programme views financial literacy as crucial and therefore mandatory knowledge for all students enrolled.
“The difference between learning financial literacy in the classroom and learning it through practical application is stark,” says Chantelle.
“Teaching a student to intelligently handle and save their money is much easier when they actually have an income to make those decisions with.”
“We don’t usually partner with alt-eds, but so far so good. I’m hoping we can continue the program throughout 2023.”
Kaiha is one of the two students enrolled in the Earn as You Learn programme Chantelle coordinates.
“It’s been fun to learn new things, and especially fun to get paid for doing that,” Kaiha says.
Kaiha has his eyes set on the tech sector, particularly cyber-security, and has been acquiring the skills that should help him achieve his goal.
“The skills I’ve picked up are mostly digital, stuff like cyber security, web development and graphic design.”
Kaiha says that he usually ‘works’ around 5 hours a week, more than enough to appropriately (by a teenager’s standards) indulge in his hobbies of video games and football while still saving for his rather ambitious goal.
“I end up either saving it or spending it on something I shouldn’t.”
“My friend and I have a goal to go to Japan before our 21st birthdays, we’ve worked out our budget and have already started saving.”
Kaiha says his fellow classmates would also like to participate in Earn as You Learn.
“Most of my peers have said that they would like to be a part of the programme, I think mainly because of the money.”
3BF Head of Youth and Pastoral Care support Annie Hawaikirangi, says the primary goal is to ensure higher rates of Maori and Pasifika youth enter the adult world equipped with the necessary knowledge to seamlessly integrate into the workforce.
“Earn as you learn is essentially a program through which students are paid to learn the skills that all rangatahi should have by the time they graduate high school, as well as skills that set them up for the career of their choosing.”
“Another criteria is self management, I have to admit that when I was their age I wasn’t really thinking further than 2 days ahead, these kids have deadlines and criteria they need to meet which require weeks of planning and organisation,” says Hawaikirangi.
CEO of 3BF Brittany Teei says the programme is meant to equip students with the basic financial and technological skills that the current education system is failing to pass on.
“Understanding finances, technology, time management and having the confidence to navigate different systems equips our people with the knowledge needed to build brighter futures for themselves,” says Teei.
“Traditional education just isn’t passing this stuff on, therefore our kids miss out on learning these things until later in life, and often at a cost.”
Teei says that at the end of the day Earn as You Learn is meant to encourage and facilitate the future financial stability and success among future generations.
“Our programmes are designed to give our young people a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that will aid them in becoming successful adults.”
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