National Youth Agency announces further investment from NatWest to roll out NatWest Thrive and to build the skills and capacity of the youth work sector

The National Youth Agency (NYA) is excited to announce a further five-year commitment of support from NatWest Group which will help build young people’s confidence with money and enable them to reach for their dreams, as well as boost the skills and capacity of the youth work sector. The funding will enable the expansion of the NatWest Thrive with Marcus Rashford programme, provide access to a network of NatWest staff volunteers and almost £3 million worth of training through the bank’s apprenticeship Levy Transfer scheme by 2028.

The investment by NatWest Group was announced at a high-profile visit by Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort to the Norbrook Community Centre, Wythenshawe, Manchester, on 20th January where a number of NatWest Thrive participants shared what they had gained from the programme. The event was part of a two-day tour of the city by Their Majesties King Charles and the Queen Consort and provided an opportunity to showcase the NatWest Thrive programme as part of an event to highlight the opportunities available for young people to reach their potential through gaining vital life skills and broadening their horizons. 

Back row L-R: Their Majesties The Queen Consort and King Charles; NatWest Thrive graduates Paddy, Alisia and Tiger.
Front row L-R: Alison Rose, Chief Executive, NatWest; NatWest Thrive graduate Masum, Toke and Tiana

Tiger, 17, a participant in NatWest Thrive, said:NatWest Thrive has taught me that no matter your past experiences, you can still make your dreams come true. It has made me really look at my future goals and given me the motivation to start making them a reality.

This generous commitment by NatWest Group builds on the successful collaboration between the National Youth Agency and the bank, together with one of the country’s leading children’s campaigners, Marcus Rashford, to develop the NatWest Thrive programme. Developed in 2022 by NYA’s youth work specialists, working with young people, the activity and discussion-based NatWest Thrive programme has been designed to improve young people’s confidence with money, whilst also raising their aspirations for the future and giving them the tools and resilience needed to get there.

In Easter 2022, NatWest Thrive was piloted with three youth clubs in London, Manchester and Sunderland. Following that, the programme was rolled out to 12 more youth clubs, providing a springboard to improved confidence, wellbeing and money management skills to more than 800 young people aged from 8 to 24 years of age.

Left-Right: NatWest Thrive graduates Masum, Alisia and Paddy with Her Majesty The Queen Consort
Left-Right: Alison Rose, DBE, CEO, NatWest Group; NatWest Thrive graduates Masum, Alisia, Paddy, Tiana, Tiger and Toke, with Leigh Middleton, CEO, National Youth Agency

An independent evaluation of NatWest Thrive by Upshot revealed that 98% of young people’s confidence was improved after participating in just four or more sessions; 88% reported improved confidence around work and education and 83% showed improved mental wellbeing (using the Warwick -Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale).

Providing young people with access to role models both from the young people’s communities and further afield is a key element of NatWest Thrive.

Marcus Rashford MBE, ambassador for the Thrive programme, said:

“Money is a difficult topic to discuss, especially in underserved communities, being the root cause of most anxiety and stress. I was lucky that I had my mum, who worked as a bookkeeper, to guide my financial decisions and offer me a good understanding of how money worked. With NatWest Thrive we wanted to make sure that all young people had access to that education, building their confidence, and equipping them with the tools they need to get excited about their futures.

“I was so proud to see Their Majesties visit Wythenshawe and particularly, the Youth Centre and Youth Workers that played a huge role in my upbringing. 

“I look forward to building upon our learnings from Year 1 and continuing to build out the most effective NatWest Thrive programme for more young people across the UK.”

The investment from NatWest means that NYA can now double the number of clubs that will deliver NatWest Thrive in 2023, reaching 30 clubs overall.

Through the new volunteering commitment 50 NatWest Group staff will receive training and development to get involved in direct delivery of open access youth work, as well as staff skills being matched to youth work organisations, helping to improve functions such as IT or marketing. There will be opportunities to engage with the NatWest Accelerator Hub and entrepreneurial programmes for young people as part of this, through National Youth Agency’s amplifi young people’s platform.

The investment in skills development through the apprenticeship Levy Transfer scheme will enable the NYA to offer at least 200 funded places for the Level 3 qualification and Level 6 apprenticeships. There will be a focus on identifying particular gaps across the country where there is a lack of qualified youth workers, which will be identified through the National Youth Work Census. 

These exciting new opportunities for the sector will help contribute to the NYA’s 10 Year Vision for Youth Work to attract 10,000 youth workers, 20,000 youth support workers and 40,000 skilled volunteers into the sector by 2030, in a bid to ensure that all young people can engage with high quality, accessible youth work in their communities.

Paddy – Wythenshawe community housing group, Manchester

“It was such an exciting experience to meet Their Majesties the King and Queen Consort and to join in the conversation about how NatWest Thrive helps you get started with planning your future. It is a day I will never forget.”

Tiana – Solve: The Centre for Youth Violence, Wolverhampton

“His Majesty the King and Queen Consort seemed very interested in what we’d all achieved through NatWest Thrive. I explained that I now feel more confident about the future and having success with my business. I’m so honoured to have had the opportunity and it’s spurred me on even more”

Leigh Middleton, CEO, National Youth Agency, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with NatWest to help deliver these life-changing opportunities for young people and to invest in building the skills and capacity of the youth work sector. Government investment in youth services has been devastated over the past decade and young people’s mental health has suffered due to the pandemic; now with the cost of living crisis youth work is needed more than ever to support young people to cope with all the challenges they are facing, give them a platform to have a voice on the issues that matter to them, as well as to unlock their talents and help them reach for their dreams.

Alison Rose DBE, CEO, NatWest Group, said: “It’s critical that we involve young people in money conversations early on, so that we give them the confidence to make their own decisions and achieve their full potential. Providing young people with the opportunity to learn core skills, and giving them a solid grounding in personal finance is one of the key ways in which NatWest is enacting its purpose-led strategy, helping our customers and the communities we serve to thrive.”

The NYA is now working to further refine and develop NatWest Thrive, working closely with a number of the youth clubs involved in the pilot in order to co-design updated materials ready for a wider roll out in Spring 2023.

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