Survey: Work experience and financial literacy programs helping Kelowna-area grads make it in the "real world"

KELOWNA, BC, June 23, 2011 /CNW/ - Central Okanagan School District graduates who took hands-on training programs were more likely to say that their high school had done a very good job of prepping them for life after school, and a majority agreed that learning about money in school was relevant and helping them to manage their finances. These are some of the findings released today in a School District No. 23 survey of its graduates.

This year's survey found that the majority of graduates (64 per cent) feel that their high school education did a good job in preparing them for life after school. Furthermore, those who had the opportunity to learn about careers, or received training, were more likely to say their school had done a very good job.

"Former students are telling us that work experience and trade programs really made their high school experience worthwhile," said Norm Bradley, Director of Instruction, SD No. 23. "As a district, we strive to meet student needs with courses and programs that will allow them to land on their feet once they've graduated."

Since 2004, Grade 10 students in B.C. have been taking a mandatory course called Planning 10 that includes a Finances section, and the British Columbia Securities Commission provides a free multimedia resource for those who teach the course.

The Graduate Outcomes Survey assesses the life skills of recent Kelowna-area graduates as well as their high school experience in allowing them to manage their finances. Partnering with SD No. 23 on the survey, is also an opportunity for the BCSC to understand if financial life skills education in high school better prepares youth to navigate through the financial realities of adulthood.

This year's survey found that the majority of graduates recall taking Planning 10: Finances, with 79 per cent agreeing that the course was relevant, and 62 per cent agreeing that they are using the skills they learned in the course to help manage their finances.

"We are glad to see that a majority of students understand the basics about savings and debt, recognizing that this course helps them manage their money after graduation," said Patricia Bowles, BCSC Director, Communications and Education. "However, the survey also tells us there is much more work to be done in terms of teaching young adults about investments and the principles associated with investing wisely."

2011 Graduate Outcomes Survey highlights

  • Despite where they are in life, most graduates (91 per cent) agree that their transition from high school has been successful. However, career preparation and learning options top the list (eight per cent) of things that could better prepare students for life, work, or post secondary education.
  • Parents (44 per cent) top the list of those who influence graduates' career or educational aspirations. Teachers were second at 14 per cent, while friends and self-motivation were third at seven per cent.
  • Very few graduates owe money (18 per cent). Among those that do have debt, 94 per cent say they have a plan to pay it off. Not surprisingly, most owe money toward a student loan.
  • Overall, 97 per cent of respondents agree that it's important to build up personal savings and investments, and 51 per cent have a budget, a financial plan, or both. Furthermore, 91 per cent are confident they know where to look to learn more about managing their finances.
  • The biggest weakness was the graduate students' knowledge about investing. The majority (79 per cent) were unable to answer all three of the knowledge testing questions.

The telephone survey of former SD No. 23 graduates resulted in a sample of 365 graduates between Dec. 30, 2010 and Jan. 5, 2011 from six high schools within the school district. The estimated margin-of-error for the over sample is ± 5.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20. In this survey, all of the graduates had taken Planning 10: Finances.

The full survey is available at www.sd23.bc.ca or www.InvestRight.org.

School District No. 23 mission: To educate students in a safe, inspirational learning environment where every student develops the knowledge and skills to be a lifelong learner and a healthy productive member of our global society.

The City: Financial Life Skills for Planning 10 is part of a number of investor education programs offered through the BCSC InvestRight program. The BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province.

SOURCE British Columbia Securities Commission

For further information:

For comments or questions, contact:

Norm Bradley, Director of Instruction, SD No. 23, 250-860-8888
Hugh Gloster, Superintendent, SD No. 23, 250-860-8888
Richard Gilhooley, British Columbia Securities Commission, 604-899-6713


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