Public education for children and youth and cooperation with schools has always been important to Swedbank and the savings banks. In 2011 the Swedish national curriculum was revised, and since then private economy is a part of social science in Swedish upper secondary school. This was also the starting point for Swedbank and the savings banks to agree on a nationwide educational offering to schools with the intention of contributing with expertise and experience in this field. The educational initiative called “Young Economy” has since then been one of the bank’s most prioritized societal engagements for children and youth.
Through “Young Economy” Swedbank and the savings banks offer schools lectures about private economy for free. The lecture is usually one hour and aims at wakening the interest and understanding for how the pupils can build a sound and sustainable private economy. All the material for the presentations is created by the Swedbank head office and is updated continuously. The current material was launched in the autumn of 2016. The content is built around three young characters and consists of PowerPoint slides that are mixed with movie clips and interaction with the pupils. Areas that are addressed are, for example, the impact of minor expenses, payday loans, moving from home, insurance and basic knowledge about the labor market. There is no advertising about the bank or banking products in the lecture.
Swedbank and the savings bank have branch offices all over Sweden and in total there are about 250 employees engaged in “Young Economy”. These “Young Economy”-ambassadors are usually employed as advisors in branch offices and visit local schools to give lectures a few times per year. Six people work full time with “Young Economy” and their task is, besides lecturing, to support and educate other ambassadors. In 2016, 48.000 pupils attended the “Young Economy”-lectures. In Sweden there are about 100.000 pupils in each grade.
Swedbank’s public affairs department is responsible for providing the ambassadors with supporting material as well as internal and external communication about “Young Economy”, for example, through the website and social media. Teachers can book lectures via www.swedbank.se/ungekonomi or through direct contact with the local branch office or the “Young Economy”-ambassadors.
Since 2015 there has been an annual network meeting when all “Young Economy”-ambassadors are invited to a full day at the head office for inspiration, education and sharing of experiences. The last meeting was on September 6, 2017 and among the speakers was Anna Ekström, Sweden’s minister for upper secondary school and adult education and training.