VM FETE expands its reach with 13 new ambassadors
Inductees in cohort two of the VM FETE (Financial Education to Empower) Youth Ambassador Programme are all smiles as they pose with group executives, senior managers and programme coordinators.

THE VM Group, through its VM FETE (Financial Education to Empower) Youth Ambassador Programme, is helping more young people acquire critical money management skills, setting a solid foundation on their journey to achieving financial well-being.

At the recent launch held for its second cohort at VM's Corporate Offices in Kingston, a total of 13 student representatives officially took up the mantle of engaging their peers in crucial money conversations.

Reflecting on a series of training sessions and workshops which covered key concepts such as goal setting, budgeting, saving, investing, retirement planning, debt and credit management, the launch saw participants lauding the comprehensive approach taken by the VM Group financial experts, citing that the new knowledge and skills acquired will no doubt be a guide for their financial lives.

Newly minted VM FETE Youth Ambassador, 23-year-old Dorrianna Levy, had this to say:

"There is this saying that young people have adopted — adulting is hard. And I won't dispute that because it is. However, the VM FETE Programme has filled a huge gap and has opened my eyes to the possibilities of adulthood, particularly in relation to money. It's funny how we spend years in the school system being prepared for the working world without ever having an in-depth conversation about money management."

Anthony Smith (right) receives his official VM FETE Youth Ambassador contract from VM Group President and CEO Courtney Campbell.

She continued: "The sessions led by the VM experts helped us develop a new relationship with money. Adulting is challenging for sure, but this programme has ensured that money will not be the cause of our adulting worries."

The programme, which often goes through a lengthy deliberation process to select the most deserving talents, is in its third year with its second cohort. Programme Coordinator Sophia Lewis shared the approach taken in determining who would make up cohort two.

"The VM Group wholeheartedly believes in financial inclusion. Everyone, everywhere, deserves to have access to financial education that will help them transform their lives and their communities. The ambassadors we chose come from both urban and rural communities across Jamaica, representing tertiary institutions from several parishes."

The institutions represented in this year's cohort are The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, University of Technology, Church Teachers' College and Sam Sharpe Teachers' College.

Lewis further said that the VM FETE Programme was keen on including students pursuing studies across different disciplines.

"If you are not enrolled in finance-related courses at a tertiary institution, you will most likely be at a disadvantage regarding having a working knowledge of financial concepts that are integral to improving your quality of life. We bore this in mind and selected students who are engaging in higher studies in non-financial academic specialities such as education, law, journalism, marketing and communications," she said.

Newly minted VM FETE Ambassador Aashanta Martin (right), receives her official contract from VM Wealth Research Manager Nicole Adamson.

The youth ambassadors, having been trained, are tasked with sharing the tools and principles they have learnt with their peers. With the support of VM financial experts, the ambassadors have been hosting financial education sessions in secondary schools, community clubs and societies, churches, youth groups as well as engaging their tech savvy audiences via Zoom sessions and Instagram lives.

Clover Moore, assistant vice-president, group corporate affairs and communications, weighed in on the impact of the VM FETE Youth Ambassador Programme.

"When we launched the programme in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic hit us shortly after. Despite this, we managed to reach thousands of young Jamaicans, many of whom have since become members of the group. Others were impacted by the sessions we held and even applied to be part of the cohort this year. It took us a while to get through all the applications, which is a testament to the quality and strength of the programme."

Moore said VM deemed it important to foster this type of relationship with young people, out of a recognition of the brilliance and talents they posses which will guide the future of our nation.

"They are talented, they are brilliant, and they are hungry to learn. More young people are realising that one of the main things that separate them from where they are now, and the life they want to live, is access to sound principles of financial management. A lot of them never got the benefit of having parents who planned, and we can't blame the parents for not having access to the knowledge to make better preparations. What we can do though is help these young minds right the wrong and VM is the best financial partner to guide them along their journey to achieving financial well-being."

VM FETE was launched in 2019 and has since trained a total of 21 ambassadors across Jamaica to lead conversations on making sound financial decisions; understanding the principles of personal financial planning and the VM approach to creating and maintaining wealth.

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