George Tsounias catches up with Yogesh Nakarja, recent winner of the Education Champion of the Year title at the 2020 Personal Finance Awards
Since its official launch in September 2019, the My Personal Finance Skills initiative has delivered more than 600 workshops, reaching 20,000 students. Despite the current climate preventing us from delivering our in-school offering, Education Champions have stepped up to the mark and have collectively delivered more than 150 sessions across the country to ensure that we continue to provide free financial education to schools across the UK.
We are optimistic that 2021 will see a return of our in-school offering and the return of Education Champions in schools but for now we continue with our free virtual sessions and a series of on-demand sessions available via our website.
This year’s Personal Finance Awards saw the introduction of a new award to recognise the outstanding contributions of Education Champions who take part in this pro-bono initiative. Thank you for all the entries and to all Education Champions who support this initiative – it is this collective effort that allows us to do what we do.
Following his win, we caught up with Yogesh Nakarja, financial adviser at Lighthouse Financial Planning, to find out a little more about his experience.
Why did you initially sign up to the My Personal Finance Skills initiative?
Being a pro-bono initiative, it delighted me as it met my objective to ‘give back’, especially to students, who would benefit immeasurably from these workshops. I have always found that by giving, you actually get a lot back.
How have you found your experience as an Education Champion?
I thoroughly savoured each session, where I realised that in volunteering my time for this noble initiative, I got so much back through satisfaction, fulfilment and personal wellbeing.
How does it feel to be the first to receive the Education Champion of the Year award?
I am very honoured and ecstatic. As the days have passed, it appears all my pending LinkedIn requests are now accepted and I have had several other requests to connect. It made me realise that, while participating as an Education Champion is wonderful, then being shortlisted and being named as a finalist was a bonus, actually winning the award is another level of feeling. My thanks go to the PFS and the judges.
What advice would you give to future nominees wishing to receive the award?
My advice to future potential award winners is to be proactive with any guidance you feel is not fully understood; be yourself during the presentation and make use of both your soft and technical skills – even some humour makes it fun for the students; and seek feedback. Finally, think about the wider support that you can provide and be passionate about the broader role.
New for 2021
As My Personal Finance Skills grows, so does the range of sessions on offer. The initiative is pleased to include the following new workshops:
- Opening your first bank account.
- Credit vs debit.
- Mortgages and loans.
We have also developed a range of 30 personal finance talks covering the following themes: identity theft and scams, personal finance basics and moving on from school.
All sessions will be on offer from early 2021 and will complement the existing sessions currently available.
Access our website by scanning this QR code with your phone.
George Tsounias is relationship manager of education at the PFS